Changing the Way Business Gets Done

David Zuidema

David Zuidema

Senior Vice President of Customer Experience, PHH Arval

Dave, what is the cur­rent focus of the company’s tech­nol­ogy activ­i­ties?

We are excited about the ini­tia­tives we have under­way right now. We have a great rep­u­ta­tion for being a strong cus­tomer ser­vice orga­ni­za­tion, but we are tak­ing that to the next level. We really want to ele­vate the tra­di­tional mind­set around cus­tomer ser­vice to a more pro­gres­sive approach for the end-to-end cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. We want to use data and tech­nol­ogy to really give a rich per­son­al­ized expe­ri­ence for our customers.

Part of that is con­nec­tiv­ity. We want to see peo­ple to peo­ple being con­nected through tech­nol­ogy as well as peo­ple to other com­pa­nies, our­selves with our client’s com­pa­nies, our­selves with our sup­plier part­ners as well as con­nect­ing with the dri­vers of the vehi­cles themselves.

Can you give me a lit­tle hint about what that might look like

Con­nec­tiv­ity entails using rela­tion­ship soft­ware, soft­ware that is designed to enable rela­tion­ships, not replace them. Many com­pa­nies design sys­tems that they want to be the end des­ti­na­tion.  We think tech­nol­ogy should enhance rela­tion­ships, not replace them.

Where do you see the fleet indus­try most impacted by tech­nol­ogy?

There is a lot chang­ing and we are on the cusp of changes in many areas. For exam­ple, mobile; peo­ple are not going to be attached to their desks any­more. They are going to be able to do their job where ever they are. Mobile devices, tablets and smart phones – most peo­ple that travel prob­a­bly don’t take a lap­top any­more – they bring just a tablet and a smart phone. How­ever, any­time you add mobile con­nec­tiv­ity to dri­vers, you need to be care­ful. Safety is a key ingre­di­ent that follows.

Another area of change is the increase in empow­ered dri­vers.  We see fleets set­ting their goals and poli­cies and then using automa­tion to empower the dri­vers to make deci­sions at the time of the trans­ac­tion.  As a result deci­sion mak­ing can take place at the trans­ac­tion level by the peo­ple who are on the scene. Of course out of that comes increased pro­duc­tiv­ity. We’re on the lead­ing edge of some big things hap­pen­ing in technology.

What do you pre­dict will be some of the future tech­nol­ogy trends for fleet?

Well, future tech­nol­ogy trends will depend on how far out you look, but some of the things that are hap­pen­ing now include changes in process effi­cien­cies. Com­pa­nies are being more effi­cient about their processes so that changes the way work is done.

There is a lot going on in social media, as well. As peo­ple get more and more com­fort­able with that, we will see more of it in the future.

In-vehicle tech­nol­ogy – telem­at­ics infor­ma­tion is chang­ing things. Vehi­cle to vehi­cle com­mu­ni­ca­tion is com­ing, which will increase safety in a lot of areas because the vehi­cles will com­mu­ni­cate as they go down the road and tell you about dis­tances and about traf­fic pat­terns and other issues.

What excited you about tech­nol­ogy in the fleet indus­try?

Well, I am glad you asked that because using tech­nol­ogy to really change the way busi­ness gets done is a pas­sion of mine. It is okay to be faster and bet­ter at things, but you really want to be doing the right things and you want to be doing them in the right way. For exam­ple, most com­pa­nies design a sys­tem and then they build it, and they test it and then they apply usabil­ity con­cepts at the end where they are rear­rang­ing things. We have started a new process where we iden­tify the per­son and the task they are doing and then we con­tinue to design that expe­ri­ence right up front to get that task done.  Then we build the sys­tem using an agile devel­op­ment method­ol­ogy so it vir­tu­ally comes to life – it’s a really dif­fer­ent way of doing busi­ness. So, we’re chang­ing the way people’s work gets done. It is really an excit­ing time because we are mak­ing their jobs eas­ier and really help­ing them out.

What are some of tech­nol­ogy pro­grams and ini­tia­tives under­way at PHH?

We have always had a strong focus on oper­a­tional excel­lence — the inter­nal processes that help us man­age our cus­tomers’ fleet trans­ac­tions accu­rately and effi­ciently using real-time tech­nol­ogy and met­rics. We are also look­ing at pre­dic­tive mod­el­ing and pre­dic­tive ana­lyt­ics, which will allow us to be more proac­tive in cre­at­ing tools for our customers.

Addi­tion­ally, we have launched and con­tinue to develop mobile appli­ca­tions. We have PHH Inter­Ac­tive Mobile, which is for fleet man­agers, and PHH Inter­Ac­tive for Dri­vers Mobile – both recently released. We also have future mobile releases slated of addi­tional pro­grams. With each of these, data is key. So, we have ini­tia­tives ori­ented around man­ag­ing the data and keep­ing the data secure.

Finally, of course, there’s our focus on tech­nol­ogy to limit dis­tracted dri­ving – such as iNmo­tion. Last year, we part­nered with Zoom­Safer to cre­ate the fleet industry’s first mobile appli­ca­tion for smart­phones that detects when employ­ees are dri­ving – and auto­mat­i­cally enforces com­pli­ance with com­pany pol­icy. We will con­tinue to use tech­nol­ogy in ways that enhances the dri­ver expe­ri­ence – with­out putting that dri­ver in harm’s way.


David Zuidema is the Senior Vice Pres­i­dent of Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ence for PHH Arval. He led the estab­lish­ment of a Cus­tomer Expe­ri­ence cen­ter and cre­ated a Cus­tomer Jour­ney Map that details points where clients and dri­vers inter­act.  He has been with the com­pany since Decem­ber 1981 when he started as a Plan­ning Analyst.