We talk to a fuel management bureau operator to find out how they work to save clients money. In part 1 we find out what happens behind the scenes, what the day-to-day issues concerning fuel consumption are and what some of the frequently asked questions about how corporate fleet management can help your fleet are.
INTERVIEWER: What happens behind the scenes that people might not know? Can you give an idea about a day in the life of a fuel management bureau operator?
INTERVIEWEE: Well, what we do basically is sit and work with data every day. We sort through individual transactions to pick up what is going on in the fleet for the client. We import, we edit, we send out alerts, we make phone calls to the fuel stations and to clients. If they are requesting fuel slips or if there is outstanding data, we request that information. We cannot calculate the fuel consumption without all of this data present. So basically we need to make sure that we have all the information before we can notify clients. When we have identified something we can ask the client to look at a particular vehicle, for example, if there is high consumption there then we can go to the fuel stations requesting the slips. Obviously before we can generate our reports we need all the transaction slips. So we just basically sit every day and ensure that all the data is uploaded correctly.
INTERVIEWER: What kind of team is involved? Is it a call centre?
INTERVIEWEE: We are not really a call centre per se. We do experience high call volumes with calls from clients requesting different things. We get the information about the fuel tanks, and the compliance slips, etc. We are a team of about 12 staff; 10 operators, two supervisors and then one manager that looks after all of us. The two supervisors have a team of five each, splitting the group into two. We all work quite well together, we help each other. If, for instance, someone is investigating a fuel station they might ask for help from another one of the other operators who have dealt with the station in the past. We work together in order to give our clients the best possible feedback and quality of work.
INTERVIEWER: So what are the day-to-day kind of issues that occur when it comes to fuel management?
INTERVIEWEE: First of all, the client’s co-operation is very important. The better the co-operation is, the easier it is for us. We know our clients are very busy though. We also have frequent late transactions. It’s crucial to get the transactions within in the first 72 hours for the best results. Sometimes the banks are late and sometimes the clients’ transactions are not on time and this will mean we have to email or phone them to ask for the outstanding information.
And then another issue that we face is the fuel stations. We get about one in every 30 that would phone back and get very defensive. I have to just explain to them that we are not saying that there is fraud. They feel like we are accusing them and we are just requesting their help to get information. But it is usually sorted out quite quickly.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, can you give me some of the frequently asked questions that an agent would encounter? What do you get asked a lot?
INTERVIEWEE: If clients have complaints then they phone us. It is usually small stuff, like a vehicle is not appearing in the report, and it would fall under the vehicles not calculated for the month and then we would have to explain that. Mostly, it is just about the reports and clients that just want to understand what we are providing. So we basically assist in helping them to better understand how to manage their fuel consumption and how to bring it down.
Don’t forget to read part 2 of our interview on the life of a fuel management bureau operator.
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