Part 2: CAM Banking on Investments in Account Management and Continuous Development as fitter-force Looks to Leap Forward in 2021

Steve Daly

Part 2 of our interview with Steve Daly saw us turn our attention to CAM's strategy during lockdown with fitter-force and their prospects for 2021.

The Future of fitter-force Forums and Account Management Investment

Forums had previously been a crucial facet of how CAM gained customer feedback and how they looked at assessing how to improve their products and service offerings. These face-to-face sessions were forums where dealer customers gave their time to come together and discuss the issues and successes they were having. Steve Daly explained, though, that with current social distancing measures in place, this approach really hasn’t been feasible recently.

This has led to CAM’s increased investment in direct account management. The company has been making significant investments in account management over the previous decade, as they originally felt they were not interacting sufficiently with their smaller clients. As of today, CAM has account management personnel across all its customers. 

This strategy and focus will unquestionably be critical with fitter-force, considering the fact that the product is coming in from the lower-end of the market in terms of customer size, but these smaller sized businesses will be demanding that same level of customer care and attention.

Steve took some time to go deeper into their account management status, “Currently, we have up to weekly online interfaces with our premier customers and quarterly sessions with our smallest customers together with our account management team. This cuts through the white noise that we sometimes see in the forums and helps us focus on what they like and dislike about the products, what we need to work on and where the user requires further training.

“With our clients feeling comfortable in their meeting room they can then talk openly about what is and isn’t working, and we can take that feedback away and do something with it.”

Daly also explained how this ability to capture comments and feedback from customers is now a cornerstone of the business and how they are able to feed that information back into the business to continuously improve their offer.

“We have improved our ability to define what we need to do by way of product improvements and technological advances during COVID. It’s a much more structured and holistic approach.

“It bodes well, because it allows us to capture comments and feedback from our customers through the account management and allows us to bring it back into the business through a design perspective.”

Returning to the subject of the forums, Daly concluded, “we would rather be face to face with our customers, and we will be to the extent with which laws and guidelines allow that, but we are a fair way away from forums when we are in a room together as many people are not really enthused by that prospect. Forums are so far away. Everyone they talk to seems to make up one back-to-back video call all day long. You get a mental break in real-world meetings when you drive home. However, virtual meetings are exhausting as they are back-to-back, and there’s no time to rest.

“Nowadays, we want much more direct and structured interaction with our biggest customers. From a practical perspective it has worked. It has been tough to develop new relationships with new customers as it is hard to get that warmth and humanity across.”

Did Lockdown Dent the Progress of fitter-force?

At the start of December, the UK was just coming out of a second national lockdown and at the time of publishing, the UK is about to enter its third. With the global pandemic dominating news headlines all around the world it was impossible not to ask Daly how the pandemic has affected the market development of fitter-force and their strategy for taking it forward.

Daly responded positively, explaining how fitter-force had been a key reason behind most of the company’s inbound leads. “Most of our inbound leads have been around fitter-force, which has been fascinating. The reasoning for that is fairly simple. During lockdown, fitter-force has fitted into the trend towards an accelerated need for mobile tyre fitment, which is exactly where fitter-force is.”

With social distancing at the forefront of people’s and business’s minds during the pandemic, Daly noted that CAM has been approached by various players wanting to fit a mobile tyre fitment aspect into their business, which has played a part in their commercial business growing.

Daly added, “We have seen more e-jobsheet subscriptions, and we have signed new accounts, acquisitions, dealer customers on the strength that they need something to manage their business as they have become busier, and fitter-force plays into that.”

On top of this, Daly touched upon how the pitching style has had to change in a working world that is now dominated by platforms such as Teams, Zoom and Webex, something that cannot be easy with a product that is highly technical and requires expertise and concise explanation to get the messaging right.

Daly said, “one of the things that is difficult about lockdown and having introductory sessions with prospective partners, clients and suppliers is conveying to these individuals what you do without having a “War and Peace” style software presentation. Recently I have had to present these fairly new and innovative principles to people in 20 minutes. It’s not easy to do.”

Prospects in 2021

Besides the imminent announcement of CAM’s first national dealer, Daly was keen to point out the amount of work that the company has put into an advanced inventory management product called e-jobsheet Van Stock, which is where a customer is using fitter-force, and they are simultaneously connected to TiDaeX and e-jobsheet, and managing their stock down to the technician van level in near real-time. This includes a casing option.

The advances have been made specifically in and around what happens to a tyre asset when it has been receipted into a depot. This option allows users to track the tyre from the depot to the van and then the van becomes a mobile stockholding warehouse, against which users can view the stock levels of at any point in time.

Daly expanded on this, “So, rather than just viewing at depot level what stock holding is relevant on behalf of that fitter and organisation, we can see what is happening at van level.

“If a dealer can see what is happening down to van level, what is being stocked on the van, what is being used via e-jobsheet on target vehicles and what comes back to the depot and relinquished to another van, not only can the dealer enjoy that level of detail and timeliness, but a breakdown service may also look to explore.”

This functionality, of which CAM owns the intellectual property, allows the firm to talk to its e-jobsheet, UniSerV and fitter-force users about a solution that will resolve an issue and give visibility between depot and fitter.

About the author

Richard Wilson is the deputy editor for Commercial Tyre Business. Since 2015, Richard has worked as a correspondent for all of the titles across the Valebridge Publications Ltd Group namely: Retreading Business, Tyre & Rubber Recycling, The Tyreman and Truck and Bus News. Richard has worked on/off from the age of 16 for the company and whilst gaining a Bachelor's Degree in Spanish and Business Studies at Coventry University, he developed his writing skills at the University paper and more recently writing his own independent blog.

Contact: richard.wilson@retreadingbusiness.com

Phone: (44) 1270 668 718

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