I know I’m letting some things slip through the cracks. Holidays, baby, and the adventure of trying to buy a new car. I’ve let some of the paperwork and issues slide with my Turo business. Today I was going to get all of my paperwork organized and spend some time analyzing the data. It’s really kind of neat to examine the data for patterns. I get all of my data entered and synced across all of my platforms. Update contacts in Outlook as well as calendar, and putting the data into my spreadsheet which lets me analyze various metrics.
After spending several hours of doing this, dotting i’s and crossing t’s I get to look at the data. I’m amazed that for one thing all three cars are on about the same revenue rate. Three cars with different price points and target markets. They were acquired at different times, became robot cars at different dates. They also have slightly different markets. I specialize in AWD vehicle rentals with 7 passenger seating. Kind of a unique car, try to find my rentals at Hertz or Avis.
Two amazing things with the data
- All the cars are very close to each other in total revenue. I look at revenue that they have earned as well as what they are booked out in advance. If I take the midpoint car and use that as a baseline the other vehicles have a variance of less than 10%.
- December was not as good as July. I purchased Freedom, the AWD Toyota Sienna XLE on July 4th. It took a couple days to get it up and the site and I’m not even sure the Azera was a robot car yet. There were a couple of other factors, but I’m like I’ll analyze more later. I’ve got a rental coming up in a little bit and I’ll wait until that takes off successfully.
Now the crisis happens
It all starts going off fine. The renter Kelly O. send me a text going where is the car. I had sent the information earlier through the Turo system and didn’t text here directly. Tell her where the car is and I’m like no problem. Dealing with getting windows installed on the house with two contractors in the house in addition to the two dogs and the baby. Now I get the text that they can’t find the car. This happens more than I would like it too, but I’m used to it and it’s not the first time.
STEP 1 – Make sure the renter is in the right letter and row as well as the right lot. I’m checking the information the last renter sent me. So far everything is checking out. I check the software on the Robot Cars and it is inaccurate since the last software update. (Note to author; write next blog targeting SAR at Turo, Viper corporate, Car Toys, Jacob Ford, and automobile and telematics futurists.). The software makes it looks like it’s on the runway under a 737.
STEP 2 – Hear from renter that the car is not there. I’m also activating its panic alarm, which at one point would flash the hazards for 5 minutes. Now I’m not sure what it does. Freaking software upgrades. Next time I get each car I need to test out the functionality to make sure it all works the same. I know it’s freezing outside, not nearly as cold as when I was there and it was one degree from a rental screw-up. (write that blog as well, might be a video blog, hysterical rant Dennis Miller style) I tell the renter to get back on the shuttle and head to the terminal, there is no sense freezing in the parking lot. I also tell them to contact Turo’s emergency contact number to see if they can expedite the matter. I said let me start working on stuff.
What I have been doing
Texting like crazy with the previous renter. That mundane activity earlier of updating my raw data 100% made my life so much easier. I was able to find the previous renters name on my calendar and knowing I had there mobile number that they reserved the car under programmed into my phone made for awesome efficiency. I’m also able to be sitting at my desktop with awesome Internet and wi-fi connectivity and a fully charged Samsung Note 3. At least I’m prepared.
The previous renter Susan B. was a great renter. It was an elderly couple and their grandson just driving out to Nebraska to visit family. I normally don’t do out of state rentals, but in cool exceptions like this one I do. She was very communicative. Used the site. Didn’t ask stupid questions. Did ask questions. Was proactive. She even used the app to take more pictures than most. When I texted her today she responded immediately. It was about trying to find where the car was parked.
I was also on the phone with DIA parking operations. I’m really excited that I have this in my phone. I also know that these people keep track of lost tickets. They are supposed to run through the lot at least every 24 hours and record the plates of every car. It might even be every 12 hours. This is how they deal with lost parking tickets and scammers. When they can’t find the car now I’m really freaking concerned.
I call my wife to give her a quick heads up on the situation. I ask her to call in and check for me. I told her I didn’t like the answer that I got. Meanwhile I get a call from Turo customer support that went to voice mail. Guess I was giving instructions to my wife while Turo customer support contacted me.
I’m also really pissed off that it looks like the directed site is wanting me to contact Car Toys most likely that means I need to get a hold of Jacob Ford, my commercial rep. There is no freaking way that he is going to be able to track this down or know what I am talking about. (write that blog)
I eventually hear back from the previous renter Susan B. that they car might of been parked in b4 or c4, but the d bus terminal pickup was right there. I’m firmly convinced that she knows exactly what she is talking about. I now have to contact the current renter and give them the good news / bad news situation that the car was there but was in a slightly different spot. This really matters.
Turo customer support
I finally get a hold of Turo customer support, or I should say they got a hold of me. As I had to listen to the voice mail three times, btw what is the button to rewind like 10 or 15 seconds? I only know “4” restart from beginning. Very annoying on a two minute voice mail. As I’m getting ready to dial my phone rings and just then I realize I had the number programmed. As I’m talking to the representative I can tell that she is kind of like not 100% sure of what to do with the situation. All the rep has heard is the car can’t be found and I told the renter to call the support line. The rep is talking to me and she says, “Well if you can’t find the car we are going to need to refund the entire rental fee to the renter.” I salute them for matter of fact and not really listening, but understanding the car is not there you can’t rent the car and have people give you money. I clearly understand this. What is funny is that I’m actually like, “No hold on for a second, I’m a Turo owner and have done a lot of these, this is the first time I’ve gone as far as contacting emergency support in this situation, but you will soon have two priority technical support calls because Kelly O. is officially screwed because they are standing at the airport with no car to rent and as a Turo owner you now have a stolen car situation on your hands! The previous renter may have been involved, but it appears unlikely, but the car is not where it is supposed to be. DIA parking operations can’t find the car either and they inventory the entire system every 24 hours and the car has been there as least 36 hours.”
At this point the rep now puts me on hold, I’m thinking that I’ve got there attention. What is so nice is that about two minutes into the call that I get a text from Kelly O. that they found the car. Thank goodness and I unlock the car remotely as Kelly O. has already sent me the two pictures that I needed. Turo customer support finally gets back on the phone with me, I quickly interrupt and say no crisis we found the car.
The stress level of all three people involved was sky high. Kelly O. had a day of travel and a short trip out to Denver. This is not how she wanted to spend the first hour of her trip out here. This was the time I actually worried the most about the car being stolen this time. This is going to be hell. Which insurance company and who is responsible. Susan B. is now stressed like wow I rented the car and it was so nice and smooth why am I being bothered 48 hours later about where the car is parked.
Well it all survived now to clean up the mess. I’m filled with some questions.
Clearly I need to do something for Kelly O. she did ask and I did offer but what to do? What does she expect? What is fair? Is Turo going to do there part? Is Susan B. responsible? How do I rate her? Why does my Directed software not work as well as it once did for geotargeting?
Note this isin’t even my biggest problem or issue in life with Turo, my cars, or my immediate financial future. It was just a problem that dropped into my lap and is taking a bit of time and energy. Just cleaning up the mess and trying to do the right thing for everyone.