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Transport & Logistics
Chats per agent
Socar Malaysia, a mobility-tech startup, was established in 2018 by South Korea’s Socar. With its app, the company aims to create convenience for those in need of a car. Simply put, when you want to rent a car, you go to Socar.
With nearly 2000 cars in more than 1000 locations in Malaysia, Socar has been seeing some tremendous growth over the last few years. They set themselves apart from ride-hailing companies like Uber and Ola by allowing their customers to have complete autonomy on their ‘socar’ for as long as they’ve reserved it for.
“Our customers are a mix of young and old, but we’re seeing that a majority of them are younger. The younger generation, I feel, don’t want to be saddled with the long-term cost of owning and maintaining a car, but want to enjoy the perks of having a car on-hand.” Rajan Manoharan, Head of Customer Service at Socar Malaysia, revealed. “It’s also pretty common to see people who already own a small car booking a large SUV during the holiday time for long drives.”
Rajan sat down with our team to discuss how customer service evolves at a hypergrowth startup and how his organization has been dealing with the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Socar Malaysia saw a massive amount of growth in a relatively short period of time, and Rajan agreed that there were definitely some growing pains that his team had to deal with.
One of the biggest challenges was the leap in traffic on their app and website. There were too many bookings, not enough cars, and not enough agents to support their customers. In addition to this, their internal helpdesk tool did not allow him to identify the roadblocks and issues surrounding their support, and the data was extremely fragmented.
Rajan began to evaluate tools that would help transform customer service at Socar and came across Freshdesk.
“Once we implemented Freshdesk, I started to identify and address the key issues surrounding our customer service. We set up a Customer Experience team whose main focus was looking at process efficiencies, namely, the gaps within the customer service teams and other departments they coordinate with to resolve customer problems. We needed to address these gaps and build a more robust journey for our customers.”
When asked about Socar Malaysia’s customer philosophy, Rajan honed in on one principle that drives all their customer interactions. “We want to ensure that every time a customer reaches out in need of support, someone is there to help.”
This defining philosophy is a result of the time-sensitive nature of queries often coming in from customers. For example, they’re unable to unlock a car that they’ve reserved, or there’s a problem with the engine of their ‘socar’ and it won’t start. In such cases, being unable to get hold of a support agent would be disastrous.
Aside from responsiveness, another key component of customer service at Socar, is effective, and efficient collaboration. “We collaborate across teams from within the Freshdesk app itself in order to keep everyone in the loop and keep track of all communications. When we’re dealing with a team or third-party that does not have access, we send an outbound email through Freshdesk so the communication is still tracked.”
For a long time, Socar Malaysia only offered phone and email support to its customers. The idea of moving to chat support existed, but it was decided that Socar would take a staggered approach in adopting messaging channels. When the COVID-19 pandemic made its way across the world, and the Malaysian government issued a Movement Control Order (MCO), Rajan and his team were forced to reinvent the wheel.
“Everyone was suddenly expected to work from home, and instead of keeping with our initial idea of staggering the introduction of chat, we just flipped the switch. Overnight, we switched off the phone and switched on chat, and fortunately, there was no backlash nor any complaints from our customers. In fact, people seemed quite happy with the change.”
Rajan saw an almost immediate increase in the efficiency of his team with the introduction of Freshchat (now Freshdesk Messaging). With chat and messaging capabilities, his agents were able to do more in the same amount of time. “We were typically handling 35 calls per agent, but with chat, we’re able to increase that number to 95 chats per agent. That’s 3x productivity, and our reports show that we haven’t missed a single query since implementing Freshchat (now Freshdesk Messaging). Our efficiency is currently at 97%.”
My Socar App Experience - Book my Socar
Socar integrated Freshchat (now Freshdesk Messaging) support within their app, in order to allow customers to get in touch with their agents quicker than before. “Our younger customers were especially vocal about their satisfaction with this change. They got in touch to say that they loved the chat feature and how quick it was.” Rajan recalled, “They seem to prefer chat over the phone, for some reason.”
Today, most customers contact Rajan’s team via the in-app chat. Whatsapp has also become an essential support channel, providing a way for customers to reach out if the app malfunctions unexpectedly. While switching to chat impacted the business in a big way, it was just the first step in adapting to the new world order.
Reserving cars for long-term travel was no longer a priority for most people, and Socar had to come up with a new way to keep their business going. “First, we gained special government permission to enable our operations team to move cars from where they were parked to the customers’ homes. Once that was done, we launched ‘Socar2U’, a service by which we deliver the car to customers so that they can travel within the allowed radius of their home.”
Each time a car is delivered to a new customer, it is completely sanitized, giving the customers confidence in the car’s safety as well. In this time, when public transport is no longer trusted, more and more people are willing to hire a service like Socar in order to travel without risk of infection.
My Socar App Experience - Customer Support
“With both Freshdesk and Freshchat (now Freshdesk Messaging) being on the cloud, we were able to switch from working on-site to working from home pretty easily. As long as our agents had a laptop or computer at home, there were no hiccups.”
Head of Customer Service
Socar Malaysia is still growing at a rapid pace, with the company looking to expand its operations to East Malaysia and Indonesia. “We would like to have our team in Indonesia on Freshdesk as well. We need to be able to share knowledge and information across regions through our helpdesk.”
Rajan is also looking into incorporating chatbots and live-chat on the Socar Malaysia website, which is currently being revamped. “Setting up automation and bot workflows to take care of repetitive tasks like fetching reimbursement status updates, and extending reservations would help us reduce costs as well as save us time and effort.”
Socar’s goal is to ‘make Malaysian drivers happier, one car at a time’, and their customer service leads the charge in making that happen.
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