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Further to my earlier post How effective customer segmentation in car rental can create a positive buying experience, I intend to discuss the top three strategies that can enhance customer engagement in car rental services.

Customer engagement is one of the most critical phases of a user’s journey, as this is where prospective customers turn into buying customers. The efficiency with which an organisation achieves this conversion, directly impacts both the top line and bottom line of an organization.

Let’s look at what car rental providers can do differently to encourage customer engagement in car rental thereby winning more business.

Superior Omni channel experience in car rental

According to Mindtree’s 2016 Global Survey on online consumers, 86% of customers today are willing to pay extra for a superior and seamless customer experience on all contact channels of an organisation. Hence, it is critical for car rental providers to plan an omni channel strategy to engage a customer. But merely having an omni channel presence will not guarantee success. The offerings at various channels should also be as per the customer’s ‘Job to be done’. For example, during the Consideration and Evaluation phase in car rental, customers are primarily on digital channels where they are usually searching for information whereas Purchase phase is a combination of online and offline (rental stations) where the actual transaction takes place.

The Consideration and Evaluation phase requires a mobile-first omni channel strategy which delivers a seamless experience at every touchpoint, using the right mix of online and offline services. Mobile systems can elevate the customer experience in car rental by integrating indoor technologies, payment systems, augmented reality and digital interactive media. Compared to traditional channels, mobile channels are much more effective in collecting useful and actionable customer data, such as their location and interactions on social media. This enables customers to book rentals on- the- go, gain access to location-specific information, utilise convenient checkout/check-in, and receive notifications from wherever they may be. Add to that, the real-time customer service support in terms of Chatbots and the entire experience goes up a few notches. Considering 63% of online consumers are likely to come back to a site offering live chat, this can be a very handy feature for engagement.

Personalised engagement in car rental

With the advent of location detection technologies, car rental providers can now- detect customer’s location and send him promotions/deals which offer next-generation car rental experience. Wearable devices like smart watches can be viewed as a seamless way to communicate location-based and real-time information. Not surprising, that there is a rise in the adoption of such devices especially among Business travellers. Travelers with wearable devices can receive alerts and notifications of events occurring during a trip. According to customer surveys, navigation information and location-specific personalized offers are the most preferred. Recent data based on Mindtree’s 2016 Global Survey on online consumers also shows that 74% of the customers will buy more products/services if they are based on personalised promotions. This is a key area that car rental providers can tap into.

Value added services in car rental

To drive customers from third party sites to their own channel, car rental providers must offer value added features. These include:

  • Capture and display customer reviews and ratings. These act as a credible source of information to other prospective customers as well as drive demand-based pricing
  • Dynamic price match to ensure customers get the best deal/pricing at any given point in time.

If car rental providers master these steps in customer engagement, they are well on their way to creating a truly delightful customer experience in car rental services. However, the job is only half done as most of the customer pain areas occur in the first and last stages of the car rental process – pre and post rental phases.

In my last blog on this topic, I will look at how to address the pain areas in both these phases to ensure a Delighted Customer experience in car rental. Stay tuned…

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About the Author

Anirban Mukherjee
Senior Consultant, Digital Services

Anirban Mukherjee is a Senior Consultant at Digital Business and Consulting Group in Europe. He’s an old Mindtree hand with over 10 years experience in IT and Business Consulting. He has handled customers globally at client locations across four continents. He has on-the ground country experience of working in India, USA and Continental Europe with clients from CPG, Manufacturing, Travel and Transport verticals. His expertise is in Digital, Marketing, Branding, Strategic Consulting, Account and Program Management.

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