For 60 years, LeasePlan’s core business has provided fleet- and vehicle-management services to both businesses and individuals. LeasePlan supports its customers by managing all aspects of their fleet – including funding, maintenance, tires, documentation, and taxation – to ensure the fleet supports positive business outcomes.
LeasePlan is adopting global automation and digitalisation in an industry once defined by localised relationships and manual processes. The company initially prioritised quoting, pricing, and invoicing processes over automated service delivery. Agents had to rely on phone calls and shared email inboxes to meet customer needs.
To improve its underlying process for excellent customer care, LeasePlan needed a scalable way for its teams to pay suppliers. Creating virtual cards would not only make LeasePlan’s payment process more efficient, but would allow the customer care team to focus on creating the best possible customer experience.
“My daily challenge is: does that activity directly answer a customer’s question or benefit them, or is it a back-office function?’ If it’s a back-office function, why are we doing it manually? And how do we stop?” says Alfie Ayling, head of customer care and personal leasing at LeasePlan. “Being able to make payments proactively to our partners with Stripe’s Issuing solution, instead of waiting to be invoiced, means we’re totally in control.”
Tackling this together with Stripe opened up a world of possibilities – not just for LeasePlan’s overall business, but for its entire customer base.
LeasePlan’s previous payment processor for certain suppliers was labour intensive and carried some risk. The company processed large transaction volumes that needed to be prepaid and manually reconciled, leaving money in suppliers’ hands and trusting them to self-bill. LeasePlan also reconciled these payments in batches, risking service-delivery delays for customers. But since implementing Issuing in November 2022, LeasePlan can automate both making and processing these individual payments to suppliers. The customisable card issuing platform allows LeasePlan to manage spending in real time.
LeasePlan now also benefits from greater transparency as a business, with a view of each individual transaction. Stripe’s intuitive dashboard allows LeasePlan’s team the flexibility and security they need to have total control of the Issuing solution.
Since working with Stripe, LeasePlan has handled thousands of monthly transactions with zero interruption to service. And while the volume of transactions hasn’t changed, the company can now grow its fleet without fear of underpromising on customer experience.
Harnessing automation to empower a human-centric service model
With older fleets that require more maintenance and repairs, LeasePlan handles higher costs per vehicle than it did three years ago – and higher call volume, too. “No matter how much you automate your processes, as humans, we still want to interact with someone and feel there’s somebody who cares about us as a customer, who takes the time to understand what we need and deliver it,” says Ayling.
Instead of conducting manual processes, LeasePlan now works with a series of ongoing payments, forecasting the volume and velocity of those payments and estimating the balance it needs in its Stripe account to keep everything running smoothly. LeasePlan’s programmatic back-office system then uses Stripe’s API to check that the balance is sufficient before the transaction happens, retrieve issued card details to use for the transaction, make the transaction, and record the approval details in LeasePlan’s internal system.
LeasePlan can seamlessly integrate Stripe Issuing with its own applications, platforms, and workflows, without needing extensive development or complex infrastructure changes. This combination of human intervention and automation improves LeasePlan’s service delivery and increases team members’ time available for customer care.
Before integrating Stripe, LeasePlan completed some of its time-sensitive processes just before they were due, without much buffer time. These tight timelines also increased inbound calls to the customer care team, as customers requested progress updates. “Now, we’re delivering up to 3.5 weeks before customers’ deadlines, decreasing inbound calls, and improving the customer experience overall,” says Ayling. “LeasePlan’s only interaction with Stripe is to ensure that our monthly balance is sufficient – a process that was once a full-time job. Automating it is saving us €35K–€40K a year.”
Pushing the boundaries of digitalisation, while reducing risk
Since anyone in the business can initiate the automated processes now in place, LeasePlan’s team has plenty of time for customer deliveries and can mitigate risk more effectively.
Working with Stripe has prepared LeasePlan for future growth by strengthening these core administrative processes and making them less vulnerable to human error. For example, LeasePlan’s reconciliation process once required hours of manual work. But now, the business reconciles once a month. The automation process runs in the background, retrieves card details, makes payments, and then passes all completion references to the right places. By pushing the boundaries of digitalisation with Stripe, LeasePlan not only carries its industry and customers into the future – it’s also shaping it.
Now, we’re delivering up to 3.5 weeks before customers’ deadlines, decreasing inbound calls, and improving the customer experience overall. LeasePlan’s only interaction with Stripe is to ensure that our monthly balance is sufficient – a process that was once a full-time job. Automating it is saving us €35K–€40K a year.