From fleet manager to customer relationship manager

08 Feb 2021

In the ever-changing world of fleet management, no two days are the same. In fact, the fleet manager role can itself differ wildly from company to company – and as we detailed recently, it’s changing all the time.

That diversity is one of the job’s greatest strengths, allowing fleet managers to develop a set of highly transferable skills that can help them climb the career ladder; even moving into other positions where their specialist fleet experience can prove invaluable.

Introducing Anthony

Anthony_Marcou

That’s certainly been the case for Anthony Marcou. In 2020 he joined us at SG Fleet as a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) following a successful stint at JLA, where he won Commercial Fleet Manager of the Year at the 2019 Commercial Fleet Awards.

“It’s a little bit embarrassing whenever people mention that actually!” grins Anthony. “Some people thrive on that attention. I get a little bit embarrassed by it. I just think ‘I’m just doing my job.’

“It was nice that somebody’s recognised I was doing a decent job though,” he continues. “I was proud that the fleet got recognised. And on a personal level, after the hard work I put in, in recent years over different fleets…honestly, it was just great to get it.”

Humble beginnings

It’s been a long and interesting journey so far for Anthony, who grew up in Yorkshire and speaks with the region’s distinctive accent.

Skipping university and going straight into work at 16, he started off in an apprenticeship role for Yorkshire Electricity. Made redundant in his early twenties, he caught the travel bug and spent a year backpacking before returning to the utilities industry at Npower. It was there he got his first taste of fleet work.

“I wouldn’t claim to be a mechanic, but I was always interested in how things worked, how they were put together,” says Anthony. “So, I enjoyed looking at cars, vans and trucks and looking at what they were carrying; where they were going to. In my first job at Npower, I started asking a lot more questions and realised there was this whole great big industry out there that looked after those logistics. And from all different angles, whether it was a fleet supplier or a manufacturer, or generally a company that’s got its own fleet.

“Then a contract manager position came up at Npower, which I was fortunate to get. I quickly moved onto managing the supplier relationships and the fleet – I think we had something like 1,500 vehicles – and learned all the aspects of it. That’s kind of brought me to where I am today.”

Anthony’s fleet management tips

Asked for his top tips from his time in fleet management, Anthony’s top priority is immediately apparent.

“Safety has always been number one on the list of things that are important to me,” he says. “I even wrote about that on LinkedIn recently,”

“For me, that means looking after driving wellbeing, making sure their vehicles are compliant and safe. But it’s also looking at the journey itself. Do we need to make the journey in the first place? Can we reduce the amount of traffic on the roads to reduce the risk? Are there other alternatives?

“When I worked as a fleet manager, I put things in place to profile driver risk using data. There’s lots of it available through telematics compliance metrics, and it’s just putting it all together really. It helped us determine who were our high, medium and low-risk drivers so we could focus our efforts on the high-risk ones to provide support and driver training along the way.

“I’ve done roles on the road myself and I’ve been that person who’s in the vehicle. I can relate back to that. I’ve also managed people, and being at lots of different levels in the fleet business has given me a good insight. I can appreciate it from a driver’s perspective, as a manager, and as a fleet manager. That’s probably why I see safety as so important”

And what of the other sides of the fleet manager role?

“In terms of commercial and operational elements, it’s important to look at how much you’ve spent on vehicles, fuel, maintenance – that kind of thing. Some of the strategies that I was working on were recognised by the industry, like looking at leasing lengths and how we managed costs. I think that’s a big part of the role as well.

“I think another important one which I know we’ve highlighted recently at SG Fleet is around sustainability. What’s the strategy around moving away from petrol and diesel vehicles and transitioning towards alternative fuels such as electric vehicles, hybrid, and even hydrogen in some cases?

“At JLA I put together a roadmap from where the business was to where it needed to be to transition the fleet and reduce the carbon emissions,” he says before breaking out into a grin. “For me, that didn’t just come from my job – it came from me, in my spare time, watching David Attenborough and getting switched on to reducing the amount of plastics and carbon emissions. I’m one of those people now. I even make sure my plastics are all separated! Just making sure I’m doing my bit really. I think if we all do we can make the world a better place – though I don’t want to sound cheesy saying that!”

The move to CRM

Clearly still passionate about all things fleet, the move into customer relationship management was something Anthony considered carefully.

“I thought, ‘maybe I need a different challenge now.’ As a fleet manager, sometimes you can be quite isolated. Not a lot of companies have big fleet teams; it’s just generally one person managing the whole fleet. I loved the role, and I’m still really passionate about fleet. But in recent years I started to like the idea of working for a fleet supplier, where everybody’s talking about fleet every day and at every level.

“It was just a case of waiting for the right opportunity. And then this one at SG Fleet came along, and everything went in the right direction!”

Asked how his past fleet experience helps in his new role as a CRM, Anthony’s enthusiasm is palpable.

“So, a CRM looks after a number of customers with varying fleet sizes, who all take various products” Anthony explains. “In terms of transferable skills…. when I was a fleet manager I got quite heavily involved in networking, fleet forums and roundtables, and I also set up my own group on LinkedIn to talk to other fleet managers and understand their thoughts. I think that’s something I’d like to get involved with in the CRM role moving forward.”

He continues: “When we’re able to bring people together in person, certainly the customers I manage, I’d love to get a sense check of where they’re at; what they’re thinking; what’s on their agenda. For me, it’s about supporting fleet managers how I’d want to be supported in my previous roles. Knowing how things work on the other side, I feel I can give a lot of value in that respect, as well as helping SG Fleet to develop and provide that kind of services to its customers.”

So what has he learned so far?

“One of the things I’ve quickly realised in this role is that not every company has a fleet manager. I might be talking to somebody in procurement or a finance contact, or it might be HR. In a lot of cases, fleet is tagged on to another role.

“The feedback I’m getting so far is that those customers welcome talking to someone with a background in fleet, who knows the policies and what should be on the agenda. Then regardless of what services they’re taking from us, for me it’s a case of ‘what can we do to support you?’ Especially if fleet is not their day-to-day, it might be that we can explore that and support them in ways that can free up their time for other parts of their role.

“There are a lot of transferable skills between the fleet manager and CRM roles. Especially in terms of knowing what a fleet business needs. A lot of my role is managing customer expectations, and just making sure that they’re satisfied, and the fleet runs so that their business can run more efficiently. I listen to the customer, and deliver on their services, and take ownership of their queries, using my experience to act as that link between our business and theirs. I think that works really well and our customers appreciate it.”

Looking ahead

As our chat comes to a close, Anthony’s thoughts turn to the future.

“I’m looking forward to being able to meet customers in person again – if that actually happens this year!” he says, laughing.

“I’m also excited to get into more detail with my customers, and about supporting SG Fleet on the wider journey here, which will mean getting involved with user groups internally. I’m looking forward to helping more fleets transition to more efficient vehicles, too.

“And I guess from a business perspective, the thing I’m really looking forward to most is just making people more aware about what SG Fleet can do, and all the ways we can help their fleet. We’ve got the right people in place here to do great things, and I’m really excited to be part of that journey.”

How can we help you?

If you need help with any aspect of your fleet, please get in touch. Call us on or 0844 854 5100, or email Chris Salmon at CSalmon@sgfleet.com. If you’d like to contact Anthony directly, he’s at amarcou@sgfleet.com.