Digital developments key for Leaseplan's new man at the top
02 October 2014
Matt Dyer has taken the step up to head Leaseplan's UK operation and is planning for technology to help a push for growth, as he reveals to Paul Barker
The changing requirements and actions of customers are occupying the mind of Leaseplan UK's new managing director Matt Dyer as he settles into the job, four months after stepping up from his previous role of commercial director, which he held for four and half years.
Dyer replaced David Brennan, who had bossed what is now the UK's number two leasing company for more than eight years before announcing his departure to head up Nexus Vehicle Rental at the beginning of this year.
"From my perspective it feels like the next step, and I would like to think that's the way it feels for the business and for our partners and the people we work with," Dyer tells BusinessCar. "Being a known quantity, they have confidence in the way we'll move forward."
"As commercial director in the UK, it gave me an opportunity to get a very good perspective of the market and what customers expect and need; it helps a lot and gives a platform on which to work," he continues. "We've got a major digital programme taking place and I'm now looking at things from a managing director rather than commercial director perspective."
That knowledge of the business is something Dyer points to as a key positive. While admitting that people coming in from outside can bring a new perspective, having a grasp of the various divisions of Leaseplan is important. The firm operates across its Automotive Leasing public sector division, LeaseplanGo for SMEs, Network for franchisees, and the core Leaseplan contract hire and leasing arm.
"Having a grasp of that in a period where a lot is changing and the opportunity to improve is important - we don't want to lose that momentum.
"We've got great breadth in terms of what we do. We will need to back [the areas] where we see key opportunities - what we're looking for is growth opportunities," he continues, viewing the shift to digital consumption as crucial to how leasing companies will operate going forward.
"We are moving into a phase where your vehicle and the lease around the vehicle is increasingly seen as a utility. For example, £65 a month on the phone, £45 on broadband and £240-£250 for personal lease - a lot of that is happening with PCP through dealers, but we see good opportunities for that," says Dyer.
"In a lot of those cases the consumer is the driver, so digital capability is going to be critical. It's how, not if."
He believes that the pace of change with how people communicate with phone, tablets and apps won't ease.
"We can bring the strength of experience to a wider customer base. It would have been very different five years ago as we would have been only human touch - now, if you can blend digital and human you've got a fantastic opportunity, and it is something our customers expect us to deliver," he says. "Increasing digital capability will be a crucial part of my tenure as Leaseplan UK managing director, and it brings the issue of mobility, and allows us to bring the right products and advice."
Dyer reveals that the firm is currently working on an app and a web portal aimed at both drivers and fleet managers, while its Quote and Order online service will see improvements before the end of the year. The goal, according to Leaseplan, is to provide an experience "personalised to the client's organisation, the relevant car policy, the individual's role and the individual's personal requirement".
"Working hard on the app and portal, the first intention is quote and order tools, very much bringing a consumer feel as it's what people expect," explains Dyer. "There is also an opportunity to bring more insightful tools in fleet reporting - message centre technology to have constant dialogue with drivers on things that matter to them."
The app is already being trialled with selected customers, and Dyer says more can be expected on that before the end of the year.
"Over the next 12 months it will be a significant journey of delving into digital capability," he predicts. "It allows us to serve an even more diverse customer base in ways consistent with the strengths of the way we serve customers today.
"We definitely don't want to move away from the strengths we have - level of service delivery and levels of loyalty within the customer base. It's something we have to continue to nurture and grow. We can't rush so fast that we leave that behind, and digital is a bridge to allow us to do that."