“The processes we have implemented are wide reaching and will allow for automated testing, code quality screening and the development of a more agile and flexible technology stack. The latter point is very important because I think it facilitates a shift in mindset towards solving the problems at hand, rather than trying to solve all conceivable problems.”
Insightive.tv: What are the key strategic priorities that are driving digitisation at Tuskerdirect?
Clive: Our business has grown over the last thirteen years on a technology stack that has been very successful, but is now proving to be a limiting factor in terms of efficiency, data reliability and hosting. From a continuous integration point of view or automated testing point of view, we are working to make sure that everything we do moving forwards is developed in a way that is repeatable, scalable and immensely reliable.
Efficiency is a main priority in our transformation project. But this feeds into many different aspects of the business. Customer service, for example, is improved by having a more efficient process. But we are also investing in the improvement of our data management and analytics — in that regard, improvements come straight back to customers, as well as business operations on the whole. If we understand data, we can be proactive — allowing us to provide better customer service because we are better able to know our customers. These kinds of developments have multiple levels of impact, and the business as a whole has to be looked at as interconnected.
Ultimately, we are looking to maintain a gap with our competition. We are leaders in this sector and our digitisation projects are a means of maintaining our competitive advantage. This means improving customer experience and building a more efficient and flexible business. We are developing new products for drivers that allow people to do what they need to do on any device and improving the elegance of the solutions we already offer. For example, customers have been able to purchase a car with us via a mobile phone for some time — but it is not a very elegant system. This is something we are changing.
Insightive.tv: Can you give me an overview of your current customer contracting process and how it has changed?
Clive: We have transformed this process dramatically. Upon receiving an order, we used to send documents to a driver that would need to be printed out, signed, scanned and sent back — a very disruptive process. A driver now requests a vehicle, within a few seconds they have received the necessary documentation that they can electronically sign. We get live updates throughout that process. It has reduced a system that used to take days to minutes. This has also freed us from the necessity of requiring customer service agents to call drivers and remind them to scan and print.
Insightive.tv: What are the biggest barriers in terms of digital transformation?
Clive: Ultimately, the largest barrier is simply time. We know exactly what we want to do and why we want to do it. However, no matter how determined you are, these things take time — you have to prioritise which improvements are made first. We will be deploying the first phase of our project in April. This includes improvements for drivers — giving them the ability to choose cars more efficiently. In this first roll-out we have prioritised improving customer service and the customer journey — the second phase, which is scheduled for delivery in September, is aimed more at our internal efficiency.
From a driver point of view, everything we do results in choice and being able to access the right amount of detail. Making sure that the systems we develop don’t put customers in a position of information overload is a challenge — too much choice or information can harm the customer experience. But the right amount of detail at the right level creates the most desirable customer experience and outcome — it is a fine line.
We also run into barriers with implementation. With customer-facing technology, it isn’t always entirely within our control. For example, there are still people that use Internet Explorer 6 or 7 — DocuSign does not support browsers of such age. In those cases, we have had to fall back on downloading, printing and wet-signing documents. We are currently capturing between 90-95% of cases within the automated processes. Pushing that to 100% will be challenging. We also have to make sure that no matter what developments we make, we always have less technical options available to customers that cannot engage with the new platform.
Insightive.tv: How important has the digitisation of the contracting process been as compared to other aspects of your digital transformation project?
Clive: Our business is essentially a business built on contracting. This is one reason why we have pushed ahead rapidly with the adoption of digital contracts. But there is no point in only focusing on contracting if your business is failing in other ways. You need to facilitate drivers choosing cars and those cars have to be ordered and delivered. If any one of those processes fall down, it doesn’t matter if you do the contracting well or not.
The processes we have implemented are wide reaching and will allow for automated testing, code quality screening and the development of a more agile and flexible technology stack. The latter point is very important because I think it facilitates a shift in mindset towards solving the problems at hand, rather than trying to solve all conceivable problems. This is because it allows you to develop knowing that you will be able to make alterations and additions further down the line — improving your ability to focus on what needs to be done, rather than things that may never become problems and are not immediately important to the business.
Improving our contracting process is an important part of this transformation project, but it is only a segment of the whole. My perspective is that the business has to be looked at as a singular entity. We are currently undertaking a major project — probably one of the biggest transformation projects we have ever done. The business is entirely behind our need to do this and its implementation is going to put us in a very good place moving forward.
Clive Baker is CTO at Tuskerdirect. He joined the company in 2016, bringing a decade of experience as a leading technical officer — working for companies such as Yocuda, Clash Media Advertising and IMG Media. Clive combines strategic insight with digital expertise to build scalable technological solutions that fit specific business needs and deliver measurable returns on investment. We spoke with Clive to gain insight into how Tuskerdirect is using digital technology to maintain their competitive advantage in a sector they digitised during the early years of the 21st century — specifically, how digital contracting is changing the way they do business.
Tuskerdirect is a UK based car benefit company who offer salary sacrifice cars, company cars and fleet management services. Founded in 2000, Tuskerdirect changed their industry by taking corporate fleet leasing online. With an emphasis on carbon neutrality, Tuskerdirect has won the Green Apple award for the last three years in a row and was named the 2016 winner of the Business Excellence Awards for their innovation and focus on customer service. Tuskerdirect’s mission is to take complexity out of car services.
THE DIGITAL FUTURE OF CUSTOMER CONTRACTING series