On Sunday, I had to make a bunch of visits across town and I figured it would be a good chance to book a Zoomcar. I’ve used them in the past and they’ve had good customer service and cars in great condition. This time though, I had a terrible experience with their app and customer service, even after being escalated.
Zoomcar changed their polices in the last month or so. Originally, charges for extension of a booking would be deducted from the security deposit. Now they’d like their customers to make a payment immediately. However, the app UX is flawed, especially for customers who’ve used the app before. I would expect their customer service to handle this situation delicately, especially for customers who’ve used the previous policy and haven’t noticed the new one, but they failed that as well.
This is where their developers made a mistake: I booked a car from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm. At about 7:00 pm or so, I extended the trip to 9:30 pm. I got a dialog box that said my extension was successful, exactly like in the past. That false success message is a mistake. It should have told me an extension is available if I made a payment in the next 10 minutes. After pressing the “OK” button in the dialog box, it shows me that I have outstanding amount. In the previous versions of the app, I would see that as well. This amount would later get adjusted with the security deposit, so there’s no UX change in line with the policy change. To add to their UX woes, the app doesn’t let me finish a return check list about 20 minutes after the end of booking time. I would think that since there’s a check list for the fleet executive, keeping the member checklist available on the app until the fleet executive checklist is submitted sounds like a better policy.
Now their customer service mistake: Anticipating this change of policy, when a customer fails to make a payment for an extension, they could call the customer reminding them the policy has changed and they need to make a payment to extend the booking. They failed to do this as well. At around 8:50 pm, when returning from my last stop, I realized it’d take us more than 40 minutes to get back to the drop off point and I thought I’d extend the booking once more to 10:00 pm. The app consistently showed me that my booking ended at 8:30 pm, so I called up customer care. This has happened in the past when I had a spot of bad network. The first representative told me that their policies have changed and I needed to make a payment for extension within 10 minutes or the extension would be reversed. According to him, the fact that they’ve shown the “Outstanding Amount” means that I should have known to pay it right then. I requested a one-off exception, but they offered nothing other than advice to head to the drop off point as soon as possible to avoid further late charges. I called them again and this time I had my call escalated. This person informed me that they had red color writing in the app that tells me I need to make a payment. I don’t remember seeing this, to be honest. But again, in light of the “confirmation” I got, I didn’t actually look at the app in detail. This person also told me that I needed to get back to drop off location as soon as possible to avoid further late fees. I figured I better head back and accept the late fees.
While this was going on, my partner tweeted about this incident and a Zoomcar representative got in touch with us. As I was driving, my partner spoke to them, and this representative (Mr. Sashi) was understanding of the situation and offered us a solution - Please get to the drop off point, we’ll only charge the extension fees and waive the late fees. We reached the drop off location at around 10 pm, but took a bit to handover because of some mess with vehicles blocking the entrance to the location. I could not finish the checklist on the app, because I’d finished my ride according to it. Sigh. Perhaps their devs should actually use the app in all the use cases? I finished the checklist on the fleet executive’s phone and then waited to see the charges. I was charged 600 for the extension and 320 as the hourly charge. A bit later, when we got home the charges were corrected to only Rs 165, which is the charge for the extra distance. They charged us the lowest of the amount they could. Mr. Sashi called me to confirm that they’ve fixed the charges. I’ve given him some of this specific feedback and he mentioned that it’s already been forwarded to the development team. I hope in the days to come they fix both their app UX and customer service UX.
We only got a solution to our problem because we tweeted about the problem and they were monitoring their Twitter account. Otherwise, I doubt we’d have come to a solution. The escalation personnel asked me to email my feedback rather than send it in themselves. Mr. Sashi, on the other hand, told me my feedback had already been forwarded to their development team. I sincerely hope it has.
Image Credit: Ford EcoSport by Robert Basic on Flickr.