Fleet Tracking Titan Tackles Tracking Referrals Like it Tracks Trucks
When a lifelong plumber takes over his father’s plumbing business, there comes a moment of recognition. It happens one morning when he’s staring at a scheduling screen, his wrenches and snakes replaced by accordion files and an assortment of half-empty coffee mugs. Suddenly he bolts upright: “I have five guys out on the road right now in trucks with my name on them...and I have no idea where they are or what they’re doing. How do I keep tabs on them?”
Fleetmatics exists to serve that plumber, along with tens of thousands of other small-to-medium-sized business owners (and a healthy slice of enterprises, too). Its fleet tracking technology combats fraud and maintains brand integrity. Through its software-as-a-service solution, Fleetmatics gives fleet owners precise insight into where their vehicles are and how they’re being driven. Customers can draw geofenced “hotspots,” set speeding benchmarks, set maintenance alert levels, and get alerts on their devices or phones. Fleetmatics helps businesses keep a close eye on what’s happening with their most critical assets.
Ironic, then, that the 10-year-old company needed more insight into one of its most critical assets: customer referrals. Fleetmatics had historically acquired lots of new customers through its existing customers because many tradebusiness owners have deep connections with similar business owners and are active in trade organizations. The referrals were ad hoc, however. And, referring customers would get frustrated when reward payment took longer than expected. Fleetmatics was also having difficulty keeping tabs on which customers were referring and which new customers were acquired as a result.
Fleetmatics has historically acquired lots of new customers through its existing customers
Fleetmatics did know that, overall, a customer that referred was seven times more likely to expand its relationship with Fleetmatics and ten times more likely to renew than a non-referring customer. Loyalty numbers were “off the charts,” according to Debbie Bain, Fleetmatics’ Director of Customer Marketing. “You want more referring customers. It’s beneficial to the company.” Because its lack of referral tracking was potentially costing Fleetmatics serious business, Bain launched a refocusing effort. She managed the old-fashioned referrals for about eight months, which helped her fix internal workflow but did nothing to show Fleetmatics customers the benefits of referring. We needed outside help to formulate a program our salespeople could use and that would benefit our customer base,” according to Bain. That’s when Fleetmatics partnered with Extole, which is chose for three specific reasons:
1. Fulfillment of multiple incentives
Fleetmatics had always offered $200 gift cards to referring customers but didn’t know whether they were the most effective reward. Extole allows it to test different rewards and optimize its program based on the results.
2. International capability
In addition to having offices in Ireland, the U.K., and Australia, Fleetmatics expanded its sales force into Holland and Mexico in the past year. After recently expanding the referral program to its UK and Ireland teams, Bain said, “All the other countries are already knocking down my door” for their referral programs.
3. Mobile app integration
“Our mobile app is a gold mine,” according to Bain. “I’ve been at trade shows where a customer will whip out his phone and show a prospect what’s going on with his fleet in real-time, almost as if he was planted.” Fleetmatics is currently finalizing the integration of its Extole-powered program into its mobile app.
Fleetmatics partnered with Extole for 3 main reasons
Once Fleetmatics created its program with Extole, it drove about quadruple the number of referrals than it had done with its previous referrals. Customers who referred began receiving auto-notifications about how those referrals were performing and when they could expect to receive their rewards. The effect was, in Bain’s words, huge. “With more than 23,000 customers, we needed something more than paper to manage things. Once you hit a certain size as a company that is managing its own referral program, you become a clearinghouse. We didn’t want that, nor had we been doing it well.”
A few months after launching the customer-focused referral program, Fleetmatics enabled its sales reps to input referrals for their customers. Rather than relying on customers to take the initiative to seek out the referral program on its website, Fleetmatics sales reps could then plug the program when its customers are most engaged...like after their first month of using the product, when they’ve had their minds blown by actually seeing all their assets on a digital map with real-time updates and driving data. “That’s when sales agents have the best luck. It becomes less ‘sales reppy’ and more, ‘Holy cow, this is working. I need to tell you about the guys down the street who could use this,’” explained Bain. In fact, since its introduction this tactic has driven the majority of Fleetmatics’ referrals.
Adding this capability gave Fleetmatics another promotional channel for its program, and promotion is a significant driver of referral program success. (Extole finds that customers who drive 20-40% of their customer acquisition through referrals get more than 40% of their referral advocacy from sources other than their website.) In addition, involving sales agents has helped build internal buy-in. The sales organization is currently competing to see which regional sales offices, and which indivicual reps, can drive the most referrals. Seeing this channel’s success, the company is launching a similar program for its network of hundreds of installation partners across the country, who put Fleetmatics chips into customers’ engines.
Since launch, Fleetmatics has seen participation in its referral program trend steadily upward. It’s seeing about 50% more customer advocates week over week. Those advocates increase their sharing an average of 120% per week, and customers’ friends are clicking on those referral shares an average of 146% more often each week. Fleetmatics can now say that it tracks referral customer acquisition as well as it tracks its customers’ trucks.