Insights: Self-drive holidays and roadside assistance abroad
The summer means self-drive holidays and the summer holiday is the busiest period of the year for SOS International – amongst others due to the many motorists who experience their car break down abroad.
Below you find a selection of facts and information on roadside assistance abroad from SOS International.
The greatest requirement for roadside assistance in the summer months
In the course of 2018, the SOS International Nordic alarm centres assisted in more than 28,000 cases concerning roadside assistance abroad.
The handling of roadside assistance abroad is characterised by significant season fluctuations. June, July and August are traditionally busy months and 2018 was no exception. 52% of all cases on roadside assistance abroad occurred during June, July and August 2018.
Our four Nordic alarm centres for roadside assistance received more than 710,000 calls during June, July and August 2018.
Particular need for roadside assistance in Germany
Nordic motorists typically require roadside assistance in the neighbouring Nordic countries as well as on their way south through Europe. Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland together with Germany, Austria, France and Italy make up the injury countries in 74% of all roadside assistances provided abroad in June, July and August.
Most often, Nordic motorists take the longitudinal German and Austrian motorways when heading for holiday destinations such as Italy and France. As many of the motorists travelling south drive through Germany this is, therefore, often where SOS International provides assistance.
By way of example, SOS International often provides assistance on the large, European motorways A9 and A7 in Germany. These routes are also characterised by heavy traffic, risk of queues and traffic accidents.
SOS International encourages motorists to stay updated on the traffic situation, such as roadworks, through local, national services (websites and apps) in preparation for their journey, but also while travelling to obtain the most up-to-date information.
One example is the official Austrian service www.asfinag.at which is also available as an app in English, French and German.
Get helpful advice for your next self-drive holidays:
Peak periods on roads
There is no doubt that the summer is a peak period with the many extra motorists on the roads. The increased volume of motorists and motorists breaking down adds a lot of pressure on roadside assistance providers and workshops around Europe.
Often, it feels extra unfortunate when you run into a busy workshop on the way to your holiday or on your way home, when work beckons. SOS International encourages all motorists to contact SOS International’s alarm centre as quickly as possible. This often leads to a smoother assistance for the travellers.
For example, SOS International’s assistance coordinators who are proficient in several languages make sure to proactively contact workshops in the course of the case handling by way of following up on the cases. Another example is that SOS International works to ensure that the motorists may continue their journey in their own vehicle. This gives a better customer experience and also positively affects the claims costs.
This is how SOS International prepares for the summer high season
The preparations for the summer high season starts already in early spring. Adequate manning is paramount to the alarm centre during the busy summer period and, thus, recruitment, training and development of competences of both new and experienced staff is in focus throughout the spring.
Preparations in the international roadside assistance network
A close and proactive dialogue also takes place with SOS International’s foreign partners and suppliers in relation to towing, rental vehicles, etc., around Europe. This close dialogue ensures an operational and volume-based balancing of expectations.
To ensure punctual assistance and a smooth case handling, SOS International is in an ongoing process of optimising its network and ensuring quality as well as continuity in the chain of supply.
We have, for example, for many years used two German partners in the provision of roadside assistance. As previously mentioned, Germany is generally one of the largest markets for roadside assistance and the close contact with our partners means that the suppliers have a better understanding of the insurance terms, expectations and needs of Nordic motorists.
SOS International has also entered into long-term collaboration with rental companies which ensures the supply of rental vehicles during peak periods. These long-term collaborations are supplied by local agreements. This year, SOS International has entered into yet another agreement with a rental company to better meet the demand.
In relation to the home transport of vehicles, SOS International has entered into agreements with a number of central suppliers and these agreements thus ensure the home transports as and when the need arises.
Roadside assistance, rental vehicle and home transport
In the summer period, SOS International primarily assists Nordic motorists by providing services in 1) roadside assistance and towing 2) rental vehicles and 3) home transport of vehicle.
SOS International continuously focuses on the customer journey. This means that whether the motorist requires assistance within all three service categories or requires only on-the-spot assistance, SOS International ensures the ongoing communication with the motorist as well as our network partners.
The aim is to make the unforeseen stop as short as possible and to ensure that the motorist feels safe throughout the assistance – from the first contact til the case is closed and he/she is able to continue his/her journey.