Interviews
13 Oct 17

Erik Swerts, Alphabet Belgium: “Offering a solution for every type of mobility issue”

Erik Swerts was appointed CEO of Alphabet Belgium and Luxemburg on 1 September. The company manages a fleet of around 50,000 vehicles and is a leading player in the business mobility space. 
 
1. What are Alphabet’s objectives for 2018 ?
“Alphabet has a strategy that consists of two pillars. On the one hand, there is the traditional long term operational leasing  which will remain important as a mobility means. However, the main distinguishing factor between us and our competitors  will be the service towards our customers and drivers. We will therefore fully be focused on the continuous development of our operational excellence and the creation of an Alphabet “experience. Alphabet wants to be the mobility provider that offers more than a competitive pricing, emphasizing the quality and professionalism of our support and services. We want to be the number one in customer service.”
“Next to the classical leasing solution, it is our conviction that our second pillar, our products combining different mobility options and new mobility solutions, will gain interest and represent a gradually growing part of our business. In recent times, Alphabet has launched a number of new mobility products, such as AlphaCity, AlphaElectric, AlphaFlex and the AlphaGuide app. Those are full-fledged products that present real solutions for the new mobility issues our clients face. They are more than a way of communication and marketing. We really believe and invest in them. 2018 will be a year to harvest on these efforts, convincing a larger group of customers to use these solutions, after the early adopters we already serve today. We realize that, for many companies, the threshold to make the transition to the new era of mobility is rather high. Fleet managers , general management and the company’s staff need to be on the same page in order for new mobility solutions to become a reality. We believe the time for that change is near and Alphabet is ready for it.” 
 
2. Alphabet just launched B2E, a leasing product aimed at the employees of your corporate customers. How does that fit in your strategy?
“First of all, employees are the most important asset to many companies. Their impact on the company’s (mobility) strategy has increased. More than ever, they have their say and influence the management’s decisions. Alphabet decided not to stand aside and see things change, but to be part of that change. So we created B2E. A leasing-offer especially developed for those employees. The timing is right, since proposals such as “cash for car” could change today’s customs related to (company) cars.”
“The people of today see things differently. While in the past, the ownership of a car mattered to private persons, we see a shift - lead by the younger generations - into using instead of owning a car. Therefore we launched B2E.  Unlike some of our competitors, we decided to offer private lease to a targeted customerbase. That way, we offer our customers an extra benefit to propose to their personnel. Our contracts are directly with the employees, facilitated through the employer.”
 
3. What is your view on the Belgian government’s Cash for Car / Mobility Allowance?
"We see cash for car as a missed opportunity, since it does not provide a solution for a more sustainable type of mobility. That is a pity. Moreover, it does not help employers in their search for more adequate alternative mobility solutions, nor does it stimulate employees to use other means of transport.Today already, Alphabet offers products, like AlphaFlex, which allow a different use of mobility means by combining different types of transport in one solution."
 
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Authored by: Stijn Blanckaert