EMKAY Inc., of Itasca, Illinois, USA, won the Gold Stevie® Award for Customer Service Team of the Year in the customer service awards categories of The 2012 American Business Awards and the Gold Stevie Award for Back-Office Customer Service Team of the Year in the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service. (The entry deadline for The 2013 American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the U.S.A., is March 27 - request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away. You can also join the mailing list here for the 2014 sales awards and customer service awards and the entry kit will be emailed to you when entries open this July.) Here we look at how this fleet financing and management company continues to wow its customers.
EMKAY is a top ten business-to-business North American finance- and fleet-management service solutions provider. Its front line is the Client Support Services (CSS) team, which provides value-added services daily to over 700 business customers with more than 100,000 vehicles under management. In addition, the customer service department has earned the ASE’s Blue Seal of Excellence Award for seven consecutive years; and for the past three consecutive years, EMKAY’s customer survey has resulted in a 100% customer satisfaction rating.
EMKAY customers recognize this company’s passion to satisfy in an ever-growing do-it-yourself environment. As one customer, Benjamin Moore & Co., stated: “EMKAY consistently addresses our growing needs to make life more productive for the fleet manager and our drivers. Its front-line customer service takes servicing clients seriously.”
The EMKAY Difference
So what is EMKAY’s award-winning CSS team doing to maintain their high standards and keep their customers satisfied?
- Saving The Client Money:
A key element to EMKAY’s success is that its front-line isn’t just reactive, like your average customer service: it’s proactive. Not only does the company answer client requests, but it also looks for ways to save its clients money at every touch point. Each interaction—whether it’s by e-mail, phone, or the industry’s only on-line customer chat—is tracked as a case.
On every interaction, service personnel answer requests and then focus on how EMKAY can add value through consultative strategies. The result for clients in 2011 was over $21,600,000 in documented savings.
EMKAY has created unique point-of-purchase controls to save its customers approximately $560 annually per vehicle in maintenance expenses. EMKAY accomplishes this by consulting on every repair visit, tracking negotiated labor times/rates, and auditing every repair purchase order for any unnecessary repairs. The results are often dramatic and are shared in a cost-containment report prepared for each client.
Customer Service also assists with remarketing off-lease vehicles. A third party, Adesa Analytical, audits EMKAY’s yearly statistics, enabling service personnel to pay close attention to the details involved in each transaction. EMKAY is also the only North American vehicle consignor to communicate electronically the maintenance history on every sold vehicle. The result is a cost saving for EMKAY customers of an average $322 per vehicle.
EMKAY believes customer service department results should be completely transparent. EMKAY has created a unique 360° view for customers that share specific results, accomplishments, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), metrics, and strategic initiatives specific to each customer. Each custom-built “Fleet Objective Report” shares not just EMKAY’s KPIs, but also how each customer performed versus customized targets and industry benchmarks. Customer Service then includes custom-prepared quarterly recommendations for improvement and cost savings.
The CSS team’s great care is extended by tracking key metrics across all client interactions, then meeting bi- weekly not just with management, but with the entire CSS Front-Line. The result is that the team’s passion for results is engaged, and the company is able to make constant improvements to its service processes.
Each front-line rep also receives a monthly scorecard. This acts as a results “playbook” for each individual, and enables Team Leads to meet personally with specialists, review their Key Performance Indicators, and develop individual self-improvement and quality-enhancement strategies.
- Walking In The Client’s Shoes
The CSS team is also proactive with EMKAY’s operating departments to better the overall client experience. With EMKAY’s “Walk-In-Their-Shoes” program, CSS and operating team members interact directly in order to learn from each other, streamline processes, and create shortcuts to enable quicker—or more quality—client responses. By 2011, this initiative had resulted in an increase of 7% in the quality sections of the scorecards.
EMKAY has helped shift the way that corporate America views fleet management today with a philosophy of providing straightforward, better, and different solutions. EMKAY has converted the fleet industry from simply leasing vehicles to a true technology- and service-based solution.
Comments Chris Tepas, Executive Vice President of EMKAY, Inc.: “By internally managing key performance indicators and operational metrics, our focus is now on efficiency solutions and cost savings rather than on problem resolution. EMKAY’s proactive customer service mindset has resulted in a true partnership with our clients, something unique in the fleet world today.”
He added: “In 2012 we totaled over 65,000 cases and achieved an outstanding 17.2% cases having a cost saving recommendation. The result for our clients was over $28,200,000 in documented savings.”
About Chris Tepas
Chris Tepas currently serves as Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President for EMKAY Inc. Tepas joined EMKAY in 1999 and was promoted to Vice President of Sales in 2003, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing in 2006, and Executive Vice President of Client Services and Marketing in 2009.
Tepas obtained his degree from Arizona State University and had professional design training at the Art Institute of California—San Francisco.
EMKAY is a provider of vehicle financing and management solutions to businesses throughout North America. Founded in 1946, it is the second oldest fleet management company in the nation, and maintains a reputation for operational excellence. As the industry’s only privately held, employee-owned company, EMKAY’s unique ownership enables a special personal pride in the servicing of its customers.