Trends & Insights

The Seven Biggest After-Sales Challenges for E-Scooters in the Urban Mobility Market

By Eduard Falkenreck - November 06, 2019

Micromobility is set to become one of the largest growth markets in the coming years. Highly populated metropolises in particular are desperately looking for new ways for people in urban areas to enjoy flexible mobility while maintaining their commitment to preserving the environment.

Transport research has long shown that a large proportion of private transport consists of short distances: about half of all journeys made by vehicles are less than five kilometers. In addition to public transport, new modes of transport will become increasingly attractive over the next few years to help bridge this last mile. Urban mobility is the buzzword on everyone’s lips and e-scooters play an important role in this context.

In this blog post, we take a close look at the biggest challenges in after-sales service for e-scooter manufacturers and e-scooter rental companies.

E-Scooters as an Expression of New Urban Mobility

In large cities, a battle has long been waged for the multi-million micromobility market. The attractiveness of new forms of mobility such as e-hailing or bike sharing have also paved the way for a new means of transport: the e-scooter.

Due to the boom in e-scooter sharing services in large cities, thousands of locals and tourists come into daily contact with this uncomplicated form of movement. The initial success of e-scooter start-ups demonstrates that many people enjoy using this simple form of micromobility. With the e-scooter, they avoid traffic jams during peak times while simultaneously enjoying the sense of freedom as they travel.

There are several reasons why e-scooters in the urban mobility market have great potential to become one of the defining means of transport for the micromobility of tomorrow. They are easy to use for customers, relatively cheap to buy, offer an environmentally friendly attitude to life, provide genuine driving pleasure and allow rapid progress in densely populated metropolises.

At the same time, it is fair to assume that many cities will adapt their infrastructure to new forms of micromobility in the coming years in order to mitigate the threat of traffic congestion.

E-Scooters as a Challenge for After-Sales Service

For manufacturers of e-scooters and ride sharing providers, this is music to the ears. At the same time, the rapid growth of this new product segment is confronting them with new hurdles. After all, in order for e-scooters not to merely be a short-lived hype, they must also meet customer needs in the long term.

It is therefore important to adapt the after-sales service to the specific requirements of e-scooters. The seven biggest after-sales challenges for e-scooter manufacturers and rental companies:

1. Different distribution channels increase process complexity

The boom in e-scooters will lead to you reaching the end customer through many different sales channels: from the online shop to the consumer electronics retailer, major discounters, DIY stores, specialist bike retailers, scooter rental companies and sharing providers.

The after-sales management of the products must also be geared to this. For example, we know from the telecommunications sector what complex after-sales processes tend to arise in a differentiated distribution structure.

2. Rough operating conditions put product quality to the test

In the real world, electric scooters will be exposed to very different loads. Customers will subject the devices to a “reality check” under extreme weather conditions. The batteries will have to prove their durability in both cold and hot weather.

The wheels, chassis and frame will have to withstand the vibrations of difficult surfaces, sensitive components may come into contact with extreme humidity, the scooter may become dirty or even get damaged in minor or major accidents. These unpredictable factors can have a negative impact on the customer experience.

3. Product size and weight require special logistics solutions

When it comes to returns, e-scooters pose special challenges to reverse logistics. If, for example, they are returned to a discount store, this can cause logistical problems on site. The bulky equipment can be returned by the customer in a very dirty state, making it difficult to handle for employees in the market.

In addition, there may not be adequate packaging available. If the e-scooter is no longer even drivable, the question arises as to how it can be moved and stored by personnel who have not been trained to deal with such issues. If the e-scooter was purchased via an online shop, the shop must clarify how it is to be packaged when returned and how transport costs can be kept to a minimum.

4. E-scooter repairs and servicing require competent technicians

Well-trained specialists are required for servicing and repairs. This begins with determining what is wrong with the device, which is often poorly described by the customer as a technical layman.

For this reason, the service staff must be familiar with both the technology itself and the possible faults of the respective e-scooter model. This way, they will be able to carry out a complete fault check of the various parts and then be able to repair it. The same applies to customer returns: these require a complete, professional overhaul of the scooter before it can be sold again.

5. Safety-relevant components increase service complexity

You need a team of service staff that can genuinely provide professional maintenance of scooters. Sensitive, safety-relevant components such as brakes or batteries pose particular challenges when it comes to servicing electric scooters.

The brakes on electric scooters must be adjusted by experienced employees with electromechanical knowledge, while electrotechnical knowledge is required for the correct handling of batteries.

6. Professional service and repair workshops are rare

The service centers must also be geared to the requirements of e-scooters; something that has been rare thus far. Used batteries are subject to safety regulations that must be observed during handling and storage. Special test branches are required for the functional testing of electric scooters.

In addition, the weight of the person has a significant influence on the driving behavior of electric scooters, which is why a computer-assisted function test must also be carried out at the end of the repair cycle.

7. Ride sharing companies require fleet renewal solutions

Ride sharing platforms need to renew e-scooter fleets in regular intervals. When replacing existing models with the latest e-scooters there is still a lot of value to gain from the products being replaced. In order to maximize the financial value of outdated fleets, ride sharing platforms seek to refurbish and remarket exchanged e-scooters in secondary markets.

Hence, efficient solutions for reworking cosmetic and mechanical parts will be needed combined with reliable testing procedures that ensure that road safety standards are met. This requires efficient and scalable processes, as well as flexible and experienced partners.

Enjoy Success in the Urban Mobility Market with After-Sales Service

Many manufacturers will reap the benefits of the e-scooter boom in the coming years. In order to be able to survive in this lucrative and highly competitive market in the long run, however, more than just product innovations and sales figures will matter. It will also be important for manufacturers to establish their brand through an amazingly positioned after-sales area.

Lots of manufacturers understand the value of a professional after-sales service for their business growth and look into after-sales solutions that help improve the overall customer experience. As we draw to a close, here are some tips to help you:

  • Establish your own repair centers in the individual sales markets or cooperate at local level with repair centers geared to e-bikes. This is similar to what has been practised for years in other sectors e.g. the maintenance of professional coffee machines.
  • Adapt your logistics to the challenges of e-scooters e.g. by optimizing your packaging to their requirements and looking for ways to minimize transport costs and meet safety requirements at the same time.
  • Expand your customer service. You can avoid unnecessary returns by having multi-level professional troubleshooting processes i.e. level 1 and level 2.
  • Finally, set up a cross-country service process that helps you better orchestrate your overall workflow, make it more transparent and ensure your after-sales service is scalable.

Do you need further support in optimizing your after-sales service? B2X offers you proven after-sales solutions that are tailored to the complex needs of the urban mobility market. Here you can find more information about our after-sales solutions for e-scooters and other urban mobility products!


Trends & Insights

About the Author

Eduard Falkenreck

As a business development expert in the after-sales industry, Eduard Falkenreck is constantly looking for customer service innovation – especially in new industries such as urban mobility and healthcare.