– By Marc Sibbald –
The roadside assistance game has changed dramatically since the early days of motoring clubs. In days gone by, the ability to perform a temporary repair at the roadside was considered a highly valuable skill on a fleet vehicle or novated lease.
These days there are multiple players such as Digicall Assist who is using multi-lingual apps to help customers get back driving quickly.
According to Michael Curtin, CEO at Digicall Assist, they noticed a change in the number of bi-lingual customers calling their call centre. Working with luxury brands like Maserati (a business partner for twenty years), Digicall Assist is always focusing on the needs of their customers and developing solutions to improve service levels.
“Maserati is a luxury brand that has a diverse range of customers”, says Curtin. “As their sales have increased in recent years we noticed a change in their customer base and wanted to make it easier for drivers with limited English”.
There’s no doubt fleet vehicles are more reliable in 2019 so the type of calls for roadside assistance have changed. And drivers, as consumers, now expect a higher level of customer service, and more service. No one wants to, or knows how to, change tyre anymore. Parts are now replaceable, and cheaper, so temporary repairs aren’t necessary.
This is one area where technology takes over. Using an app, Digicall Assist uses photos taken by drivers at the scene to diagnose problems easily. They can then decide on the fastest, and most convenient way, to get them back on the road.
“We handle thousands of calls each month in our Sydney head office and 80% are answered within 20 seconds” states Curtin. “Currently one third of vehicles are mobilised over the phone, another third require a roadside responder, and the the last third need to be towed to a repairer”.
“The important part is to be clear on what you can and can’t fix at the roadside”, says Curtin. “Photos help the Call Centre understand the issue and provide the right information to the roadside responder.”
In the future, technology will allow Digicall Assist to mobilise vehicles without sending anyone out to the customer. Before that happens they need to ensure they maintain good a base of technical knowledge in their staff and 1,200 independent business partners that provide the service.
If you do breakdown, try to avoid a Monday because that’s the busiest day. Other peak times are school holidays and long weekends after vehicles have been idle for several days.