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ALLSTAR: Looking to the future

Date: 03 December 2013

It's been a difficult and controversial 12 months for Allstar, the UK's biggest fuel card brand, but owner Fleetcor is now looking to prove the product's worth to customers with a range of new innovations, writes Paul Barker.

Between invoicing and billing problems and the introduction of a much-discussed £2 transaction fee, Allstar parent company Fleetcor had a lot on its plate when Callum Gibson joined the business in January 2013 as the first ever managing director of its three UK fuel card businesses: Allstar, Keyfuels and The Fuelcard Company.

The first issue had reared its head before Gibson was even on board. Moving from one IT platform to another restricted functionality, leaving a significant number of customers unable to, for example, access the fuel card reports they needed to prove HMRC compliance or calculate reimbursement totals on fuel use.

"What we did at the back end of 2012 was a full business migration; we were on legacy platforms and needed to migrate away from that," Gibson explains to BusinessCar. "We were aware pretty early that there were issues customers were facing. We recognised that and moved heaven and earth to address it." He claims Fleetcor invested £1m in additional staff and involved the company's global IT experts in trying to iron out problems as quickly as possible, which was by mid-February to March of this year for "most customers".

"We hold our hands up and say we didn't meet the high standards we set ourselves," admits Gibson, although he says that no transactions failed during the migration. "The lessons have been learned, and us explaining some of the system changes and changes in reporting would have enabled the pressure they felt to be mitigated."

Allstar changed the appearance of its report at the same time, and consolidated some reports, which it admits it didn't communicate well. "We need to educate customers to take them on the journey with us," declares Gibson. "The changes to the reporting suite are something we could have done better."

But that was just a precursor to the storm that followed Fleetcor's decision to introduce a £2 charge on every Allstar transaction, known as the Network Service Fee, which Gibson admits was also not communicated well enough.