ZENITH: Steady growth fuelled by service and sacrifice
09 December 2013
Zenith is looking for annual growth over the next few years, with salary sacrifice and the happiness of its own staff both crucial to the plans, as commercial director Ian Hughes explained to Paul Barker
"You need engaged and energised people - they are the crux and enabler of great customer satisfaction," Ian Hughes, commercial director for Zenith
A leader in the fledgling salary sacrifice arena, 15% year-on-year leasing and fleet management growth that it's hoping to maintain over the coming years, and just outside The Sunday Times' '100 Best Companies' to work for - it's not exactly dull at Zenith right now.
The leasing company, ranked at number 14 in the 2012 BusinessCar BC50 list of the largest firms in the sector, and set to rise in 2013, recorded a 15% rise in volume in what commercial director Ian Hughes called a "challenging marketplace" last year. Hughes says the "long-term vision is to continue our organic growth strategy", with 15-20% year-on-year growth the target.
"Given the nature of our underpinned relationships I'm feeling quite confident of that growth aspiration," he says. "We've got £150m of funding and four or five times more capability should we wish to use it in the next two or three years, so we've got the funding capacity to handle our development and not be affected because of our independence."
Hughes says the independence issue is important because it guarantees the company isn't at the mercy of wider strategic decisions taken by the banks that own most larger leasing firms.
At present, Zenith has around 9000 fleet-managed vehicles and 26,000 funded, with another 4000 accident-managed.
Customer service is, according to Hughes, key to Zenith's growth, and the firm's attitude is that keeping its employees happy is a crucial element of that.
"When you have the philosophy we do around customer satisfaction, you need engaged and energised people - they are the crux and enabler of great customer satisfaction," declares Hughes.
Zenith last year earned two-star status in the Best Companies accreditation process, which the workplace engagement organisation describes as "outstanding", and is achieved via a wide criteria including staff engagement, reward packages, environmental and corporate social responsibility, and training and development.
The move to two-star status, with three the maximum achievable, comes following the firm being named on the list of Best Companies' Ones to Watch in 2012. Zenith has also joined the Experteye leasing industry customer satisfaction survey to help it benchmark itself against rivals.
"Our business finished the year to date at 88% customer satisfaction - the target is 90% and Experteye will help us get it calibrated in the marketplace," says Hughes.