Car sharing organizations spend lots of marketing resources building a member base. Once you have obtained members you want to both retain their membership and encourage their use of your fleet. Increasing utilization is far too large and complex of a topic to cover in a blog post (and too dependent upon unique factors in your market to address without researching), but we do want to point out one universal piece of advice that every CSO (car sharing organization) will benefit from:
Earn Your Members’ Trust
We realize this is, sadly, controversial advice today, as it takes effort to pull off (i.e. staff time and thus, money). To address the obvious contradiction in our industry, Uber didn’t come to be valued at many billions of US dollars for inspiring trust. Far from it. Hamfisted ruthlessness is one very risky way to make a lot of money, but in doing so, especially when starting at a modest scale, we think you’ll alienate your customer base and go out of business well before you turn a profit. When we (movmi) advise our clients, we try to steer them clear of cheap shortcuts; there is a great deal of value in continually proving your company trustworthy to its members by making the following your guiding principles during launch marketing and then your everyday operations:
1.) communicating realistic and amicable expectations for your members
2.) delivering upon expectations
2a.) if there’s a failure to meet expectations, amend the situation without hesitating
Who would you rather do business with, after all? We think the answer is obvious: with someone you can trust. Most of us have been in a pinch where we need to hold our nose and patronize a business we don’t like, whether that be Uber, Walmart, or any number of large (or small!) companies who have policies and politics that we find distasteful. You do NOT want your local car share to be the one people “settle” for using. Word-of-mouth marketing is incredibly valuable, and your CSO will only reap its benefits if your members have excellent experiences.
In the coming weeks, we’ll publish a series of posts to explore some practical manifestations of these principles. Our aim is to inform and inspire any entrepreneurs planning to open their own shared mobility business, but any service-based business can and should operate by these principles. Check back Monday for more.