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Author: Anirban Mukherjee | 01/30/18

Car Rental: Excelling at Customer Service and Loyalty

While the car rental business has been growing steadily YoY (it is expected to grow at 15% CAGR till 2019 and beyond), the experience of customers during the rental and post rental phase has remained the same. The Retail industry has raised the bar in this space significantly and customers are expecting similar experiences in other services as well. Considering the importance of this in the entire customer lifecycle in terms of satisfaction scores (NPS surveys) and repeat business - this is high time that car rental providers look at improving their services.

Let us look at some of the measures that can help improve the customer service experience:

Automation

Automating the checkout and return processes reduces customer wait times, enhances the customer experience and boosts bottom-line performance. Further, by adopting a mobile first approach, the major hurdles encountered by a customer, can easily be removed.

Car Rental Operations - Automating the checkouts

For e.g.: Once the customer has reached the destination airport from where he needs to pick up his car, up-sell and cross-sell offers (which can be sent to him through mobile push notifications); he can choose the car on the go, based on availability and this would allow the rental provider to keep his car ready with all accessories opted for. The contract can also be signed automatically, and the customer is ready to get going the moment he has reached the rental station – without having to wait in the queue or endure a gruelling sales pitch! In fact, in the connected car ecosystem, a car need not go to the rental station and can directly head to the parking lot where his car is parked. The Beason technologies can guide him to the car and then the car is unlocked with a QR code. No more queueing or having to tolerate a sales pitch!

Similarly, car return, and damage inspection can be performed by beacons and advanced video technologies which are then reviewed by the rental provider, followed by sending the invoice via email to the customer. The concept of self-checkout has been widely adopted in Retail and it is time for car rental providers to embrace it.

Connected Experience with Pro-active Support

Everyone likes to have an assurance of immediate help & support, and trust service providers who can speak from a position of authority. In the car rental industry, providing immediate support through instant customer service (chat bots), sending proactive notification of a faulty situation with the car (sensor technology and telematics), offering real time support (alert roadside assistance or the service centre) are some of the measures that can create real customer delight

Loyalty and Advocacy

Based on the rental data collected, the rental providers can easily identify their super customers (customer segmentation analysis) and look to reward them by running personalised campaigns & incentivised bookings, and by upgrading offers around the year. This helps in creating a great customer base who act as the brand ambassadors for the car rental provider and continue to remain loyal. Upon using the partner networks and blockchain enabled technology, the car rental providers can allow their customers to redeem the loyalty points with multiple partners. Stats reveal that 80% of a company’s future revenue would come from 20% of existing customers; thus proving that retention and loyalty plays a pivotal role

Looking Ahead

The car rental industry is at the cusp of major transformation/disruption with customers looking for seamless experience and 'app-store speed' service. And the survival of the car rental providers will solely depend on how fast they can identify and respond to changing demand amid an increasingly competitive and evolving environment. Entry barriers have been significantly lowered (e.g. Uber, Lyft ), newer business models have evolved (Easy Cars, Zip Car, Silver car) and customers have plenty of alternatives to choose from. It is time to elevate the business propositions, provide improvised and pro-active engagement and invest in over the horizon approaches with the right partner to stay relevant. However, the entire strategy needs to be centred around one unrelenting theme - ‘Customer Centricity'.

Please write to us at info@mindtree.com, to schedule a meeting with our experts who can discuss further strategies for your car rental company.

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