FleetSpeak

What Impression Do You Make?

September 2, 2014

by Thi Dao - Also by this author

Photo via Wikipedia commons
Photo via Wikipedia commons

Have you googled your fleet operation? I probably have, numerous times, looking for your fleet website. The range of information provided across the many websites I’ve seen is surprising.

If someone knows nothing about fleet, which is often the case, and they search for information about your fleet department, what do they find? On a municipal or agency site, does the fleet department have a presence? Can visitors easily find out what you do and the services you offer? What kind of impression are you making on that person?

I was looking up information recently about a specific fleet and happened upon that city’s website. I did a search for fleet and clicked on the first thing that popped up. On top of that multi-page document, there was a mission/purpose statement, and following that was everything I ever wanted to know about this city’s fleet.

Most of your customers or the public don’t need to know everything about your operation. But it makes a good impression, even if they stumble onto that document by mistake, when the first thing they see is the fleet’s mission statement.

With such a little-understood profession, it’s important to provide information about the services the fleet department provides, especially if someone is looking for it.

At the very least, there should be some basic information about the department on the agency website. A basic page might include a mission statement, some information about what the department does, and a phone number. A more detailed page might include links to forms and policies, a newsletter, an explanation of fleet services and its accomplishments, information about how to check out motor pool vehicles, fueling station locations and fuel cards, and a detailed contact list for points of contact within fleet.

Most of your customers or potential customers might already know about fleet, or have other sources for information such as an intranet, but there’s still outside agencies and the general public you’d want to keep informed as well.

Admittedly, you may be constrained by your agency’s website. If no other department or division gets its own webpage, fleet probably won’t either. But if the other departments have fancy photos and graphs, it sounds like you have some options to spruce up the fleet page.

Take Advantage of their Attention
We often talk about educating others about fleet. So if you have someone actively seeking information, and you have their attention, why not give them what they want?

While websites often attract the most eyeballs, an online presence isn’t the only place where a customer or resident might make a first impression — the other is on the phone.

If a customer or someone else calls, does a technician run to get the phone, huffing and puffing and barking out a rough “hello?” Is the person who answers the phone able to answer most operational questions that may be asked? Does anyone answer the phone at all?

Just last week, I called a fleet manager in Florida. A very nice lady answered and immediately transferred me to the right person. As I was on hold, a professional recording with information about fleet services replaced what commonly is silence or soft jazz. One of the messages was letting callers know that they could wait while their vehicle was being serviced.

Was I impressed? Yes! I learned something about fleet I never would have thought to ask about, and that fleet’s other callers do too.

Maybe a technician is the only person who can answer the phone — that’s ok, as long as that technician realizes he or she may help form the caller’s first impression.

First impressions, unfortunately, often last well beyond a first interaction. By making a better impression, and allowing those seeking information to easily obtain it, fleet managers can educate others about their efficient, professional fleet.

What are some ways you have been able to create a better first impression?

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Comments

  1. 1. Richard Battersby [ September 08, 2014 @ 02:12PM ]

    Is it just me, or is the above comment a sales pitch including URL without much effort to disguise it? How did this make it past the moderator?

  2. 2. Dennis Hogan [ September 08, 2014 @ 02:54PM ]

    I thought that as well.

  3. 3. Richard Battersby [ September 12, 2014 @ 10:59AM ]

    Thank you moderators!

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Thi Dao

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Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

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