Tag Archive | "Road America"

Roadside Assistance is a Strong Option for Agents

When it comes to deciding what types of products an agent should represent, one of the key factors is determining whether it will appeal to the end-user. Part of that is including those products that are always of interest to car buyers; one of those is roadside assistance.

But for an agent, how do you determine which of the products out there you should offer? All of the options offer the same basic premise, but with several differences that help to set them apart – both for you, the agent, for your dealer clients and for the end-users. In talking to some of the providers, one interesting thing popped out: This is not a “tech light” product category. Across the board, roadside assistance providers have embraced new technologies, such as GPS positioning and full-featured mobile apps that allow a customer to direct and control the experience.

“The technology used greatly increases the response time for our roadside plan,” said Jack Haworth, CEO, Triumph Consulting Services. “There is a smartphone app called Roadside Dispatch that uses GPS technology to get the quickest and closest assistance available.”

Allstate Roadside Services’ April Eaton, corporate relations manager, agreed, noting, “Advancing new technology to enhance the roadside experience has been the cornerstone of our Reinventing Roadside philosophy. We introduced Assistance-On-the-Go in 2009 with the release of the industry’s first auto OEM branded mobile application for roadside assistance. This program was created to capitalize on the rapid advancements of mobile technology and enthusiastic adoption of smart phones for the advantage of the companies we work with.”

However, as great as all the technology is, another thing they could all agree on was that it doesn’t replace the human element. “At the end of the day, we have learned it doesn’t replace a phone call from a live person saying, ‘has our towing provider arrived’ because every second feels like an hour to someone on the side of the road in adverse weather or traffic conditions,” said Thomas Boughton, president, Driven Solutions. “The personal touch wins every time — no matter how much technology we add, that touch point with the customer is key to managing the process.”

“While we realize the importance of technology, we don’t lose site of the fact that when people are in a stressful situation – like on the shoulder of a busy highway with a flat tire – it is the human voice on the line offering assistance that our customers remember,” agreed Matt Krzysiak, CEO, National Motor Club. “We look for ways technology can enhance our level of service while still maintaining our commitment to high-touch service.”

Looking to the Future

So where is the roadside assistance category going then? That’s anyone’s guess, but there are some sure bets. “Our products will continue to change and mold to their evolving environment. More specifically speaking, through constant technological advancements our product will become more efficient and cost-effective,” said Kevin NeSmith, director of client services, Road America.

Specifically, more automation in the product itself, allowing the customer to get service faster and/or efficiently will ultimately benefit agents selling those products, as customers will be more likely to purchase them, increasing profit margins for both the agents and dealers. “In the immediate future, the process of providing programs and executing a claim or emergency roadside service will become more streamlined due to the advances in Web-based technology. Our call center computer will be able to link with the vehicle, diagnose and provide location and mechanical cause of the breakdown with one phone call. In the next five to 10 years, the car will call and arrange service without any action by the driver,” predicted Scott Grove, president, Auto Road Services Inc.

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Road America Wins Stevie Award for IT Excellence

Miami, FL – Road America was awarded the Silver Stevie Award for Information Technology Department of the Year in the 2012 American Business Awards. The American Business Awards are the nation’s premier business awards program. All organizations operating in the United States are eligible to submit nominations – public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small.

More than 3,000 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories, and for IT Department of the Year, Road America was chosen as the winner..

In January of 2011, the Road America IT Department, in collaboration with AT&T, launched a pilot test of LocateMe, which uses AT&T’s Phone Locator Service to pinpoint the addresses where emergency roadside assistance calls originate. Applicable on both land and wireless lines across all major U.S. carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and Metro PCS, and now fully operational, LocateMe can locate over 90% of the Road America customer base. In the summer of 2011, AT&T published a case study to highlight the shared success of this project.

“On behalf of everyone at Road America, I must say that we are extremely honored to be the recipient of a Silver Stevie Award. Our IT Department works around the clock to provide the most innovative solutions in our industry; and they, like the rest of the Road America team, are dedicated to offering unparalleled support to our clients and their customers,” said Dennis Fantis, President, Road America.

In 2011, following the success of LocateMe, the Road America IT Department started developing a mobile roadside assistance application for simultaneous launch across all major smart phone platforms using the same source code. Using Rapid Application Development (RAD) techniques the team developed Drive On and, by the fall of 2011, the app became available in web stores for iPhone, Android and Blackberry.

Finalists were chosen by more than 140 business professionals nationwide during preliminary judging in April and May. Over 10 specialized judging committees determined Stevie Award placements from among the Finalists during final judging.

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