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Apr 20 2015

Getting stranded on the side of the highway, or even worse, on a dirt road far from civilization is one of a driver's worst fears. These fears have driven many consumers to seek various roadside assistance services for peace of mind when the time arises.

Some of the newer Roadside services, such as HONK and Urgent.ly, do not require a membership and offer their mobile apps for free. In the event of an unforeseen vehicle breakdown, these "On-Demand Roadside Assistance" companies can connect you with a tow truck driver nationwide, identify your location using your Smartphone’s GPS, and provide a max quote that the service will not exceed. 

On-demand roadside assistance apps are a great cushion for vehicle owners to have, but what if these services could provide more than a tow, tire change, and locksmith? What if they could help prevent some of the avoidable vehicle malfunctions that leave you on the side of the road in the first place?

Here are a few ideas for these applications that could really save some aggravation, making an even better experience for on-demand roadside assistance users and increasing their level of engagement.

Convenient vehicle maintenance recommendation notifications

on-demand-roadside-assistance-app-service-remindersAside from an unavoidable nail in the road or unfortunate lockout, there are many circumstances we can avoid simply by keeping up with basic vehicle maintenance. However, how often do we find ourselves searching through manuals to track down recommended OEM service reminders? Even though it's incredibly valuable information, many of us just don't think to do it, as it's not on the forefront of our minds.

How about an on-demand roadside assistance app that sends your phone notifications when you are due for an oil change or a part replacement. These notifications could prevent an inconvenient breakdown or potentially an accident depending on the severity of the neglected maintenance. An application that constantly provides additional value beyond its primary services is sure to grab the attention of its users.  

A list of known vehicle-specific defects

Most vehicles have a list of known defects and many will have some sort of recall during their lifetime - big or small - that the owner should be aware of. Recalls are the only known defects that the NHTSA requires owner notification, and often times we can look right past the post cards that arrive in our mailboxes.

Having an easily accessible list of common vehicle defects and recalls could be a very valuable element to an on-demand roadside service app. Not only would this be a great feature for these apps, but would keep users that don’t often call upon roadside service assistance engaged with the app for when they need it.  

A glossary for common symptom diagnosis

on-demand-roadside-assistance-vehicle-diagnosticsIt's always nice to have a mechanic to lean on when that check engine light comes on or our cars start acting up. Otherwise, we start self-diagnosing our vehicle problems by Googling the symptoms and end up more anxious than before from all the horror stories we find - much like playing doctor with a little help from WebMD.

Unfortunately not everyone has a trusted mechanic that they can confide in, making Google vehicle forum searches the only affordable and efficient resource. What if these vehicle service apps provided some insight for symptoms that the average vehicle owner is not familiar with, like what the check engine light could be indicating. An awesome on-demand roadside assistance app may implement a search tool that returns a list of potentially faulty parts based on the symptoms searched, as well as price points for each scenario. 

The business of roadside assistance will remain competitive as increasingly more advanced technology supports these innovative on-demand/usage-based solutions. There are a number of ways in which these apps can expand their offerings, a few of which we’ve named above. Though it may not seem beneficial for an on-demand roadside service app to help minimize vehicle breakdowns, it would certainly resonate with users and build brand loyalty for future needs.

What other features would you like to see with on-demand roadside service apps? Please share with us in the comments section below!

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