Contactless services are becoming a necessity for more and more customers. According to a GetApp survey of nearly 1,000 U.S.-based consumers, “92% of respondents consider the availability of a contactless experience important right now — i.e., during the pandemic — while 82% say it’ll remain important even after the pandemic is over.”
Since the demand for contactless is so high, why is contactless car rental still such a rarity?
Because it’s easier said than done. Here’s why.
Choosing the right technology consumes a lot of money, time, and research power. A successful contactless car rental company has to invest in a secure Phone-as-a-Key system complemented with encrypted digital key management, software applications, and programming interfaces. Also, it needs telematics devices and other hardware. Because contactless is fast, all those pieces have to be connected with a smooth wireless technology like BLE (Bluetooth) or NFC (Near Field Communications, for shorter distances). Customers travel to various destinations and unlocking/locking the car can't take more than a few seconds in all of them. Whether it’s a remote mountain area, desert, or an underground parking lot, connectivity is crucial to provide a seamless user experience.
2. User experience
The fact that a contactless car rental company doesn’t need any rental desks improves the customer experience significantly. Consumers are twice as likely to choose ease of use (50%) as the most important aspect of contactless experiences over the next option (data security, 25%). The contactless service has to be as user-friendly as possible, meaning that every step of the rental process is well explained, easily understandable, and convenient. More importantly: time-saving.
Therefore, designing the customer journey, including online and offline interactions, requires careful planning with keeping constant focus on customers' needs. Liigu’s reviews prove that it’s worth the effort, as one states: “Appreciated the virtual keys, the very clear signup and pickup instructions, the 24/7 text support, and the general intelligent planning plus attention to detail.”
3. Human support
Connectivity and user experience are nothing without the human touch. What do we crave the most when technology fails? Probably a nice voice on the other side of the phone or a personalized text on the chat focused specifically on our problem. We don’t want bots and templates; we want empathy.
Almost 30% of consumers say that having limited help when something goes wrong is a challenge with contactless services. Especially when contactless experiences aren’t widely offered in the car rental industry and customers might feel a little insecure. It is crucial to provide non-stop human support using customers’ preferred channels and skilled agents. A responsive and caring team can do miracles when technology fails. Exceptional customer care should be a statement piece of every contactless car rental company.
Contactless car rental comes with its challenges, but it’s certainly worth investing in. The ongoing pandemic has changed our view on many traditional "ways of doing things." It set a new normal, driven by the top-notch technology. Customers got used to the fast, convenient solutions that are available for them at any moment. They won’t go back to pen and paper. Time to accept the challenge and go contactless.
About the author: Annemari Muru is leading bustler at Liigu, an app-based mobility service that offers contactless car rental and car subscriptions.