April Eaton, Corporate Relations Manager
Please provide a little bit of the history of your company and how it became involved in offering roadside assistance programs.
Allstate was founded in 1931, as part of Sears, Roebuck & Co., and became a publicly traded company in 1993. At the time, the initial public offering of Allstate was the largest in U.S. history. On June 30, 1995, Allstate became a totally independent company.
Based in Northbrook, Ill., Allstate is the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households. Allstate offers insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies and Allstate exclusive financial representatives, as well as via www.allstate.com and 1-800 Allstate. Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help consumers protect what they have and better prepare for tomorrow.
In 2008, Allstate Roadside Services (ARS) emerged when Allstate acquired General Electric’s Partnership Marketing Group and integrated ARS with Allstate Motor Club, one of the nation’s top motor clubs with more than 50 years of roadside experience. Allstate now offers a suite of roadside services plans to suit a variety of coverage and payment needs. Services include:
· Allstate Motor Club, is a membership-based service that provides reliable, emergency road assistance, 24/7. Customers can select the plan and the price that works best for their needs.
· Good Hands Roadside Assistance is a new Allstate service that gives customers free access to Allstate’s 24/7 Roadside Network should your car break down for any reason. This service is available to anyone, not just Allstate customers and offers no annual fees. Instead, users of Good Hands Roadside Assistance pay only for the service they need when they need it – in most cases just $75 per tow and $50 per other service.
· Towing and Labor Coverage is a service that is typically available as part of an Allstate auto insurance policy. For a nominal fee, the coverage applies to each individual car when purchased with an Allstate auto policy.
Our network includes 12,000 certified service providers with over 50,000 roadside servicing vehicles, serving more than 22 million auto customers. Allstate wants every driver to be safe on the road, so drivers can be in Good Hands with one of our roadside assistance programs even if they’re not an Allstate policy holder.
How do you distinguish your product offerings from your competitors? What makes you different?
Allstate Roadside Services does not believe in ‘cookie cutter’ approaches to our roadside programs, whether we’re working with business-to-business relationships or developing a service based on customer needs. Allstate Roadside Services has more than 50 years of experience developing customized, branded roadside assistance programs for a wide variety of relationships. Those businesses include many auto original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or dealers and rental car companies. Each roadside service is tailored to meet their unique requirements and, of course meet the needs of drivers who rely on roadside assistance should they find themselves stranded or broken down on the side of the road. Our customized solutions have proven their ability to enhance customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
At the core of each customized program is a genuine passion for roadside assistance and a business philosophy that embraces continuous change and drives innovation. Allstate Roadside Services’ Reinventing Roadside approach fosters standard-setting contributions to the industry with a constant and purposeful concentration of identifying new ways to reinvent the roadside experience.
Where do you focus your sales efforts when it comes to selling this service? EG: direct sales via dealers/agents; bundled with service contracts, etc. What would you consider your primary sales channel to be?
Within the Automotive Service Industry, Allstate Roadside Services is a leading company with scale that has been successful with business-to-business and direct-to-consumer services through a variety of channels. We manage more than 150 corporate relationships, representing millions of customers in industries such as auto clubs, automotive after market, auto OEM, car rental companies, insurance companies, banks, wireless services companies, membership associations and credit card issuers. Our program offerings are customized based upon the specific relationship requirements, while keeping in mind the emergency service drivers/customers need while on the road. There are many threats to a driver’s safety on the road – a flat tire, empty gas tank, engine break down. Allstate offers a suite of roadside service plans to ensure every driver is safe, whether they are an Allstate customer or not.
How important is technology to your business? Where could technology add even more efficiencies to your products and processes?
Advancing new technology to enhance the roadside experience has been the cornerstone of our Reinventing Roadside philosophy. Allstate Roadside Services has been a leader in offering new technology as part of roadside program servicing. We introduced Assistance-On-the-Go in 2009 with the release of the industry’s first auto OEM branded mobile application for roadside assistance. This program was created to capitalize on the rapid advancements of mobile technology and enthusiastic adoption of smart phones for the advantage of the companies we work with. Since then, and many application releases later, Allstate Roadside Services has established the roadside mobile app as a staple of a car owner’s experience.
Our smart phone apps enable users to request roadside assistance at the touch of a button. The application functions to identify the user and vehicle, to establish the caller’s location by GPS, and to triage the service event. After dispatch, the application confirms the service dispatch and estimated time of arrival. Aside from adding speed and efficiency to Call Center connectivity, our smart phone app capabilities can easily direct customers to authorized service centers, as well as offer value-adding benefits like concierge and/or emergency services. Our roadside assistance smart phone apps can also help improve service accuracy and speed, thus improving the customer experience and leading to increased levels of loyalty and program retention.
We are also looking at new and better ways to aid our service providers, such as mobile application dispatching tools that automatically upload to a device with the specific vehicle towing requirements, or unique servicing needs at the time of dispatch to assure the proper equipment and tools are immediately deployed. These are fully integrated with our dispatching system and are matched with Web-based tools to monitor and administer both individual and collective roadside assistance service event progress along with dashboards to track overall performance.
Where do you see the most growth potential for roadside assistance products in the future? What changes, if any, do you believe the product will see in the next 5-10 years?
We believe that the demand and need for roadside services will continue to be strong. Allstate Roadside Services’ approach is grounded in our belief that technology, innovation and a new approach to the customer experience will set the industry standard in the future.