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What I’ve learnt – Nick Cleary, Autoglass

By / 4 years ago / Interview / No Comments

Nick Cleary, customer and digital director for Autoglass, on how technology is accelerating customer-centric businesses and how the fleet industry can benefit.

Nick Cleary, customer and digital director, Autoglass.

Nick Cleary, customer and digital director, Autoglass.

Embrace the possibilities

Change is the only constant. That’s the reality of today and I find it hugely exciting. At Autoglass my role is to make it as easy as possible for fleets to get their glass fixed. One might be forgiven for thinking not much has changed in the way this is done – but the changes in technology and customer expectations which have happened over the course of my career are mind boggling.

The importance of data sharing for fleets

The fleet industry has for many years been working to find better ways of using data to help optimise the performance of fleets – increasingly through new technologies such as telematics to monitor driver behaviour and online tools to help manage fleet policy, analysis and reporting.

Many fleet specialists have responded quickly – Arval’s Mobile+ app being one great example; I particularly like how it couples motorist utilities like ­comparison of nearby petrol prices with more conventional fleet management functions. I can also see huge potential for fleets to tap into gamification to produce more conscientious, careful driving.

We also know from our conversations with customers that fleets are increasingly looking for more digitally integrated managed services which make more effective use of data – for example, to track the progress of jobs and be reassured that their technician is en route and due to arrive at a specific time, with the right equipment to deal with the job in hand. Our service expectations evolve quickly – today I want to know I can manage my chores around my life, not the other way around. The pace of development has increased rapidly with apps that can instantly diagnose a maintenance issue and schedule a repair. With the advent of driverless cars, I predict in the future we’ll see vehicles that are able to take themselves for an overnight service appointment – reducing vehicle down time.

Our customers increasingly want a much more effortless, self-service experience to find the service they need at a convenient time and place, and which enables them to quickly validate who they are at the time of booking. They don’t want to waste time inputting the same information again and again, or having to provide credit card details over the phone. Crucially, they also want to be able to speak to a human being who has all the details of their job instantly at their fingertips.

Invest in start-ups

The digital age is awash with creative opportunities for agile businesses to dip their toe into. At Autoglass, we’re currently already trialling proximity-based communications where we use geo-fencing to trigger messages to customers as their technician enters a specific radius to the location of the appointment.

Also, as part of our Start-Up Accelerator Programme, we’re working with a company on finding new digital approaches to improve the way we engage with individual customers, with the aim of ultimately improving the overall quality of customer experience. We’re exploring how tech can help us know our customers on a more personal level – our fleet and leasing partners can certainly add value here.

Quality of service is still king

While change is ubiquitous and the fleet industry is constantly evolving, some truths will always remain constant. Providing an effortless customer experience to fleet drivers is the bedrock of our service – quality of service is still king. We must keep our promises, manage expectations and get the driver back on the road quickly, minimising downtime.

I love getting customer feedback – the bad reviews as well as the good as they provide huge insights which help improve our business. We’ve used insights from feedback to build personas to help bring to life fleet managers and drivers for our teams at Autoglass so they better understand the nuances between priorities and circumstances – once again using data to fuel customer experience.

The industry is set for huge changes and the priority for Autoglass is to work closely with all of our partners to share data more effectively, with the ultimate aim of reducing the effort drivers have to put in to access our service, ensuring they are back on the road as safely and seamlessly as possible.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.