Many who neglected to maintain or bring their cars in for servicing during the pandemic will agree that Carput has proved to be a friend indeed. Throughout the lockdowns when most workshops were either closed or operating on limited capacity, we discovered first-hand that Eugene Tan, alongside his co-founders Mark Chew and Mike Kee, and their team of technicians, has been leading a revolution in roadside assistance by providing both direct support to consumers as well as on-demand reinforcement to various service centres through their mobile-app enterprise, allowing cars to be revived promptly.
Having recognised a long overdue need for reliable response to roadside emergencies and the perfect opportunity to digitalise roadside assistance, Eugene co-founded Carput in 2014 with the aim to make a change by leveraging technology and the human touch to create a larger network of accessible technicians and provide timely professional help, with special emphasis on customer service. Boasting an average response time of just 30 minutes, the company has grown from offering battery and flat tyre replacement to providing emergency fuel, towing, insurance renewal and EV charging.
HOW DID YOUR BUSINESS PERFORM THESE PAST TWO YEARS?
We’re thankful that we were not as badly affected as hotels, gyms, airlines, etc. Throughout the pandemic, many workshops were closed, and car maintenance was neglected, so many people had to find alternatives, causing the demand for automotive services to go digital. This has led to more people finding out about us.
HOW DO YOU THINK CARPUT HAS MADE A DIFFERENCE?
We are more in touch directly with the customers, and that’s how we can keep the prices low and immediately capture the market. We prefer the business-to-consumer model because it’s just cleaner, easier.
YOU’VE ALSO PLACED SPECIAL EMPHASIS ON CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH A HUMAN TOUCH. PLEASE ELABORATE.
People often think that having an app means zero human touch, very autonomous, but when it comes to car breakdowns, we’re talking about being there on time, making sure that our customer service is great, even on the phone. When we say that we will be there in 45 mins, we make sure that we’re there within the specified time; if we’re going to be late, we make sure to have the decency to call and notify our customers and allow them to decide whether to proceed, cancel or reschedule. There needs to be empathy in customer service, and we believe that no technology can ever replace that.
WITH MORE AND MORE NEW CAR TECHNOLOGIES BEING INTRODUCED, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO KEEP YOUR SERVICES UP TO DATE?
Earlier this year, when the pandemic was raging, my partners and I took some time to review our business and decided that we needed to keep abreast of new technologies such as electric vehicles. As of now, we are laying down the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging in anticipation of a rise in the electric car market. It’s good to have a head start. It’s also a step forward for humanity in reducing our carbon footprint.
Eugene uses a shirt from Moschino