Damage iD's booth at last year's International Car Rental Show. Photo by Amy Winter-Hercher.
Are you resistant to change?
“I know I am,” says Paula Vercollone, president of Damage iD and co-owner of Verc Car Rental, a Sixt franchise. “For any new technology, I remain in my comfort zone as long as possible — even for years.”
Vercollone might even be considered a first-class technophobe: “Microwave? Last to get one,” she says. “Answering machine? People can call me back. Cell phone? Who needs one anyway?”
She’s not alone in the car rental industry. “I totally understand why the car rental industry continues to document damage with the ‘charcoal and tree’ (paper and pencil) walk-around,” she says, though she believes the old method does a disservice to both the car rental company and the customer. “It’s subjective, arguable, inaccurate, and archaic.”
But technology is redefining the car rental process, says Vercollone, including vehicle damage tracking. Two services, Damage iD and Record360, use mobile and Web-based app technology to document vehicles. The systems use images captured on mobile devices at check in and checkout to note and compare vehicle damage or changes on the vehicles.
Having a more accurate damage documentation solution in place would improve customer service by creating a higher level of trust and transparency with the customer, she says.
“People are stubbornly resistant to change,” Vercollone says. “It's human nature. We are comfortable doing whatever it is we're doing. But it’s time to revolutionize the industry!”