The Challenge

Automate the vehicle check-out / check-in process at vehicle transport and rental companies.

Many fleet management companies suffer from the cost and inefficiencies of capturing and maintaining a mountain of printed vehicle condition documentation. Often the documentation is manually entered, often out of date, and unhelpful, wasting employee time and company resources.

What’s more, customers inherit having to prove damage was not caused during the time they rented the vehicle. This process causes pain for employees and customers and is ripe for change.

Objectives

  • Create a prototype that we can learn from and use to develop a MVP
  • A fleet representative can digitally document vehicle details in under 3 minutes
  • Develop a a scalable content management system for admin purposes
  • Build APIs to connect the CMS with iOS devices used in the field

The Journey

We knew a better solution exists; it just had to be reframed. We took a rapid service design approach, understanding the employee and customer pain-points and chiseled away on the underlying issues. To move beyond assumptions, we needed to unpack the problem thoroughly. We spent time speaking with people who document vehicle condition and reproduce the data into their company’s workflow. We also gathered insights from customers about their vehicle rental experience. One particular exercise surprised everyone during customer research.  Contextual mapping exercises revealed more profound levels of anxiety during the vehicle check-in process than we all assumed.

By the end of this period, we had a service design blueprint and knew the core challenges but needed to find the best way to solve them. We structured our findings into How Might We (HMW) questions, and this helped us ideate two workable solutions. We planned a prototyping rumble, testing both prototypes that would capture a vehicle’s condition in video and image format. Upon user testing, video format was preferred but documenting, transferring, and storing video content caused implementation and scalability issues, so image capture was determined the best option. We further iterated the image capture prototype and facilitated more onsite usability tests to refine the experience.

Our goal was to identify a candidate to develop a working Beta service. A promising solution emerged from our early experiments – an enterprise mobile tool supported with a desktop platform designed for managing and tracking vehicle damage.

Solution (The How)

Using the Zipit API, the customer’s information pushes from third-party software into the Zipit database, so it is immediately retrievable and synced among existing back-office systems. Outside, during the check-in and check-out process, an Agent retrieves the customer’s data, documents the vehicle’s condition, collects the customer signature, and shares the incident reports via email and SMS notifications. The customer data is immediately available on the cloud platform for back-office staff to access. Best of all, it’s easy, fast, and everyone, including customers, are informed of the vehicle’s condition.

When we started the project, we knew it would be an iterative process, but we also had real customers onsite to learn from, making it an ideal service design project. The time spent learning about the front-and-back office processes, customer pain-points, and technology limitations enabled us to design an MVP that enhanced the customer experience for employees and customers. However, with benefits that include reducing the burden of proof, streamlining processes, and improving accessibility, we produced a clear solution to an ongoing problem.