Why I drink coffee with fleet managers every week

Merel Vis (CEM), December 2018



  • Group Shell TapUp's ultimate customer experience
  • Group Make sure you understand the friction you're solving


Last Tuesday I was talking to other companies (The Avocado Show, Bunq, PicNic and Zoku) that have developed a new concept in an existing market based on customer focus, about what is important for Shell TapUp in building the ultimate customer experience.

We believe it is important to understand the role that our service plays in the customer’s fleet management process. Only in this way can we arrange our delivery service and the related processes with the customer in such a way that fuel delivery really saves time and makes the process around refueling and planning really easier. No customer is exactly the same, so instead of making assumptions, we valide our assumptions with every new customer. Over and over again.


To be able to do this successfully, we try to enter into a dialogue with all stakeholders at the customer. Not only the operations director must see the benefits, but the fleet manager and drivers must also embrace the new process. We like to involve them in making working agreements: because they are the ones who know the process and the details of their fleet best.

After the first delivery it remains important to receive feedback from the customer, but continuous openness is also very important from your own team. I have found that the best way to understand processes and collect feedback – for a new concept – is to do it yourself. You see, hear and feel things that the customer might not have noticed. That is where you can help the customer and continue to amaze.

But I cannot guarantee a good customer experience on my own. Everyone in the organization must want to deliver the best customer experience. We find this very important when we hire new people and it is an integral part of our culture. We know the names of our customers, know who drives which vehicle and sometimes even which sweets someone likes to eat. Business relationships are maintained by people. And people prefer to be served by people rather than scripts, so a chat or a joke must be encouraged.


It was good to see that more and more companies think from the perspective of their customers and set up companies or processes in the interest of their customers. For example, PicNic, the free grocery delivery service, said that they have a sticker for people with children that after a certain time there must be a knock instead of a bell. They understand the role they play in the household.

Bunq bank said that they have put their earnings model in such a way that the customer only pays for the services he / she purchases, which means that they look at what the customer wants in everything they do. Zoku has spent 7 years working with their target group to develop the ultimate long-stay hotel concept.

But what I remember the most is that market research does not have to be long or complex. To validate whether an avocado restaurant in Amsterdam was a good idea, the founders of The Avocado Show sent a text message to all female contacts in their phone.

As you can see, being customer-oriented can be done in many ways. As long as you understand who you are doing it for.