The beauty of SaaS and the danger of assumptions!

Posted by Richard Doody on Jan 30, 2019 2:21:26 PM

Good Travel Software has been building car sharing platforms for eight years. In that time we have delivered both custom car sharing platforms and developed our own white label SaaS platform, which today is used all over the world. We feel like we know a lot about car sharing. In the course of selling to customers we often get pushed for features we know from experience don’t work. Like complicated membership tiers that confuse users or long questionnaires in the sign up process that massively reduce the conversion rate. If there’s a bad idea in car sharing we’ve heard it, and occasionally implemented it. Aligned to our experience is a company philosophy of simplicity. We believe booking a shared car should be as easy as booking a taxi. If the user must think or work out anything when making a booking – we’ve failed. In the main our experience and our approach to car sharing has served us well but it can leave us open to blind spots which is why a SaaS business model is so valuable to a software provider.

Recently a potentially large customer approached us, they liked everything about our system except that our platform didn’t allow for web-bookings. We confidently replied that people all over the world book taxi’s using just their smartphones and that a web interface was unnecessary. We went so far as to say, “Uber don’t even have web-booking” (it turns out they do!). But our customer was determined and big, they said the web interface was a deal breaker. So off I trekked to our CTO to ask about putting web booking into our car sharing platform. Despite some initial complaints we costed up the process and decided to proceed. A month later GTS had web-booking as part of its SaaS offering for all our customers.

GTS Web-Booking Interface

GTS Web-Booking Interface


A week after web-booking went live I sent the download details for our demo apps to a new sales lead, as an afterthought I included a link to the web-booking platform. On a sales call the next day, the lead mentioned that one cohort of his target customers were state employees and that without the capacity for web-booking he wouldn’t have been able to bid on the contract. Web-booking was a deal breaker for him too! In the months since then every lead we’ve spoken to and every customer we’ve converted has mentioned the web-booking. For some it’s a nice to have, for some a need to have, but for all of them it’s a positive.

In an effort to learn from our mistakes our sales staff now have a form to record all feature requests from all sales leads. Once a week our engineers now review the full list of feature requests, we don’t tell them which lead made which request, so each feature is judged on its merits. Already we’ve seen positives from this process.

In early January a lead in Finland mentioned that in the extreme cold of a Finnish winter smartphone screens can become less responsive. They asked if we could make the map on our apps bigger so that it would be easier to use for their customers. When this was presented to the engineering team one of our app developers volunteered to look at the issue. Two days later we had a test version of the apps with bigger maps and this week we have pushed the improved apps out to all our SaaS customers.

 

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     Old App - Small Map                                                 New App - Large Map 

 

The beauty of SaaS is that if one of our customers has an idea for an improvement all our customers benefit. Listen to your customers is a pretty fundamental rule of business, but sometimes industry trends, competitor activity and company experience can lead to dangerous assumptions that deafen you to customer feedback. In 2019 we’ll be listening to our customers and leads more than ever. If you’ve any ideas of how Car Sharing can be done better we’d love to hear from you!

If you need help to make a success of your Car Sharing Operation book a meeting with one of our Car sharing consultants or download our guide to car sharing below.

The GTS Guide to Successful Car Sharing

Topics: Car Sharing, Car Rental, Corporate Car Sharing, Fleet, SaaS

Written by Richard Doody