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Experteye: Helping understand what fleet drivers want

Date: 29 June 2016   |   Author:

We know there is a lot of research on what retail drivers of vehicles are thinking, but there's far less insight into the minds of fleet drivers, and that is the main focus," Experteye managing director Rick Yarrow, tells BusinessCar, setting out the reasons for launching the new DriverView survey that looks to gain a greater insight into the thinking of company car drivers than has ever before been obtained.

"It's a difficult area to tap into because the relationship is often handled by the leasing company," Yarrow continues. "The immediate focus is understanding fleet drivers and how they differ to retail drivers."

Experteye wants to understand the driver's acquisition experience, what they think of the product and the aftersales experience, and discover their future buying intentions. "By giving feedback to the manufacturer, it will influence their ability to improve things," says Yarrow. "I don't think manufacturers understand what fleet drivers are thinking. Long term, everything is about building up trends and that is key to what we do."

Experteye was formed in 2002, initially benchmarking for leasing companies' residuals, SMR data and monthly rentals, mainly in Spain, France, Portugal, Germany and Italy.

In 2008, it began looking for ways to extend what Yarrow describes as a "stable fundamental core business", and acquired some products from a research company called APD. After a few years of getting them right, this moved Experteye into "a whole new area".

"Financial benchmarking and what customers are thinking are a good fit," says Yarrow. "We do operator satisfaction surveys - what they think about leasing companies - and we're doing increasing numbers of driver surveys, although until DriverView they have been focused on the service experience."

For a number of leasing companies, Experteye handles driver surveys in the wake of drivers interacting with leasing firms in areas such as vehicle ordering and delivery, servicing, breakdown plus tyre or windscreen replacement. In recent times this has also expanded to include what fleet operators and leasing companies think of car manufacturers. "If you think about something like Amazon, they control the whole customer service experience, but with the car industry there are lots of factors, and we do research to help understand those," explains Yarrow.

The Experteye Awards have now expanded to nine categories, and Yarrow says they are coveted
because they are based on "hard facts and research" (see 'And our survey says.')

The managing director is also keen to emphasise Experteye's automotive focus. "Big research companies talk about cars one day and the next day it's baked beans, but we are focused on automotive," he declares. "We've got people in the company who understand the industry and are talking to people every day."

Looking to the future, Yarrow's next goal for Experteye is to progress it to forecasting. "On the financial business we want to provide more insight into what we do: interpretation, insight and consulting," he says. "And [have] a big push on working with manufacturers regarding new car consultation and positioning of new vehicles."

But it's the DriverView survey, from which first results will come through late this year, that Yarrow is most excited about. "We're aiming at a JD Power-type level - that's the goal but we know we are a long way from it," he concludes. "DriverView is unique because it has a fleet angle and whole-life cycle; we'll pull it together into one picture and that's what will differentiate what we are doing."

And our survey says.

The well-established Experteye Awards are presented across nine categories, based solely on independent feedback from fleet customers, leasing companies and drivers. Fleet operators are surveyed independently by Experteye, who ask an extensive range of questions on a monthly basis, with the annual Fleeteye CSI award going to the leasing provider that has achieved the highest combined results across the entire year.

For retailer groups and manufacturers, awards are given for driver satisfaction for new vehicle sales and aftersales, based on feedback from 40,000 drivers of leased vehicles in Experteye's Touchpoint survey, contacted immediately after key events such as vehicle delivery, servicing, tyre replacement or vehicle breakdown.

Awards also go to the best and most improved fleet manufacturer, based on research undertaken by Experteye with senior management across all the major leasing companies.
"To win an Experteye Award, you need to be truly outstanding," says Rick Yarrow, Experteye's managing director. "The winners are the companies that top their category based purely on customer and driver feedback."

DriverView: Give opinions and win!

DriverView has partnered with BusinessCar and sister title What Van? to encourage company car drivers to give their opinions on the entire ownership experience of their company car, from ordering and delivery through what they think of the car to their plans for their next vehicle. Likewise, light commercials are also under the spotlight and subject to the same criteria.

Plus, there is a big prize for one lucky individual who takes part, with Experteye offering a weekend in a supercar, a five-star hotel for a weekend away with £500 spending money, an iPad Air, and a year's subscription to What Van? magazine.