Key Technological Advancements Impacting Fuel Dealers in 2023

The global economy is experiencing dynamic changes leading to increasingly intricate operations within the energy industry. In response, fuel dealers are proactively investing in contemporary solutions to enhance customer service and fortify the sustainability of their businesses. The Cargas 2023 Tech Trends Benchmarking Report provides valuable insights into software and hardware investments that have proven to be highly influential for fuel dealers. By comparing this year’s data with insights gathered over the past four years, prominent trends have emerged, underscoring successful navigation strategies for fuel delivery companies in times of uncertainty.

Empowering Customers with Self-Service Tools

The energy industry continues to recover from the digital transformation that occurred in 2020. While in-person interactions have regained prominence, customers and fuel dealers have expressed satisfaction with virtual communication strategies.

E-commerce capabilities such as online bill payment, automatic payments, and budget plan enrollment provide customers with enhanced financial flexibility. Nearly 94% of fuel company respondents now accept credit cards or electronic payments, expanding the array of payment options available to customers.

Moreover, web portals enable customers to effortlessly place fuel delivery and service requests, manage accounts, and access various conveniences. Compared to 2022, the offerings of e-commerce tools for fuel delivery customers have increased. Third-party web portals and mobile apps have witnessed a surge in popularity, compensating for the reduction in self-service tools offered on company websites.

Streamlining Operations through Automation

Fuel delivery companies actively embrace new technologies amidst supply chain disruptions, industry regulations, and inflationary pressures that influence everyday business decisions. By enabling technology to handle labor-intensive tasks, today’s fuel dealers free up valuable time to foster robust customer relationships.

Tank monitoring technology is one of the most popular automation investments in recent years. In 2023, 70% of the surveyed respondents have deployed or increased investments in tank monitors, marking a significant uptick from the 56% reported in the previous year. Tank monitors serve various business objectives, including enhancing delivery efficiency, reducing runouts, boosting customer satisfaction, and providing more accurate usage and demand forecasts.

Real-time mobile technology plays a pivotal role in keeping fuel dealers connected with drivers on the road. Automated communication with customers and the back office ensures seamless coordination. Automatic route updates enable fuel dealers to remain agile in responding to fill and maintenance requests, while automated customer messages offer instant access to vital appointment information.

Embracing a Forward-Thinking Mindset

The most successful fuel dealers surveyed in 2023 exhibit a forward-thinking mindset even amidst significant uncertainty. While concerns over the economy, hiring and retention, and customer satisfaction persist, these fuel dealers strike a balance between making tough decisions and embracing the anticipation of what lies ahead.

It is evident that technology can enhance customer satisfaction, delivery efficiency, and forecasting capabilities, thereby offsetting the challenges posed by fluctuating prices and supply chain disruptions.

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By harnessing technology and embracing visual documentation, propane companies can effectively navigate the challenges of their industry. Prioritizing safety, efficiency, and continuous improvement will safeguard businesses and elevate the propane industry as a whole.

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