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Arval to release Smart Experience in 2014

Date: 12 December 2013   |   Author: Jack Carfrae

Arval is to launch their online customer service app that has, so far, proved popular

Top five leasing firm Arval is to launch an online customer service and marketing initiative in 2014 aimed particularly at businesses and drivers using smartphones and tablets.

Known as Smart Experience, the services will launch in March and consist of five strands, as business development and marketing director Robert Pieczka told BusinessCar.

"We're developing a website especially for tablets to support the management of fleet on a daily basis. There will be videos, hints and tips etc, for one-man bands through to large corporates.

"Number two is another site specifically for tablets. There will be a dashboard with KPIs with key metrics for the non-specialist, non-experts. This is for people in procurement, HR and financial directors.

"We also have some apps for smartphones aimed at drivers. There will be information, FAQs including new functionality; for example, graphically showing the service network so drivers will be able to book a service there and then.

"Four is social media. We want to improve our relationship with customers and drivers. We'll do this with the main four: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. In terms of content, we're looking at that now, along with feedback from customers and drivers. We'll focus on blogs on LinkedIn, which will be aimed at fleet managers and also those who want to talk about HR. Facebook will be more B2C. It will be infotainment with things like car reviews and a bit more light-hearted.

"Five is an e-customer portal. We'll be looking at digitalised solutions, be that SMS or e-billing, which we'll introduce next year."

"Reinventing the customer and driver experience"

Pieczka said the move was a recognition of the increasing use of smartphones, tablets and the need for businesses and drivers to do more on the move.

"It's about trends and new technology. We want to respond to that. Smartphone penetration in the UK is currently at about 65%, which is about 35 million people. Tablets are at about 20% penetration in the UK. Social media is being used by about 50% of the population.

"The expectation of customers and drivers is changing. At its heart it's about reinventing the customer and driver experience."

Pieczka said there would be no additional cost for the new services and that the online services would also work on desktop computers. Their introduction follows trials of similar initiatives within Arval's European operations, which he described as "well received in France".

He added that there was a strong trend for services in particular to be booked remotely: "Traditionally, drivers contact the workshop by phone or email. In 'generation now' people expect immediate solutions to immediate issues, so they can use an app to go ahead and request a booking."

Pieczka did not say whether more conventional methods of customer contact would be scaled down as a result of the moves, adding: "This is the first step into the use of this new technology and it will evolve over time, throughout 2014 and 2015. This will really be driven by the needs, desires and behaviours of customers and drivers. We're trying to anticipate what they want and evolve it over time."