Scania Financial Services (SFS) has a dedicated organisation providing help and assistance to our bus and coach customers. In this head-to-head interview, team members Nick Clarke and Greg Randall tell us about themselves, what they do and how they do it.
What are your backgrounds?
Nick: Both Greg and I are seasoned transport industry finance professionals with more than 20 years of Scania experience between us. Today, I work 'front of house' for SFS as a Relationship Manager, whilst Greg provides support as our Internal Account Manager. We both have financial backgrounds and have experience of arranging finance solutions within the bus and coach industry.
What do your roles entail?
Nick: Put simply, my role is about listening to our customers, understanding their needs and making the purchase of Scania product affordable and cost-effective for them.
Greg: We also collaborate with Scania (Great Britain) Limited's Worksop-based bus and coach sales team. By working together, we look to create and environment which effectively presents Scania sales and finance as seamless as possible, thereby simplifying the customer’s ordering procedure and improving their experience, to increase the possibility of them ordering again.
How does that work in practice?
Nick: In normal times we work as a team. You will see us on joint visits, with members of the vehicle sales teams, to operators providing a ‘one stop shop’ solution. Scania GB and SFS each have different strengths and working together, especially, on joint visits, really improves the whole vehicle purchasing process experience. We're big believers in face-to-face meetings and feel that these enable us to really understand our customer’s needs and add value to both parties.
What makes your offer especially attractive to bus and coach operators - why would you choose SFS in favour of a third party finance house?
Nick: It has to be our flexibility and ability to offer an ‘outside the box’ solution. In addition to our regular funding products, we use our industry knowledge and understanding of our customers’ challenges, to develop specific financial proposals, limited only by our imagination. This enables us to provide a service, other finance providers choose not to, or aren’t able, to provide.
Does being part of the Scania world give you an edge?
Greg: Yes, absolutely. Not only do we have a premium and diverse product offering, there is also a phenomenal team of people, with a broad range of skills and experience supporting us.
Nick: That's right. When I joined Scania one of the first things I noticed, was the drive and strength of the team. As well as their genuine interest in helping our customers, the business is totally focused on putting the customer first. This is a great combination and adds real value to our service.
Are you doing anything now that you weren't pre-Covid?
Nick: It has always been vital to listen to and understand customers. The pandemic has only made it clearer that we should invest the time to really understand our customers’ plans and challenges. So, to answer the question, I would say we've become even better at listening and understanding. This has enabled us to think differently and develop individual solutions, which have helped our customers ride out the pandemic
SFS have been approved for the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS). What does this mean for you and your customers?
Nick: Clearly the bus and coach industry is still facing challenging times. The benefit of RLS is that it enables operators to continue investing in their fleets, to meet their purchasing requirements, by giving some comfort to the funder. In practice, the RLS might influence how we structure a deal, to better suit the operator's cashflow, thereby making vehicles more affordable, as we emerge from the pandemic,
How do you see the future, as Scania continues to drive the shift towards more sustainable transport solutions?
Nick: It’s early days at the moment, but be rest assured, that as our vehicle range evolves, we will continue to develop our products and service, in order to be able to propose funding solutions that support our customers.