Under the Microscope: We talk to Marc Lafferty, Edam Group's chief revenue officer
18 December 2018
Author: Rachel Boagey
Credit hire company Edam Group focuses all its efforts on helping drivers get back on the road after an accident. Rachel Boagey speaks to the group's chief revenue officer to find out why.
Founded 15 years ago by two brothers with a fleet of four cars, Edam Group has grown significantly since then.
The company, which describes itself as primarily a credit hire let business, aims to provide
first-class customer service for its partners in the event of accidents on the road.
"It's an incredible success story really and the result of that is what we are today, which is people made and service driven," Marc Lafferty, chief revenue officer at the group, tells us. "We hold a firm focus on building personal and long-term sustainable partner relationships, providing our business partners with peace of mind with the sole aim of delivering the best service we possibly can."
He says at the heart of the group is a culture of delivering great customer experience; although this is not specific to fleets, they do play a big part in the company's customer base. Over the past 15 years, the organisation has grown to around 400 employees and, as of two years ago, close to 1,000 vehicles, and since then it has moved to a completely new level.
"We have set ourselves an ambition - we believe that no one has clearly established themselves as a market leader in the credit hire space," says Lafferty.
But while it doesn't aim to be the biggest, Edam Group does intend to be the best, Lafferty explains. He says that his experience over the years is that successful businesses focus on doing something really well, "and that's what we try to do in the credit hire space".
According to its Net Promoter score, the group even ranks above Apple and Amazon in terms of customer feedback.
"We're running now in the mid-70s, while the likes of bigger players like Apple are in the 60s," Lafferty says. "The reason it is so exceptionally high is because of our benchmark to be the leading customer service provider as well as growing, in fact doubling, our business in three years."
The company is now two years towards that goal and Lafferty says that it is well on target to meet it. If you are unfortunate enough to have an accident, Edam Group may be the company you deal with if you are not the party at fault, although Lafferty explains that is not always black and white.
"Our goal is to get that person mobile again, and make sure their vehicle is repaired and returned to them as soon as possible," he says.
For fleets, this business model is extremely useful, as it means their drivers spend less time off the road and going through extremely drawn out insurance processes. Edam works with a range of partners in the industry such as fleet management companies, insurance companies, brokers and dealerships, who typically rely on them to provide that type of service to their drivers and customers.
"For instance, we might work with a fleet management company with a big fleet of its own and it needs to manage that situation, so we would get in touch with the leasing company or fleet company fleet manager and they'd send them our way and we'd swing into action," Lafferty explains.
But he says the main focus iis providing excellent customer service.
"If you think about it, the worst thing that can happen to driver is a crash," says Lafferty. "It's a distressing and difficult time for any driver, so we work incredibly hard to manage that situation in a sympathetic and empathetic way. It is especially distressing if the driver is on their way somewhere and they have no idea when they will get their car back and when they can carry on with their busy lives.
"This applies to all type of drivers, not just fleet, but for people driving on a job-need basis this is especially pressing."
Edam Group has an interesting perspective on autonomous cars, Lafferty tells us. Of course, the reality is that an incident needs to occur before their service is needed, and in theory autonomous cars should mean that safety on the roads increases and crashes decrease, or even stop altogether. But Lafferty doesn't think full autonomy is very close just yet.
"Level 5 autonomy is still some way away," he states. "We know it's coming and plenty of organisations are trialling it, but from our point of view there is a good 10, 15 or 20 years before autonomous vehicles are actually operating on the road, and that's alongside non-autonomous vehicles. We think it will be another 30 or more years before we have wholly autonomous cars on our roads."
Even then, Edam will need to take responsibility for repairing these vehicles, but what is more interesting is that Lafferty doesn't believe that autonomous vehicles will initially improve road safety at all.
"We have a suspicion that there will be more incidents for quite a long period of time caused by problems of a different nature," he explains. "We know autonomy is coming, we're interested in it and will support it, but I don't see any major shocks coming our way in the near future. We fear that it could be a whole period of time when two technologies operate side by side and that could cause more incidents for a time until it gets figured out."
Regarding its future, Lafferty believes Edam Group is on a steep learning curve and will continue making investments in
to allow continued growth.
"We're currently recruiting as well as expanding our premises and investing in new systems, but the most important thing for us is enhancing the quality of our customer experience," he explains.
"The challenge is that growth and customer focus are often contradictory, but our focus is to deliver the service first and grow second, and that's what we're all about."