What creates driver loyalty in a vehicle fleet?

Employee retention is one of the key features of any high-performing business, and is especially important for fleet managers to control. 

After all, the better a company can secure its talent, the more it can foster loyalty, safe driving practices and familiarity with its vehicles. By bringing telematics software into the fleet management process, businesses can use tangible data to support driver development and create a fleet that is operating at its full potential. 

According to a survey from recruitment website CareerBuilder, employee recognition and training opportunities play an important role in retention strategies. By continually upskilling staff and providing rewards for driver performance, fleet managers stand a better chance of supporting a stable fleet. 

So, what else makes drivers happy in their roles?

It's not just about the money

US providers of trucking satellite television EpicVue launched a survey to find out what drivers are looking for in jobs. The results raised key points for companies looking to improve their fleet management techniques. 

It's important that fleet managers listen to driver feedback.

EpicVue discovered that drivers are influenced by more than just wages or salaries, as the way a company presents itself is often just as important. More than one-third (37 per cent) of respondents indicated this is an essential feature of any company or fleet they want to continue working for. A further 25 per cent stated fleet managers also need to respond to suggestions for improvement where possible. 

EpicVue also investigated what drivers enjoy the most about their positions, finding that independence plays a big part in job satisfaction. Fleet managers can foster this view by providing training and support that encourages drivers to be responsible for their respective vehicles when out on the road. 

Could green cars also encourage loyalty?

There's a certain excitement to piloting a new vehicle, a feeling that grows if the car in question is also at the forefront of modern technology. With this in mind, driver loyalty could increase if they are provided with green cars. As company presentation is important to driver loyalty, as EpicVue explained, taking an environmentally friendly stance to vehicle acquisition could prompt employees to stay with the business. 

It's also important for drivers to like the vehicles they are in charge of. To try and find out what spawns affinity for certain automobiles, research firm Strategic Vision created the Customer Love Index. According to President Alexander Edwards, there are a range of conditions that influence people's sentiments towards cars, but a good score can greatly affect buyer behaviour. 

"Creating a product that customers can love will allow buyers to spend significantly more money because it has the right balance of styling, innovation, performance and environmental friendliness," he said. 

Drivers love cars of all shapes and sizes.Drivers love cars of all shapes and sizes.

Strategic Vision's results indicated a growing focus on green cars too. In the Near-Luxury Alternative Powertrain Car category, the BMW I3 came out on top, with the Toyota Prius and Camry Hybrid also scoring well in their respective categories. 

The key feature of these three cars is their practicality. Not only are they all competent fleet vehicles, their hybrid powertrains mean owners can also fill them up at petrol stations.

Loyal to the car and to the company

Of course, there are more forces at play for drivers and fleet managers than just their dedication to the company. In many cases, whether they would consider themselves car enthusiasts or not, people generally have a loyalty to a particular brand or model. For example, Toyota's reputation for reliability has seen many of its models become standard features on the country's roads. 

81 per cent of millennials research new vehicles online before making a purchase.

However, recent insights from market research firm Rocket Fuel found that younger generations are more open to change, and are particularly influenced by the internet. According to the organisation, 84 per cent of millennials research new vehicles online before making purchases. 

Rocket Fuel also discovered that millennials are more receptive to new technologies, so cars with autonomous features, ground-breaking safety additions or noteworthy gadgets can be the first step in prompting driver loyalty. 

Roy Morgan Research also investigated the way brand loyalty is created in the automotive industry, finding there is a varied range of influences that affect people in different ways. The firm found that even films can change the way people look at vehicles. 

The latest "Mad Max" film was the focus of this investigation, with researchers finding that its most ardent fans also sport unique automotive purchasing behaviours. Roy Morgan Research found there are a number of features these enthusiasts prefer in their vehicles, including high-performance characteristics and an overall sense of fun. 

While not all fleets will be able to provide for this unique set of demands, it's still an interesting look at the way enthusiasts respond to influential media. 

To find out more about achieving driver loyalty in your fleet with telematics solutions, contact the team at Smartfleet.