Company: TranzlineCustomer: PHH/ArvalSubmitted by: Promote-PRDate: Spring 2001PHH/Arval is a new entity in the vehicle leasing world. Created from the merger of Avis’ PHH Vehicle Management Services with Arval of BNP Paribas, it is one of the world’s leading vehicle management companies in North America and Europe and the UK’s largest purchaser of motor vehicles.
Worldwide it has over 840,000 managed vehicles, more than 2.2 million fuel and service cards in use and over 2,500 employees. It is also the UK’s largest purchaser of motor vehicles.Its customer base is vast and varied, ranging from large organisations running fleets to single owner-managed van operations using fuel cards. And to help manage these customers the company has installed a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system from British company, Tranzline.
PHH/Arval is no stranger to IT. Its data-warehouse processes billions of transactions every week and polls over 12,000 garages every few seconds. In addition, its prospect database which contains more than 300,000 records is in constant use by direct marketing, telesales, telemarketing, field sales and account managers.In 1999, PHH/Arval decided to replace its existing sales force automation system. Although this system was being used with moderate success in one of the sales divisions, it was difficult to extend the system to other areas of its business and it was impossible to link it to other business systems.
Development opportunities were limited, and the system was not Y2K compliant. A replacement was needed – and it was needed fast.Jon Waring, PHH/Arval’s Marketing Database Manager, who spearheaded the search for a new system, explains: “Given the tight timeframe, we originally thought we’d replace the old system with something similar, and if it could do anything else, we’d view it as a bonus. Then it dawned on us that it would be pointless just replicating the old system if what we had in the old system was no good. “So Waring, working with the IT department, went out and asked users what they what they would like from a new system.
“By the time we’d been out to the users and asked them what was good and what was bad, and what they wanted in the new system, we’d ended up with a wish list. And suddenly, most of those wishes became essential requirements and we realised that what we needed was a customer relationship management system,” he continues.At this stage, you may expect that a company the size of PHH/Arval would turn to one of the larger CRM vendors, however PHH/Arval’s needs were urgent and specific so they turned to one of the smaller manufacturers – Tranzline and their latest product CRMSoft.
Waring comments: “The price difference between CRMSoft from Tranzline and the market leaders was so significant that their costs could not be possibly justified.”But it was not just the cost that turned him on to the Tranzline solution. He continues: “Although most CRM systems are basically the same, there were a few key functions in CRMSoft that none of the others could provide. For example, we wanted to able to draw organisational charts of the accounts showing the relationships between them, various corporate offices and people. If we were to realise increased account penetration, we needed to understand how our customers were organised, and we could do this with CRMSoft.”PHH/Arval invested heavily in getting the group linkages across all locations of a company.
When they migrated the data from the old system to the new one, the entire client and prospect database was sent to Dun ; Bradstreet who were asked to identify the ultimate parent company for each entry along with a complete list of all the companies within the parent group. Now, for each client and prospect they have the entire corporate tree alongside their own history with that company presented as a chart, which is easier and quicker to understand than just a long list of names.Another important thing that impressed Waring about CRMSoft was its flexibility because PHH/Arval wanted to bend the system to fit their processes and not vice-versa. “Being comprehensive should not be at the expense of ease of use,” Waring observes He wanted to have everything driven from a single screen and be able to store up to 200 records per customer. It’s a lot of records, but having all this information at their fingertips enables PHH/Arval to fully understand the customers’ needs, while providing all the data to meet the management reporting requirements.Although the base CRMSoft product is rich in standard functions, Waring and his team treated it as a blank canvas onto which they were able to add the existing business processes and then adapt them.
After the users had had their say, the management wanted to add their specifications to the system. “They saw they could get reports they never had before and they seized the opportunity,” Waring says. “Our experience from the old system showed that it is better to have a field included from the outset somebody is going to want it at some point. This is part of the reason why we ended up with over 200 fields per customer.”Another thing they wanted it to do was to automatic lead generation. The company works on a consultative sales basis so the first sales visit is not necessarily an attempt to sell anything, it is more about identifying needs and requirements.
So, the system has made it easy for the salespeople to collect information which helps them sell a wider range of products, and not just the traditional range. Once this information is in the system, leads are automatically fired off to the relevant people all of which helps get maximum share of the customers’ spending.By the time the project had its funding approved, it was already August and the pressure was on. “Telesales and telemarketing are the power users of the system,” Waring comments.
“They have the screens in front of them all the time and when somebody calls in and needs fuel cards, they handle it all on the system while they are talking. It’s a live, real time system. We had to get them running first so we could switch off one system and switch on the other with minimum disturbance. We achieved this by September and by the end of the year we’d added the rest of the users.”Waring continues, “The good thing about the CRM model is that it gives you a goal – something to aim at.
We will have reached our targets when all our systems are fully integrated and we’ve got perfect one-to-one relationships with all our customers. Realistically, that will take at least two to three years. Going down the eCRM route will greatly help that.”By eCRM Waring is referring to PHH/Arval’s plans to move to the web-based version of CRMSoft. This allows users to access their databases via web browsers, eliminating the need to carry large databases on laptops and send potentially large update files via e-mail.At present the remote users synchronise their databases, which are segmented according to individual needs, whenever they need to.
Waring is pleased with the reliability of this critical functionality within the CRMSoft, as he explains: “In my experience the synchronisation of remote users is always the biggest stumbling block. With this system it was easier because it was done via e-mail.”The links are already in place to realise true CRM at PHH/Arval. CRMSoft can already talk to the vast data-warehouses within PHH/Arval. “We’ve got a data-warehouse that stores a vast array of information such as mileage driven by the fleets, and usage of the fuel cards,” he explained.
“We’ve built a link from CRMSoft into that system so that data is available for future use. One of the plans is to look at some of that data and start to do some customer segmentation within the year.”Waring is positive about the results so far as he proudly boasts, “For the first time in our history, we have visibility across our entire company of the services any company takes from us. He’s also very positive about the support for the system within PHH/Arval and from Tranzline. “The take up of the system is generally high because of the buy-in at senior management level.
The Managing Director is particularly sold on the system.”