Nearly one in five people who filled out our car survey had to call out a breakdown service. But if it was you, would you phone for help, or would you consider using an app instead?
Last year, my trusty little Toyota Corolla suffered a shunt. Whilst crawling along in slow traffic, the person behind me drove into the back of my car.
No one was hurt and there was no visible damage to (my) car. But just to be on the safe side, I called out my breakdown company to check the car over.
Now the problem – I was on a random layby on the A338. My describing of where I was stranded was awkward at best: ‘Erm… I can see trees, and a field…’. But I was found in a reasonable amount of time, and the mechanic soon deemed my car safe.
I didn’t even think to use my breakdown company’s app – and I certainly didn’t have it downloaded onto my phone. But if I had, my position would have been sent straight to the company, and I may have saved some battery life on my phone too. So is it the way of the future?
Start Rescue app’s on the up
In our reliability survey, of the 8,504 people who reported they’d had a breakdown, on average only 2% said they used an app to contact their breakdown provider. Whereas 97% phoned in like I did.
But there is a company bucking the trend – Start Rescue.
Start claims that last year, 12% of their customers reported their breakdown via an app (up from 2% when they launched the app in 2010). And that correlates with our survey – 11% of Start Rescue members we spoke to said they used the app rather than calling. Significantly above the average.
Advantages of the app
I spoke to Lee Puffet, Joint Managing Director of Call Assist, the company that owns and operates Start Rescue. He outlined three main advantages of using the app:
‘Pinpointing the customer’s location without the need to ask too many questions. Many customers can be a long way from home and not know exactly where they are located, therefore the app helps to provide an immediate initial bearing.
Policy details are inputted during the app registration. Claims are immediately detailed on our system as soon as the app assistance request is received.
Preserving the customer’s mobile phone battery charge as much as possible without them needing to make a phone call. Not all customers will be able to keep their phone charged due to the type of fault with the vehicle.’
It all sounds very sensible. But the downside as I see it is that I’d have to have an app downloaded that I may not use for years. I’ve still not downloaded my breakdown company’s app, but it is something I’ve been meaning to do – which puts it in the same category as re-painting the garage door and maybe actually writing that novel that I’ve been ‘working on’.
So despite my experience, I’m not a convert yet. But what about you? Would you use an app to call out your breakdown company?