Senior Vice President, Customer Experience PHH Arval
Dave, I see that your title is Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at PHH. How exactly do you define Customer Experience?
At PHH, we’ve always been known for great customer service, but the real question was how to take that to the next level. We wanted to make sure that every time a client or driver interacted with PHH, it was a great experience – one that they would remember as effective and also enjoyable.
So we created our Customer Experience initiative which reaches into every corner of our business, and I lead a group of people who are dedicated to the mission of creating great Customer Experiences. We look at and analyze every transaction from the customer’s point of view, whether that’s the fleet manager, C-level managers or drivers, to see how it could be made better – and then we build the tools and the systems to enhance their experiences with PHH.
How that has worked out? Have your clients noticed a difference?
Over the past couple of years, we have made tremendous progress in our Customer Experience initiatives. Our clients understand our vision and focus and have been instrumental in helping us identify the enhancements that will make a big difference to them.
For instance, we have developed industry-leading mobile tools that enable fleet managers and drivers to take care of their fleet transactions anywhere, from any device. Also, we’ve been redesigning our systems to make them simpler and more intuitive for managers and drivers to use, creating a much better experience while retaining the incredible depth of information available to them.
And in fact, we’ve gotten rave reviews. Some of the driver feedback especially has been fantastic. It’s been very satisfying for those of us who have been putting this together, and we’re excited to continue to push toward new innovations.
How do you approach technology and continue to implement innovative solutions?
We view technology as an enabler that creates end-to-end answers for our clients’ challenges and helps them manage their fleets cost-effectively. It encompasses more than just enhancing our own processes, though of course that’s very important – it also includes creating a great experience whenever a client or driver uses our technology. We want our technology solutions to be all about our clients and their needs.
On a macro level, every system is designed to connect people and connect equipment – machine to machine to the driver and the fleet manager. Our technology solutions also need to be proactive. We want to use automation to ensure every transaction or process happens flawlessly every time – and in compliance with each client’s customized policy.
This underlying philosophy means we are aggressive about looking at new emerging technologies. Our mindset is: How can we use that new technology to solve fleet challenges?
Right now I think we are on the cusp of really exciting things with technology. We believe, for instance, that some of these mobile tools are going to change the way we do business. We’re developing on-demand data and predictive analytics tools that help managers drive decision-making at a level never before possible. It’s an exciting time to be involved.
What are some of the challenges you are seeing?
There are a lot of challenges facing fleets, and I guess those create hot spots. For instance, many fleets are facing new regulations that will impact their operations. Driver compliance continues to be an important issue, especially in terms of their behavior behind the wheel. Alternative fuel is another area where we’re getting a lot of questions from clients interested in reducing costs. There are just a ton of challenges out there – possibly more than ever before. It is a tough time right now to manage fleets.
What are clients telling you that their chief concerns are right now?
Maybe more so now, is how do I manage my fleet effectively and efficiently? They look to us to help them drive down the total cost of ownership – from the vehicle purchase, through maintenance, fueling, risk and safety, to selling the vehicle. That is one area that clients are continually struggling with.
And driver behavior is another concern that keeps coming up. We work with our clients to implement solutions such as management programs, in-depth analyses and consultation, driver training and new technologies that can help companies reduce accidents and improve driver safety.
Obviously, fleet managers face many concerns every day. We not only want to provide the solutions – but provide them in a way that makes our clients feel good about working with us. That’s what PHH’s Customer Experience initiative is all about.
Mr. Zuidema is responsible for PHH’s Customer Experience initiatives. He joined PHH in 1981, and his career has encompassed numerous key leadership positions – from product management and business development to operations and information technology. He is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College, and earned an M.B.A. from Duke University.