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Customer Stories

How a Houston-based solar company boosted employee morale using Coast

After constant frustration with their fuel card vendor’s outdated processes, Texas Solar Outfitters switched to Coast’s real-time system, and enjoyed improved service, too.

For over 12 years, Texas Solar Outfitters has been providing solar installations for residential and commercial customers.  They are the oldest solar installation company in the Houston area.

The Challenge

Texas Solar Outfitter’s owner, Stewart Masterson, describes his experience with his previous fuel card service as a nightmare. The company used a legacy system that did not refresh when payments were made. When their account reached its preset limit, the company’s solar installers were unable to refuel, even once the balance had been paid in full. The same thing would happen every couple of weeks, leaving his active fleet stranded and frustrated. It was more than an inconvenience: it meant employees could not get to job sites, the flow of business was interrupted, and employees got the impression that Stewart wasn’t paying his bills.

Making matters even worse was the lack of response that Stewart got when he called. “I would spend a couple of hours every week on the phone with the other company, trying to get them to fix their system. They would promise that they would do it, that they would increase the availability on our account so that we wouldn’t run into this so often. But they were really non-responsive. Other than just talking to you on the telephone, they never corrected the problems.”

The Solution

Texas Solar Outfitters switched to Coast and their previous problems were resolved immediately. The company’s platform works in real-time, logging transactions immediately so that as soon as a payment is made the account registers as current.  Stewart also appreciates how dynamic and intuitive the system is. “It’s set up so that it’s easy for you to go in and follow a logical path in how you enter information and can make changes. You can put vehicles in. You can put personnel in. You can put limitations on those accounts, and it’s easy to come back in and make changes.”

While the technical improvement was the goal, Stewart says the attitude of Coast’s personnel is even more important. “They have been there to help solve problems. I truly appreciate the efforts they’ve made on our part. They’ve made us more effective as a company and they’ve made it a much better relationship with all of our employees in terms of making sure that they have the fuel to get to where they need to go.”

Intuitive, Real-Time System

Stewart’s previous company lacked both the technical ability to quickly reflect his payments and a willingness to help. “When you got over that credit limit, you were basically cut off for the rest of the month, even if I called and made a payment to clear the balance to zero. Even more frustrating was their lack of cooperation.” Coast offered an entirely different experience.

“From the very beginning, it’s worked very well. The thing that’s really nice about their system is that it is basically real-time. It registers transactions, it accounts for them, it receives payments and keeps the account current so that you don’t have an issue. And the system itself is very intuitive. It’s very friendly. It’s all easy to do from your computer screen. I set it up, and I’m not the tech person in the company. If I was able to set it up and make it work properly, then I would say just about anybody could.”

Responsive Customer Service

Perhaps most important of all to Stewart was the marked improvement in response to his questions and needs. “It has always been good. When we do run into it an issue, I can call them on the phone and we resolve the issue and everything is quickly back to normal and working the way it needs to. Even if it’s something as simple as trying to get a gas card to work correctly, they are very responsive and helpful on the phone. They call back later to make sure that we are happy with the results, so I feel like we are important to Coast.”

“I think one of the greatest moments for me was when we got up over our credit limit, they were quick to help me get the account back down so that we didn’t have problems with people in the field. I can’t express to you how important that is to a business owner, to not have a situation where his employees are stuck. That’s a huge morale issue for your employees. I’ve been very happy with Coast. I would recommend them to anybody and have already done so to some business owners that I know.”

Coast’s intuitive, flexible system and responsive team have made Stewart’s company operate more efficiently, reduced stress for him and his drivers, and have made a positive impact on both operations and morale.