Carshare Crisis Management: Does Your Team Know What To Do?


Whether your company just launched a carshare or has been running smooth operations for years, it can be expected that some sort of “crisis” event will happen. The type of events ranges significantly: from app malfunction to a car robbery to a call center being down. While operators cannot know when a crisis will happen, it is imperative that teams are prepared to the best of their abilities to handle a given crisis event. In this blog post, we review two scenarios of how we think carshare operators should handle people stealing parts off carshare vehicles and what to do in the event of an app malfunction.

In December 2014, car2go Portland experienced two major crisis events: the tires of car2go vehicles were being stolen and the other event had an app connection issue where members could not find any vehicles in Portland, preventing them from making any reservations for over 9 hours.

Carshare Crisis Management

Scenario #1:

When someone is tampering with car2go vehicles, the call center (Member Services) is usually the first to know about it because a member will phone in to report the incident. When notified, the call center agent should collect all the details about the incident:

  • Type of vehicle
  • Which tire(s) are missing: front/rear, drivers/passenger side
  • When the incident was reported
  • Where the vehicle is located

After the details have been recorded, the call center agent should help find a nearby vehicle for the member. It’s best practice to give 15 minutes of free driving credit because of the inconvenience this incident has provided the member.

movmi would then recommend the call center agent should take the vehicle out of service right away and inform the Fleet Manager by raising a ticket. The Fleet Manager would then trigger a ticket for a technician to fix the vehicle (i.e. install tires on the vehicle) right away. A subtle, but important detail is to have the proper tags on the service ticket (e.g. “stolen equipment/parts”). This will allow the Fleet Manager to monitor if there’s an increase in thefts and/or identify any patterns. The call center agent should then report the incident to the police.

Collaboration with the police will be key, especially if more incidents happen, and the Fleet Manager should also collaborate with the General Manager to see if there are any preventative measures to take to prevent future criminal acts.

Scenario #2:

As for car2go’s app connectivity issue, we like the public relations (PR) statement that car2go released the next day after the incident. Here a snippet of the apology given by car2go’s Chief Marketing Officer Paul Delong (who is now car2go’s CEO):

“Yesterday, at 4:30pm CST, our car2go vehicles experienced a disruption in service that was directly related to our Germany-based mobile provider. 

At that time, our provider had undergone a malfunction within their network that disabled cell phone roaming, resulting in a break in remote connection with all of our car2go vehicles across North America and their network in Germany. 

Thus, members were not able begin or end their trips until the issue was resolved at 12:54am CST today.

Actions are quickly being taken to mitigate this occurrence from happening again, but in complete transparency, since we are only 24 hours fresh, we are at the beginning stages of analysis to understand the root causes with our provider.”

Why does movmi like this opening statement? It quickly puts everyone on the same page by providing the facts of the given situation. We like how car2go admitted openly that they did not fully understand what the root problems are instead of pretending they had it figured out. People appreciate honesty and, while it may be tough to admit, they would rather be given the facts and full transparency on the situation. This is the best way to re-build trust with your members. 

“Stability of our network has always and is still a core focus, but last night’s disruption strengthened our resolve to get a solution more quickly. We all here at car2go feel the disappointment and the distress that we put many of you through.  We heard it through phone calls, tweets, posts, and emails since the disruption started.

For those members who have shared, “That’s it…I am done with car2go.”  I totally understand why.” 

Why does movmi like this statement? People want to feel heard and understood. Additionally, with the rise in popularity of peer-reviewed sources to help make purchasing decisions such as Yelp and Tripadvisor, the importance of transparency and superb customer service has become more important than ever. With this paragraph, Paul made the members feel heard and empathized with their frustrations. Essentially, he showed that their opinions and feedback matters and car2go’s service level was not acceptable.

“For those who were directly impacted, our teams will be in contact with you shortly, if they haven’t already. For many of our members who were indirectly impacted, I can tell you that it is on us to restore your faith in our service in the days, months, and years to come.”

Why does movmi like this statement? In the preceding statement, car2go showed that members feedback was heard. But talk can only solve so much. Now car2go is demonstrating what actions are being taken to resolve the situation.

“After this week’s announcement of car2go being the largest carsharing company in the world, I could look at this as a huge embarrassment. But to be honest with you, last night’s disruption was a defining moment for us. It showed me – and all of our team members across North America – that even though we are the largest carsharing company in the world, we remained true to you, our members – that during a sensitive time, we demonstrated the responsibility and the compassion as a leading brand should.” 

Why does movmi like this statement? It shows vulnerability and humility. People value transparency and will be more forgiving if you own up to your mistakes – they’ll be less forgiving if you try to cover it up and lie about it.

“And for those who have expressed their disdain for our apologies, I ask that you don’t put that on our team – the team who will be working hard the next several days on this, put that anger on ME.”

Why does movmi like this statement? This shows true leadership and speaks volumes about the type of leadership that is at car2go.

For the full statement you can go here.

As we can see, no matter how experienced a company is there will always be an unexpected event that can challenge the operator. Thus, it is imperative to be prepared. While not every crisis situation can be mapped out or predicted, it is best practice to give your team the tools and knowledge so they can navigate a given situation. If you’re unsure if your team is prepared for a crisis, movmi’s Playbook provides a crisis management plan for you that is based off years of shared mobility experience.

Click here to learn more or contact us to book a demo.


Note: This article has not been endorsed or sponsored by car2go and there is no affiliation between movmi and car2go.

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