“What if you could easily rent a decent car, instead of playing PT Cruiser roulette?”
Renting a car at the airport is a hassle. After a long flight and extended wait at baggage claim, you take a shuttle to an off-site rental location, stand in line and fill out forms – and there’s no guarantee you’ll drive away in a car you actually like.
When the Silvercar founders got stuck renting a white minivan for a golf weekend with friends, they decided it was time to change the airport car rental process. From day one, Silvercar focused on delighting customers throughout their journeys with its easy-to-use app, concierge-like service, fair pricing, and luxury vehicles. “It’s not just about renting a car and having the process not suck,” says Allen Darnell, chief technology officer at Silvercar. “It’s about how we use technology to fix that process and deliver a great experience.”
“Integrating with Delighted was dead simple.”
When Silvercar started in early 2012, Uber was still a new concept and other ride-sharing services, such as Lyft, didn’t exist. Silvercar aimed to stand out in the personal transportation space by consistently providing customers with premium vehicles – silver Audi A4 cars. “We thought, ‘what if you could easily rent a decent car, instead of playing PT Cruiser roulette?’” says Darnell. “Every Silvercar includes features such as Sirius XM and a sunroof that make it an ideal car for driving clients and professional connections.”
Although the company has measured a compound annual growth rate of over 240 percent, Silvercar learned some operational lessons the hard way. As team members redesigned the websites, mobile apps, and overall customer experience, they relied on user feedback to address pain points and continuously improve. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology was a perfect fit for Silvercar’s business model and the team’s workflow. Darnell says, “Integrating with Delighted was dead simple.”
With Delighted, Silvercar maintains an average NPS of 80 to 85 – a score five times better than the rental car industry as a whole.
During their first year working with Delighted, each person on Silvercar’s team read every piece of customer feedback. Today, having expanded to 15 locations, Darnell says, “We use the product almost the same way we did when we adopted it four years ago.” Delighted offers immediate access to customer feedback, which empowers the Silvercar team to respond and connect with customers, as well as share best practices to improve customer experience across all locations. “Our success depends on our customers’ happiness, and Delighted keeps every employee – from the operations team, field staff, and senior management – constantly aligned.”
Darnell learned from industry peers that average NPS ratings for airport car rental services hover around 18 to 26, which led the team to think Delighted was not working correctly at first when Silvercar’s average NPS was measured in the 70s. However, Silvercar’s average NPS remains between 80 and 85, a score it’s maintained as it’s grown its business at a steady rate.
When a customer returns their vehicle, Silvercar automatically analyzes the vehicle’s fuel and mileage, and sends a bill. Instead of waiting days or weeks after the drop-off, as is common with traditional feedback programs, Delighted immediately sends an NPS survey email – a timeline perfect for the customer’s journey. Silvercar customers painlessly return cars at the airport, board their flights, check email as they wait for takeoff, and – more often than not – respond to the survey. Whereas typical survey response rates are less than 2 percent, Silvercar sees 50 percent survey response rates among first-time users, and 32 percent response rates with repeat survey recipients.
Delighted helps Silvercar retain customer loyalty as the company grows.
Silvercar doesn’t need to employ traditional tactics like loyalty programs to keep customers coming back. In the company’s early days of working with Delighted, the team would use selected, verbatim pieces of user feedback as the basis for operational changes. Today, with $59.5 million in funding from investors, including Audi, the company still depends on customer feedback to improve experiences and drive industry change.
Between updating overall concierge training processes and maintaining vehicle cleanliness, Silvercar anticipates its audience’s needs by remaining completely in tune with their perspectives. “I bet there are 100 changes that we wouldn’t have known to make without Delighted,” said Darnell.
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