Wicked Campers Inc. was founded right after the turn of the millenium by a former mechanic, John Webb. Back in October, last year, we were looking for a campervan to travel from Cairns to Sydney at the end of 2017. We went to our local Travel Agency to get everything sorted. One part of our booking was the Wicked camper van. A quick google search revealed that they rent out different types of vans with graffitis on it. We kinda liked the style (saying stuff like “do something cool, be different” etc.). Not looking further into the search results and paying them upfront was and still is our biggest regret.
We started our road trip up North in the city of Cairns. 5 days into the ride we experienced a flat tyre on the right front.
This was seen as a challenge by us and as a part of the experience, for none of us had to change a flat tyre to date (selling it as a part of the experience is also what Wicked does…). The troubles started when we wanted to get a new spare tyre. Wicked rejected the direct payment of the spare tyre (so they can save 15 bucks). Bad customer service! Also, we experienced another flat tyre. A day later.
This time on the left back. The tyre blew up while driving, and forced us to stop to avoid a crash in the outback – no cellphone signal btw. After replacing the tyre, Wicked sent us to three different tyre shops to get a new tyre – again, they wanted to save money and wouldn’t pay for the legally required tyres for this vehicle. Bad customer service – again!
Two tyre shops informed us that the van was fitted with illegal (!) and differently sized tyres! The aspect ratio of the tyres was 65 and 70 which made the car pretty dangerous while driving. On the other hand the load index of the tyres was 90 while the required load index was 95. These two facts led to unstable driving of the van and two flat tyres. This is not only careless but can be life-threatening for the passengers!
Nobody gives a f*ck
We talked to the people at Wicked during our travels (more than we would have liked) and they didn’t care at all. It is the way they treated us, sending us from tyre shop to tyre shop, which made us feeling like nobody cared about our incidents. We asked the owner for a refund as per his own contract terms, which has yet to be settled. As we are business students, we want to share with Wicked Campers Inc. how they could improve their service – without charging them for our ideas 😉
#1 Adapt your processes
When we had to get a new spare tyre, they sent us to a nearby tyre shop. It took 10+ phone calls with Wicked, before they agreed that their company account (which was setup in the tyre shop system) can be charged directly.
This discussion resulted in a 5 hour delay of our travel plans.
To improve the customer experience, we suggest to setup a standard procedure for flat tyres which includes payment of Wicked directly without charging the customer. Especially when you advertise flat tyres as part of your renting experience!
#2 Train your employees
While resolving our incident we have been in contact with several employees of Wicked. They were all pretty friendly, but when it came to resolving our problem they didn’t really know what to do. Right before arriving in Byron Bay we got the information that we can get a new tyre from a Wicked garage nearby. This turned out as a false information – it was only a pick-up point.
We suggest to train your employees to be able to offer better customer service and avoid many complaints in the long run.
#3 Trust and decentralize
From our experience, it is the Owner and CEO, John Webb, where pretty everything goes to. While being on the phone with Wicked’s Road Assistance, the employee always needed to phone John to discuss what to do. When placing our complaint, we got the information that we need to do so with John directly, by email. After returning the van and sending an email to John we had to wait one month and send two reminder emails to get a half-hearted response. This is stressful and inefficient – not only for the customer but also for the involved people (mainly John) as we believe.
John, train (see #2) and trust your employees more and decentralize your company to provide better service and make sure that your customers return to you because of positive memories they’ve got and perhaps recommend your services to their friends.
Don’t rent with them
Based on this article we highly insist on not signing a rental agreement with Wicked Campers Inc. Not only because of illegal vehicles and badly trained employees, but also because of the – partially – unacceptable paintings and slogans on the vans. We won’t do so ever again!