The leading fuel card company in the United Kingdom is in danger of falling from its pedestal as a result of an apparently poorly executed systems migration. Fleet News reports now that several new fuel card providers are hurrying to enter the market to take advantage of the current dissatisfaction of AllStar customers.
Georgia-based Fleetcor Technologies Inc. acquired UK-based AllStar Business Solutions Limited from the BNP Paribas-owned Arval Group in December of 2011, knowing that it would have to migrate Allstar’s 40,000 fuel card customers (comprising about a million cardholders) onto the Fleetcor technology platform.
Fleetcor itself maintains that many of the customers were migrated successfully, leaving only the larger, more complex relationships to be migrated in 2013. At roughly the same time, Fleetcor decided to implement a “network service fee,” which has further irritated AllStar customers.
According to a January report in Fleet News:
“AllStar fuel card customers are becoming increasingly frustrated with accessing online information and contacting call centre staff. Fleet managers have reported having to wait more than 30 minutes to have calls answered, while not being able to access information via the company’s website.”
The problems experienced (and the level of customer frustration as evidenced in the “comments” fields below the referenced news stories) shed light on the importance of the data stream that underlies the payment system in fuel cards. Facilitating the payment is the easy part of the process; fleet managers have come to rely heavily on the flow of operating data which has been interrupted in the system migration. Some of the “missing” data is not now being captured in fields that had been customized in various ways in the old system, and some is missing because it relies on data input to websites by drivers, who have reportedly been unable to consistently access the new system.
AllStar marketing director Jakes de Kock reports:
“For the majority of customers it’s been quite straightforward, especially for the SME market. But where we still have a problem is with the bespoke reporting of some of the larger customers. That is the last piece of the puzzle that our IT department has been working 24/7 to get right.”
Fleet News notes that at least three new market entrants with existing motor vehicle clientele (in insurance and prepaid parking, for example) are preparing to enter the market with competing solutions in the coming months. All will be hoping that the combined effects of AllStar’s new pricing component and its less-than-satisfactory IT support will provide an opening in what had been a relatively mature and stable market.