I’ve had some recent experiences with http://getaround.com that has led me to this blog post.
First off, why do I use it? It’s much cheaper than Zipcar and I tend to see a pretty good list of options.
Second, what happened that led me to write this post? I had reserved a car through their online system. The website is totally fine and seems to work great. However, one oddity I had with the iPhone app is that when I filtered pricing by day (instead of hour or week), it would only show the hourly rates. Odd of course so I just used the website which worked fine. So, I booked my car and when I went to pick it up, it wasn’t there. I then proceeded to call support and they told me it was somewhere else. That somewhere else wasn’t close enough and ultimately, the car wasn’t available to me. So this was complicated as I needed a bus to get around and while I was finding the bus I worked with support to get a new car. They did find a new car and booked it for me. It was more expensive but she did give me the same rate I had on the first rental. However, when I arrived at the location, it wasn’t there as well. Furthermore, I couldn’t remotely unlock or lock the car because support had given me a rental time that had not yet started. Thus, I couldn’t unlock the car. I called the owner via the app, and no one picked up and I couldn’t leave a voicemail. I called support and no one answered as well, so I had to leave a voicemail. I then decided to leave and oddly enough, I decided to search one last time for a car in their app. I found one and booked it. Guess what, it wasn’t at the spot it said it was. I did roam around while talking to support and finally found the car. Now I am using the car and have not had any issues with it. 3 rentals in one night and none were easy. So what can they do?
#1 Have the exact address of the car. So important. You cannot just say in the app that the car is possibly around 2 blocks within the X location. If you cannot find it, call support (and guess what, you may not even talk to someone). Always have the exact address available. How can you get the address? Well the last driver should notify Getaround the exact location at the end of their rental.
#2 Never have someone call your support and get voicemail. I hate it. Just don’t have it. Someone should always answer the phone or at least say, you are on hold and you have X number of clients in front of you.
#3 When finding instant cars, you should have a way to honk the car. That easily helps you find the car then just searching blindly. This will help towards #1 when people cannot find the car.
#4 Notify the client or Getaround if lights are left on. I got notified the other day that I may have left lights on and I may be responsible for jumpstarting a dead battery. Yes, one should remember to turn off lights, but in 2013, we are used to cars with automatic lights and some of the Getaround cars do not have them. You are already remotely connecting to the car to the locks, then I think you should figure out a way to see if lights are left on.
#5 Enhance your phone infrastructure. I would like to know internally how you guys built out your call center and how you setup the phone numbers for the vehicle owners. You could easily implement www.twilio.com services for your call center, but furthermore, you could setup virtual numbers for all of your Getaround vehicle owners. Why is that helpful? Well for example, when I called a number I got voicemail box full, again frustrating. But you can manage that through the twilio service so that you never ever get voicemailbox full. This is extremely important because this will enhance the customer experience. Furthermore, if the client text messages the owner of the vehicle, Getaround support could also receive a notification, text, update (however you want it) which keeps Support informed that the renter is contacting the owner. In fact, a call or text by the renter to the owner can be notified to the Getaround Support. Do you do this already?