The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted social behaviours, spending patterns, travel habits, supply-chains, country- interdependence, and service delivery models, markets and the global economy. In India, the lockdown has further put a halt on operations for many businesses. One of the many sectors to have been gravely impacted by the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown is the rental car services. Road trips are surely not to happen for some time now, corporate travel is also on hold and no one really knows when the situation will get better.
Amid such uncertain times how are the rental car services providers ensuring business continuity and what are the people challenges they are grappling with? In this interaction, Greg Moran, CEO and Co founder of Zoomcar helps us find some answers to these questions and shares how Zoomcar is dealing with this current COVID-19 crisis.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the rental car services space? How do you see your business getting impacted if the crisis continues?
The outbreak of COVID-19 resulting in a global pandemic is certainly unfortunate. While everyone is advised to observe proper precautions, stay indoors, observe social distancing, and maintain proper personal hygiene, Zoomcar has been coming up with provisions to better take care of their customers.
In times of lockdown, mobility is certainly challenged. However, through our fleet of over 10,000 cars, Zoomcar is ensuring that mobility-as-a-service is available for anyone who needs it. Furthermore, we are also gearing up to ensure optimum safety of customers after the lockdown is lifted.
If the lockdown is to continue for a longer period, how do you plan to ensure business continuity?
We are stepping up to ease the emergency transportation woes faced during the lockdown period.
While we grounded the fleet in accordance with the government’s shutdown order, some select vehicles are being utilized to ensure emergency mobility for the frontline workforce, including bankers, healthcare professionals, and delivery executives.
We are also partnering with various organizations that are considered essential in this lockdown period to ensure their employees are provided a safe commuting option. We routinely have thousands of inquiries per day for emergency service support and we are fulfilling them whenever possible. We have been able to manage passes in certain scenarios and customers have managed passes in other instances.
How are you ensuring the mental well-being of all your employees given the current stressful times?
As we look ahead, it's not entirely clear when the central government will end the lockdown, but there is one thing we are sure about, we will not be laying off any employees during this difficult time.
We wanted to devise a progressive structure that would disproportionately impact the highest earners. We believe this is the most equitable and will help ensure the company remains clearly on the path to long-term success.
There will not be pay cuts for employees instead I will defer my entire salary until June and the Senior most leaders (VP and above) will defer 50 percent until June. This is not a salary cut, but simply a partial deferment temporarily.
The ground staff is the backbone of our business, their safety and wellbeing are a priority for us, we will hence not defer any salary for Fleet executives and CEC executives given their present economic realities.
In these trying times, our utmost priority is to minimize any disruptions in essential services, while ensuring safety for individual service providers, business partners, and contractors. We have further vowed to fully support any member of the organization who gets infected, by the means of full monthly wages, overseeing medical expenses through its medical insurance coverage policy, paid leaves over and above the policy, and a lump sum amount.
I feel that the fight against coronavirus requires private and public sector players to come together and ensure that we achieve normalcy and make this world safer for everyone
What are some new ways of working you have adopted in current COVID-19 times?
Teams are now officially getting into the groove in this new working reality. It is important to religiously follow daily stand-ups and staff meetings to ensure everyone is on the same page. We have seen a significant increase in usage of software tools like MS teams and slack with our teams working remotely.
What advice would you like to give business leaders in times of crisis?
It's probably the most fluid business crisis in recorded history given the various twists and turns. Never waste a crisis. Use it as a teaching moment and as an opportunity for the team to become closer together and work at an even greater productivity level.