Mondial for roadside assistance
France’s Mondial Assistance Group is gearing up to revolutionise the breakdown service sector in India
The services offered depend on the benefits it signs up with the carmaker. It starts with roadside repair, onward journey, replacement taxi, medical assistance (co-ordination with a doctor or a hospital), legal coordination, onward airfare, hotel stay (up to three nights and four days), evacuation, repatriation etc. “It all depends on the agreement we have with the particular carmaker. We have eight clients currently and the arrangement differs from client to client. The conditions and riders can be customised for a particular service. Maybe in a year’s time we may go directly to the end user,” said Rajesh Sethi, chief executive officer of Mondial Assistance India.
“We have been in India for the past year and began our operations with Ford. We have moved from a three-people to a 185-people company within a year and from one automotive client to eight clients now. We have built three verticals in India. Mondial Roadside Assistance, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) where we carry out CRM activities for IFFCO Tokio for its motor insurance, and travel assistance,” said Sethi.
He is confident that many of the existing local road assistance companies in India cannot match the Mondial infrastructure and services available countrywide. Compared to their B2C approach, Mondial is following a B2B model but will later enter B2C. Honda is a prime example of a typical Mondial client. In the event of a breakdown, a Honda car owner dials the toll-free Honda roadside assistance number which is actually Mondial’s. “We are in the background. The customer is only aware of the Honda roadside assistance,” said Sethi.
Mondial’s reach in India is across 75 cities and will soon expand to 100 by end-December 2008, both directly and through franchise tie-ups. Without disclosing the exact amount invested into the Indian arm, Sethi confirmed that “millions of dollars have been invested in the company in India”.
What sets the company apart from other operators is that it has deployed for the first time in the country a set of flatbed recovery vehicles in its fleet. “This is just the beginning. Our investment will be need based. If we think a particular city requires a certain infrastructure, we shall do it overnight. Most global manufacturers know about our service as Mondial works with more than 40 automakers worldwide,” he said.
He noted the company has been getting enquiries from end users but it currently does not provide such services. “There’s a huge opportunity and we are building our business step by step. We want to build a robust and strong platform. This business is not only about investing in vehicles and people; a huge amount goes into the assistance platform and back end IT support. We have 120 automotive technicians at the call centre and another 150 people in 19 cities for roadside assistance.
As demand grows, we will gear up to the next level,” Sethi said. He admitted that Mondial India does not have the same vehicles here that it has in other countries “We do not have this kind of fleet across India. Looking at Indian conditions and the service standards, we increased our investment in hiring 150 people, invested money in their technical training and also behavioral patterns. A person may be a very good technician but in the hour of need he or she should be of good assistance to the customer,” he said. Sethi aims to make his company India’s largest assistance company in the automotive sector and also a player in Integrated Customer Contact Management (ICCM).
The Group’s strength according to him “is not travel, roadside or automotive assistance but ICCM. We understand the need of customers from pre-sales to post-sales, of managing him and to cater to his need. We need to ensure that we are not only able to retain the customer when the customer wants to upgrade his car but also when the upgradation has to happen, it happens within the same brand. That also increases the revenue opportunity for the customer," he signed off.
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