Truck Rental Company Implements First Omni-bot Solution & Increases Success Rates by 20%

Success by the Numbers

1 Use Case – 2 Channels

Voice & SMS Text
Additional Confirmed Reservations per Month

Challenges

  • Fleet management: customer no-shows cause operational issues
  • Consumed agent time making thousands of outbound reservation confirmation calls

Solutions

  • Outbound confirmations in voice & SMS text powered by Omni-bot
  • Customers can change or cancel reservations using self-service
  • Built in voice first, then deployed in SMS text using same platform, business rules, and logic

Results

  • 35% of calls successfully finish (confirm, change, or cancel)
  • 55% of SMS texts successfully finish (confirm, change, or cancel)
  • Equates to over 1,000 additional confirmations per month
This company is one of the largest providers of consumer and commercial truck rentals. Their trucks and equipment are reserved by customers who are moving, as well as by top brands who are filling out their fleet.

They pride themselves on customer centricity and high quality services, and began working with SmartAction to optimize their reservation confirmation process. With AI-powered outbound confirmations in both voice and SMS text, the company has experienced high success numbers and ROI.

Challenge

With more than 2,200 rental locations and 50,000 fleet vehicles, this brand is a North American leader in truck rentals. They boast robust services in addition to their extensive rental fleet, including 24-hour roadside assistance, moving supplies, and flexible reservation policies.

Fleet management is a major ongoing challenge for truck rental companies. As a customer, it is no big deal to cancel a reservation last minute; but on the business side, there are many intricate details like timing, type of truck, additional equipment, and what other reservations exist. When customers no-show for reservations, it can set off a series of events that may affect several branches and future customers. For this reason, confirming reservations is a supremely important piece of the customer journey.

Initially, contact center agents performed outbound calls to confirm upcoming reservations, making the calls approximately 48 hours in advance. Obviously, this was time-consuming, and it actually turned out to be less successful than expected. They began looking for alternative methods to confirm reservations, but they needed a solution that was advanced enough to make changes on the fly and provide a high-quality customer experience.

 

Solution

Contrary to the high cost and ongoing expense of the traditional professional services model, SmartAction’s cloud-based “AI-brain” was purpose-built for the contact center, with templates that support every industry and pre-built components that service hundreds of call types and chats from order management to roadside assistance. This made it quick and easy for this truck rental agency to implement natural language understanding with zero professional services within an affordable, predictable usage pricing model. After customizing SmartAction’s proprietary “AI-brain” to support this truck rental agency’s specific needs, this truck rental agency was able to introduce AI automation sooner than expected. Since every SmartAction solution includes a suite of services and benefits as part of the per-minute-usage, this truck rental agency now had a dedicated team of CX experts that provided ongoing customization, tuning, and enhancements to the application for improved process and containment over time.

The truck rental agency turned to SmartAction to automate these outbound confirmation calls in 2014, finding that Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing allowed them to both make the confirmation process more efficient and meet customer expectations for conversational design. Using a list of customers with upcoming truck rental reservations, the outbound call confirms the date, time, and location of pickup and dropoff. If the reservation is correct, the system will confirm and update the record. If the reservation is not correct, the system clarifies which piece of the reservation was incorrect and works to make the appropriate update with agent help if needed.

The outbound application is configured to identify voice mailboxes and leave informative messages, as well as allow for reservation changes and cancellations if needed. It also has a corresponding inbound application, so if a customer returns the call, the intelligent automation can answer and perform the same task as the outbound application—without agent intervention.

This has given them flexibility to more effectively utilize their contact center agents and save money by using automation instead of humans for this complex but repetitive task. Most importantly, it generates ROI in the form of fewer no-shows and operational efficiency.

Omni-bot™ Introduction

Since the launch of the voice solution, customer behaviors and expectations have changed and so have the solutions available to them. With that in mind, the brand worked with SmartAction to implement the first Omni-bot™ solution on the market. Already deployed in voice, they launched the exact same application in SMS text, using the Omni-bot™ to send outbound messages to customers who opt in or who have not confirmed via phone. They now have an omnichannel customer outreach program that runs on one AI platform and performs tasks that had previously required live agents.

Results

With the launch of the Omni-bot™, the rental agency has seen a jump in confirmations through the SMS text channel, with 55% of customers successfully finishing the confirmation process in SMS text compared to 35% in voice. This equates to over 1,000 additional confirmations per month, a number that is growing as more customers opt in to receive texts. Just like the voice application, SMS text functions as an inbound application, as well.

“We’ve learned that people are more likely to text these days, and SmartAction’s Omni-bot™ has given us the flexibility to provide multiple communication options for our customers. Working with SmartAction has definitely been a positive experience for us.”
-Director of Rental Contact Centers

Roadmap

The company has learned through firsthand experience that customers are more likely to text, especially for certain tasks, than respond to calls, while understanding that an omnichannel approach is extremely valuable for operational excellence. With that in mind, the company is exploring new processes for the Omni-bot™ that would help streamline truck return processes, locate nearby rental locations, and fully automate reservation placement especially during peak volume hours.

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