Wisecars approach on how to make use of customer feedback
How I learned that proper customer feedback is needed to grow your business
You’d be surprised how many variables there are with each rental. Some real magic happens when you’ve found your deal, filled in your details and pushed that final ‘Book Now’ button!
So when we, that is me and my husband, Frank, first started Wisecars we, by the end of year one, had around 50 000 customers. Of course, we worked hard to achieve this number and, like any other starting business with big ambitions, we achieved it, and we achieved it swiftly. Now, nearly two years later, Wisecars has over 500 000 customers. Instead of 300 Wisecars reviews we have over 6000, and this number grows daily, so when we publish this piece, all these numbers here are yesterday’s news. So sorry about that.
What reviews mean for car rental brokers?
If you read through any car rental brokers or suppliers reviews you will notice that we all have the same issues. The problem with any customer feedback is, that your clients and users will write painstakingly detailed accounts of what went wrong but seldom do they write what went well or why they choose you. Or even worse, they don’t write at all, because there are no emotions to drive them to do so. So you end up with a lot of negative reviews and you really do start to feel that you are on the wrong path.
I can’t write about the great success of brokering between customers and suppliers. When zooming in, these first 50 000 customers are the cornerstones of how we do business today. Nearly 40% of incoming reviews were negative. For example, our Trustpilot score at the time dropped to 5 (it’s like 2-star TrustScore rating following recent updates on that platform)! There were many reasons behind that trend.
Firstly, we categorized all our reviews on specific topics.
- Was it about us, or was it about our partners?
- Was it our prices, work of our support staff?
- Was it about our communications, or did something unexpected happen to our clients during pick-up or drop-off?
- We also make sure that any negative feedback has an answer from us. Explaining what was done for the customer.
Secondly, we also assessed the quality of these reviews.
Sometimes reviewers are leaving out important details or are over saturating things to fit their narrative. Also, the majority of the reviews were not exactly directed at Wisecars. These tend to describe their experience while picking up the car. This means they’re in direct contact with the supplier agency who owns the cars. These are not directly linked to Wisecars service. But yes, our customers have made a search on our website and with availability, we then have proposed these suppliers to our customers. So, in essence, we play a big part in this flow and we are not arguing against this.
The third substantial amount of the reviews are a result of customers not knowing that they need to read through and understand the terms and conditions for their rental. Renting a car is not as simple as booking a hotel room. Although we are working towards that. These conditions, available when making a booking, describe in detail what they’ve agreed to. There’s no getting around them, they are extremely important to understand. How can they cancel their bookings? If and what kind of insurance is needed? Can they cross-border? Can they pay by debit card? How old must they be? etc.
Our action plan or rather, how things played out:
So let’s go over things. Two big areas to go through. Our service quality and our partner’s service quality.
- We stepped up recruitment for the customer support centre, so customers could be in contact with us faster.
- We wrote down high use cases to understand how customers are receiving our communication. This way we saw that there are confusions written in.
- Based on this, we started sending out useful “Things to know” informational emails to all of our customers. These emails detailed what happens next when you’ve successfully made a booking. So keep yourself informed, and please read through your terms and conditions, where to find your supplier, have your documents in order etc. A ‘TOP 10’ things to be aware of. This is because many customers had the same problems and issues. For example, you need a driver’s licence, you can’t book a car in someone else’s name, you are required to leave a security deposit. These kinds of things.
- We contacted suppliers who appeared the most and together addressed these recurring issues.
- We started communicating with customers more and asking details about their experiences, regardless. Every review with less than 4 stars is going directly to managers.
From 1 to 5. So what happened then?
First and foremost, we got a clear picture, what to do to be better. We also learned how to talk with our customers, and by directly talking to them we also now understand far better how they perceive us and our service. Our score gradually improved and we are now at 80%. Meaning Excellent status on Trustpilot.
So here is my take on feedback
- Users are the first to notice any errors in your service, so I’m always paying close attention to what they have to say.
- A big portion of negative reviews are avoidable by constantly making your service better.
- But also many reviews are manipulative. The narrative they create is not accurate or even true. The aim appears to be, malevolent.
One of the most important things to remember is that these are human beings and if you don’t have good communication and close the feedback loop, you don’t have the human touch between yourself and the customer. In my experience, the more you can get the customers to participate, the better your business is growing.
The positive communication you have with the customers will ultimately contribute to your overall reputation, and turn your consumers into customer advocates. This is where a proactive customer satisfaction approach becomes a powerful strategic business development tool for organisations.
By being proactive and effectively listening to customer needs you will be able to drastically improve your business in the long run. It will ultimately contribute to your overall reputation. Best of all, you can then use the summary of feedback to make informed decisions in your company and, in turn, improve your products.