In today's economic climate, with tight margins and fierce competition in every sphere, organizations are coming up with attractive offers and customer retention programs to maintain and grow their businesses. This holds true for the petroleum companies of the world as well. Fluctuating oil prices, changing customer sensibilities, the rising exploration costs, and increasing transportation costs have added to the challenges the oil industry is facing today. Particularly on the downstream side of the oil business, the margins have been under pressure. Downstream companies are looking for innovative ways to lure customers, both commercial and retail, to their petrol stations.
Oil Majors such as BP, Shell, and Total etc. have come-up with Loyalty Card programs that provide a convenient mode of transaction for fuel purchases from their retail outlets. They offer fuel on credit using the cards and also reward the loyal customers for their spending through the cards. Apart from this basic functionality, the scope of the cards has been increasing over the years to include other services.
Loyalty Cards offer a convenient, secure, controllable and cost efficient tool and offer a host of benefits especially for fleet owners or managers.
- Cash less purchase of fuel across different pump stations at different locations
- Earn loyalty points on each dollar spend for fuel or fuel related purchase
- Option to use for Vehicle Maintenance
- Rewards/Gifts on redemption of loyalty points
- Convenient and comprehensive reporting offering insights into the spend patterns
- Prevention of fraudulent transaction with greater visibility of all purchases and elimination of cash transactions
- Greater control on the purchases by drivers
While the cards were started by oil companies in an effort to get a loyal customer base and to offer a convenient way of transaction to the customers, the oil companies are now going one step ahead and using the cards to get greater insights about the customers. The cards can be effectively used to get information about the customer spending and payment patterns. Insights derived from this data can help oil companies become more customer-centric and more responsive to customer needs. Some of the benefits include:
1. Drive targeted loyalty campaigns for customers across different segments to get greater returns on the campaign investment
2. Improve customer communication and reduce churn
3. Improve market share
Thus the fleet cards, besides proving to be a tool of convenience for vehicle owners, also allow the building of a detailed profile of customers for the oil companies. Companies are increasingly making an effort to leverage their fleet card programmes not only to improve the customer experience but also to drive additional revenues.
In this effort they are seeking support from integrated IT and BPO players who can provide specialized services for managing the card and loyalty platform as well as for managing the card customer services on a 24x7 basis. Oil companies are leveraging the experience of BPO companies having expertise in transaction processing, customer service, loyalty and campaign management, social media analytics and dispute handling to successfully drive their fleet card and loyalty programmes. The BPO companies can offer end to end card services and can help drive business transformation through analytics and boost productivity and efficiency.