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Graham Hurdle's blog: 28th October: Don't let your company vehicles damage your brand

Date: 28 October 2014

Graham Hurdle is managing director of E-Training World

Lex Autolease reported that almost 90% of customers feel tradespeople should take greater care in the appearance of their vans.

Their 2000 strong survey found the condition of a vehicle would put off nearly two thirds of consumers (63 per cent) from rehiring, with 'condition of repair' at 40% identified as the biggest factor in shaping a consumer's first impression and cleanliness at 26% the second biggest concern.

The survey focused on tradespeople driving vans, yet I feel the same perceptions apply in the company car sector too.

A dented, scratched or dirty car pulling into a parking space at a customer or prospect's offices does not reflect well on a company's brand image.

First impressions are important, yet I see endless numbers of drivers with filthy vehicles, unrepaired damage and the insides of their cars looking like they live in them - which I know a lot of sales people do!

Sales and marketing teams go to so much trouble to create a polished, professional brand with a well-dressed sales person delivering slick presentations, and stylish materials. What a shame that all this work can be tainted when they shake hands at reception to say goodbye and the prospect sees them climb into a car that looks completely uncared for. After all, the visitor's spaces are usually by the door making it hard to disguise which vehicle is yours!

The impact it has on a company's image isn't an angle promoted too often when it comes to the benefits of driver training. But a well-driven, and cared for, vehicle is as important to your business profile as everything else you do, and is one of the most visible items on show!

If you are a fleet manager, have a wander around your car park and look at the company vehicles. Are you happy that these are heading off to your most important customers offices? If not - its time to take action. As they say, you only get one chance to make a good first impression - and that applies to vehicles too!