Interview with Chevron: customer retention is key to success with fuel cards

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Fuel cards have traditionally been big business. Poh Lee, National Card Manager at Chevron (which owns the Caltex and StarCard retail brands) shares the drivers of success and where future opportunity lies.

Can you describe the type of customers you have and how you reach them?

Our customers span a wide range of segments – Government agencies, listed companies, leasing companies, buying groups, mid-sized corporates, right down to a self-employed tradie with one ute! We have an inhouse team who communicate regularly with our larger customers and we use an outsourced call centre for other segments.

How do you address customer retention and to what extent is loyalty an issue for fuel card providers?

The most loyal customer for a retail fuel business is usually the fuel card customer, as drivers need to use this tender type to pay for re-fuelling. Having said that, for many of our customers, fuel is one of the highest costs in running their business. They are always looking to save time and money, so loyalty can be a challenge. Consequently, we help customers find ways to realise missed savings through education and engagement. This helps us lock in loyalty, which is far more economical than acquiring a new customer.

How does Australia fare in terms of fuel card adoption?

Larger fleets generally use fuel cards, however the opportunity lies in the SME segment (generally up to a fleet size of 20) which we estimate to be around 1,000,000 vehicles nationally. This segment still tends to use traditional methods such as credit cards, employee reimbursement and an account with the local service station. These are all high risk for business owners due to potential fraud by employees, and represent an opportunity for us.

How is the rise of electric vehicles impacting your strategy?

While there is a rise in the consumer market for EVs, partly driven by legislation and incentives, we have not seen any diminishing demand for the traditional fuel products in the commercial space. Having said that, Chevron is looking at strategies for a lower carbon future and potential future fuel solutions. We will continue to find ways to make it easier for our customers and their drivers to make purchases and meet their organisational goals when it comes to fuel expenses for their fleet.

What are the KPIs that keep you up at night?

Profitable growth and customer retention, of course!

Last updated on: April 2, 2024