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Last week we wrote about trust and how your car sharing organization will benefit from instilling trust in your member base.
Today we’re going to talk about making decisions if trust is a core value of your organization.  You must consider both how much you’ll trust your members and how much effort you’ll spend on making them trust you.  Consider this smattering of prompts:
Technology costs:
Will your car share be a closed group?  That is to say:  is it only among a retirement village’s residents, or employees of the same large business campus?  If so, you could consider a lower-tech, lower-security, lower-cost option for your vehicles, perhaps just a lockbox and a GPS unit plugged into the OBD II port.  Your cost savings for in-car technology would be significant!
Operational costs:
Will you trust your members to tidy up after themselves?  If you spend the time and marketing effort to educate them about the meaning of sharing, you may be able to schedule formal car cleanings at wider intervals, thus spending money differently, perhaps even saving money.  What about refueling your fleet?  Will you want to ensure your members have lots of gas in the tank upon picking up a vehicle, or will you want to emphasize the convenience of leaving vehicles with a mere ¼ tank?  How will you pay for refuelings?  Secure fleet credit cards for member convenience?  Receipt reimbursements?  Fleet staff refuelings?  Knowing where you stand on member experience and trust will guide you to an easy decision in this realm.
Revenue sources:
Late-return fines are necessary.  They vary in range from $15 per hour late to a whopping $80+ per hour late.  When deciding upon these rates, look to establishing trust as your benchmark.  Are you concerned late returns will cause inconvenienced members to avoid using car share?  Do you want to discourage late returns and encourage time-padding?  Then by all means, use the hefty fines, BUT you must be willing to spend the time and energy to educate your members about your fines.  A surprise $40 fine that might bounce someone’s rent check will only erode trust.

Clearly, building and maintaining trust while running a profitable business is indeed a fine line to balance upon, but with exemplary communication and transparency, it IS possible.  We’ll touch on the relationship between Fleet and Member Services workers and how well-planned procedures can build trust even when reservations go awry.

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