Interviews

The company driving the growth of the salary car sacrifice sector through emphasis on staff training

7 min read

16 December 2015

After having won the 2015 Growing Business Awards for large company of the year, we asked CEO David Hosking about his future growth plans for private equity-owned Tusker.

There’s a big difference between marketing to your customers and educating them. A lot of bosses believe they’re educating consumers because they’re elaborating on the features of their products. Take for example Google Plus, whereupon its launch the company implied it was inventing the concept of social sharing as if Facebook didn’t exist. This only served to confuse consumers. As Henry Blodget said in a blog post, the language Google used was “bizarrely out of touch.”

Other companies, such as Apple, fared better. When the tech giant launched the iPad it became an immediate success not because its customers wanted a collection of nifty tech gadgets, but because Apple had introducing its features and ideas one by one. This enabled its customers to not only understand the iPad, but to see a need for it.

The same could be said of salary sacrifice car scheme specialist Tusker. Having been founded in 2000 as an online supplier of vehicle leasing services, it later launched its salary sacrifice for cars scheme – which helped the company create a new segment within the contract hire industry, and aptly poised it as market leader.

“When we launched the salary sacrifice car product back in 2008, we had to educate the market as much as sell the concept,” Hosking said. “This meant that it took a while to gain traction, but we’re not having to do that anymore. The growth of the company is now easily forecastable as employers typically sign up for three year tenures.”

In an interview with Fleet News, he explained that in 2013 the company launched new salary sacrifice schemes to around 60,000 eligible employees. In 2014, that number increased to over 135,000. So far in 2015 the number has already exceeded 175,000. 

And according to Hosking, the firm is on track to see further significant increases – now generating revenues in excess of £120m. He said: “This is a growing marketplace and those numbers do nothing but confirm that.”

Undoubtedly, the company has managed to stay ahead of the curve through a variety of growth strategies. This included gaining further investment from private equity group ECI Partners to support its “continued rapid growth”, as well as its continued focus on salary sacrifice car schemes in order to grow its risk fleet to 26,000 by 2017.

Tusker was also quick to offer electric cars through its salary sacrifice schemes, and has already launched a series of initiatives to educate employees about the benefits of electric cars.

However, at the forefront of Tusker’s success lies its ethos of “going the extra mile” for customers. 

“It’s much better to have advocates than detractors,” he said. “We have a very inclusive culture, so everybody in the business knows what’s going on. It’s all about doing the right thing, getting the job done and having a can-do attitude; it’s not something we pay lip service to. This is something that’s indoctrinated into people as part of the induction process and throughout their careers with us.”

It takes its customer service so seriously that it came up with a method that would lure employees into learning more about the company as a whole – such as the various departments and the products and services being sold. 

Gamification is used to improve employee engagement, performance, training and education and personal development. Nike built the Nike+ platform to engage fitness enthusiasts to take their workouts to the next level, Khan Academy uses gamification to enhance the learning experience for students and Quirky uses it to crowdsource ideas from inventors for product development. These bright spots in gamification are both inspirational and instructional.

Tusker took this trend further by creating a learning management platform whereby people could transform from a rookie, to a side kick, to a hero and then to a super hero – literally.

Via its in-house academy, entitled Tuskerville, a caricatured version of an employee earns experience points and achievements by learning more about the company and its processes. The further up the leader board you climb, the closer you get to becoming a Tusker super hero which ultimately dictates your future salary potential.

Through this method, Tusker has ensured that no matter what question is asked of an employee, no matter the department they hail from, they’ll be able to give a quick and efficient answer – hence further increasing its customer service.

Its commitment to customer service is only matched by its commitment to the environment. According to Tusker, average CO2 emissions for every car on a salary sacrifice scheme have improved from 151g/km in 2008 to 101g/km today, so the environmental benefits for companies by way of helping staff drive newer, cleaner cars instead of older, more polluting ones, are obvious. It also runs a few projects of its own. Take, for example, its “Green Project”, which is an ongoing commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

One such commitment is for Tusker’s customers to have only carbon neutral cars on the road by October 2016 through the use of carbon offsetting, paid for by Tusker, for every new car added to Tusker’s Salary Sacrifice fleet – which was one of the key features the judges of the 2015 Growing Business Awards found so appealing. 

Upon winning the award, Hosking said: “The things that we pride ourselves on: customer service, people management and our impact on the environment, were exactly what the judges were looking for so it’s satisfying to hear they feel we do these things exceptionally well.”