How data can improve profits and C-Sat for the car rental business

Oh No! It’s 6 pm and I haven’t booked a cab yet; Bob called a cab operator and his booking was declined.  While the fleet operator is muddled up as how to meet the fluctuating demand. All this fuss lead to loss of revenue and affected customer brand loyalty of the fleet operator.

The trouble with cabs

Earlier fleet management used to be a static process, companies were largely in the dark as to the location of their vehicles and mostly depended on the data which is manually entered by the vehicle operator.  Now with the advancement in technology, vehicles are fitted with GPS navigation system and integrated vehicle telematics- to capture and transmit data about the location and status of the vehicle in real time.  In addition to the navigation data; car rental companies have access to their customers’ call centre data. Successfully harnessing the data and implementing analytics can help companies solve the perennial issue of demand supply mismatch.

There are two major areas where Analytics can make an impact and help decision makers:

1. Optimum On-road Fleet availability every time

Maintaining maximum fleet on the road at the service of the customers is also a challenging task. These days companies use real time data and they track the vehicle location using Geo location and the nearest located vehicle is allotted. But sometimes there is no vehicle there in that area and companies fail to serve the customer. To avoid this, companies can forecast, based on:

  • Demand patterns at different locations
  • Demand pattern on different days of the week (Weekday or weekend)
  • Demand pattern on different time slot in a day (Peak and off peak)
  • Demand pattern(High, Medium, Low) of the type of vehicle ( Luxury, Comfort , Budget)

different areas on different days of the week and at different time slots can serve maximum number of customers. Accordingly, they can plan and deploy the vehicles in those areas and can also determine number of vehicles to be sent for maintenance. This will reduce the idle time of vehicles and increase the paid miles.

Fleet vehicle utilization diagram by day and night

Vehicle utilization by region and type - diagram2

Key Insights from Data:

Manage fleet maintenance effectively

A significant driver of profitability for the company is how long they are on ground serving customers. Optimal scheduling of maintenance work helps:

  • Improve revenue
  • Reduced long-term maintenance costs
  • Increased availability of taxis on ground for effective customer service

 

For that various analytics solutions can be offered:

  • Predicting maintenance instance – If the preventive and corrective maintenance are not predicted and scheduled then it may happen that on a given day the full capacity of the workshop may not be utilized (no or few vehicles for servicing) and on other days more vehicles than the capacity of workshop reach for maintenance. If more number of vehicles reach the workshop on a given day, then on that day there will be fewer vehicles on the road causing a huge loss of opportunities.
  • Preventive maintenance schedule – A data driven preventive maintenance schedule can be built that maximizes taxi availability on the road and streamlines demand of workshop capacity. The historical demand pattern at the workshop and availability of taxis on the road would guide us in determining demand on road and capacity at the workshop. This will also help in allocating the amount of inventory and technicians in the workshop.
  • Dashboard – A Dashboard can inform the drivers the next due date for maintenance and how many miles it can run before going to workshop, accordingly these vehicles can be booked.

2. Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is a very important driver of the revenue. It can drive customer’s decision of choosing or not choosing a particular operator. We can make a mention about the leading cab operators (Meru, OLA, UBER) in major cities. There are plenty of instances of non – adherence to the customer’s booking. They cancel the bookings at very last moment without even informing the customers. This leads to the loss of future opportunity and in that case word of mouth can make the problem a little bigger. The key drivers of customer satisfaction are:

  • The availability of the vehicle,
  • Price per mile,
  • Expediency of pickup,
  • Adherence to the bookings,
  • Driver’s behavior and driving skills

Customer feedback is one of the very important mediums to analyse the service quality on these attributes. Customer satisfaction surveys are a cost-effective and user-friendly method of extracting customer sentiments. Leveraging valuable feedback from customers, service quality can be improved thereby creating customer loyalty and subsequently customer delight. Data can very well throw light on the reasons of cancellation of the booking, if the cancellation is from operators side due to unavailability of the vehicle that should make them think about either increasing the fleet size or plan and schedule their vehicles accordingly to increase customer satisfaction.

Score vehicle drivers – Safe or High risk

Accident and severity of the accident records a better measure of safety performance than hospitalizations or customer complaints. Maintenance instance can be reduced by identifying the chauffeur’s driving skills. Drivers may cause serious damage to the vehicle if they do not have a smooth style of handling the mechanics of the vehicle. Maintenance reporting data and customer complaints/feedback data with regard to the conduct of the drivers can provide insights with regard to the driver’s performance. Accordingly measures can be taken to reduce the wear and tear of the vehicle and make customer experience better. A risk index can be created for each driver who can then be weeded out thereby providing the safest driving experience for the customer. This can also be leveraged to gauge training needs of drivers differently so that the customer’s exposure to bad experiences can be minimized.

This blog is written by Nishant Jain, Analytics Consultant at BRIDGEi2i

About BRIDGEi2i: BRIDGEi2i provides Business Analytics Solutions to enterprises globally, enabling them to achieve accelerated business impact harnessing the power of data. Our analytics services and technology solutions enable business managers to consume more meaningful information from big data, generate actionable insights from complex business problems and make data driven decisions across pan-enterprise processes to create sustainable business impact. To know more visit www.bridgei2i.com

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of BRIDGEi2i.

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