Humming with Zoomcars
Zoom-car entry in the domestic market has opened a lot of avenues for road trips especially in non-corporate sector. People who are hesitant with their own car or do not rely on other drivers can now opt for self-driven SUVs and high-end cars for memorable road trips.
Recently I booked my first zoom-car, a Scorpio. Booking on their website is fairly straight-forward like any other car rental sites but understanding the terms and how it works could be tricky, at-least for a first-timer. Their key point is laid out on free kilometers allocated to each car based on the hours of booking. Beyond the free kilometers, they charge extra per km and of course late charges and car damage maintenance is extra that has to be kept in mind. Fuel charges are inclusive in the booking charges so in case any extra fuel is loaded, that gets reimbursed fully later on.
Another new facet is key-less & staff-less facility which can be availed by their mobile app. Once the booking is done and user reaches to the designated place for pickup, they can unlock the car via their mobile app which is a key less facility. Once unlock is successful, the car automatically opens up giving full access. The key and all the papers related to registration, insurance, road taxes can be found in the dashboard. The user is expected to fill the checklist through the app and once done they can get set for zooming.
I was a bit skeptical with the whole hiring of an unknown car as I was driving out of station to Coorg which meant driving through the hills and bad shaped roads due to heavy rain. Thankfully the SUV was in a fairly good shape with spare tyre, proper lights, papers and everything intact. However I felt that there was a lot of space for making the entire process smoother and trust worthier.
Based on my experience some major improvement needs to be done in certain areas.
- Updating the user as soon as possible in case the car is not available or if any other car is allocated. I got a confirmation of my car being ready but on arriving at the pick-up point, my car wasn’t there. They had assigned another car about which I was not informed, at least not until I called their customer care.
- Customer care needs to be a little more proactive in getting the things done quickly. I was unable to unlock my car through their app, and on requesting the call center, they asked me to wait for 10-15 mins and still I couldn’t unlock it. Finally a local representative came and did the needful.
- Car safety is another aspect which needs a more advanced technology as its mostly operated staff-less. While returning the car, I completed the checklist after which the car should had get locked again but to my surprise it did not for at-least 15-20 mins. Finally I had to call them and request them to lock it. This gives a larger window for anyone with bad intent to take full control of the car.
- Though my experience with the car was good, I read reviews on many forums where people were complaining about car break down, a/c not working, interiors in bad conditions etc. Zoom car management needs to understand that their entire system is trust bounded and the pivotal part being delivering the car in good shape. If this doesn’t prevail, their entire scheme will break down in spite of the good intent.
Overall it’s an effective start which will benefit many in coming years. It would be fair to say that though their future will be decided by how they innovate in making their platform flawless, but in today’s market space they are doing reasonably good and people are relying on them heavily. Nothing is better than having a USP of making it reliable, rest all is secondary.