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would you characterize the service Zipcar provides? With which

companies or services does it compete? What role does it play in the competitive
landscape? What are its critical success factors?

Zipcar is the world's largest American membership-based car sharing and car club service offering
company providing car reservations to its members, billable by the hour or day. It is an alternative to
traditional car rental and car ownership. The company shares Zipcars in different States of USA, Canada
and UK. The company also has presence on over 230+ college campuses at universities across North
America. Members can reserve Zipcars online or by phone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Reservations can be made minutes or up to a year in advance. Zipcar members have automated access to
Zipcars using an access card called a Zipcard, which works with the car's technology to unlock the door,
where the keys are already located inside. The cars are dropped off at the pickup location after use.
With which companies or services does it compete?
Zipcars main competitor and rival was a Seattle-based company Flexcar. In the fall 2007 Zipcar purchased
Flexcar. In April 2010, Zipcar also bought London-based car-sharing firm Streetcar in its latest bid to
expand across Europe. Rental companies like Hertz, Enterprise Rent-A-Car and U-Haul are beginning to
form competitive hourly rental programs, that car compete with Zipcar. I also found a competing company
in NYC and Boston called Mint Car. Their web-site looks very similar to Zipcar and the service they
provide is the same.
What role does it play on its competitive landscape?
In an interview of January 13, 2008 Zipcar chief executive Scott Griffith while speaking with Globe
reporter Nicole C. Wong mentioned: With our success, we're going to see more entrants into the category.
The one thing that really is a benefit from the merger of Flexcar and Zipcar is we're now at a company size
of $100 million, which allows us to continue to invest in technology and brand marketing that I think will
put us at the top of the...


What mechanisms does Zipcar have in place to manage customer behavior (at the
time of the case)? What, specifically, are these mechanisms intended to accomplish?

What can Zipcar do to encourage customers to return cars on-time?

What are the pros and cons of each of these options for achieving the theoretical goal of
100% on-time returns? When discussing the pros and cons, consider the effects of these
options on the customer with the car (such as Sal Fishman), the customer waiting for the
car (such as Anita Karr), and the company (Zipcar). Please be comprehensive; Zipcar has
many possible options for trying to affect customers car return behavior. (You may have
some examples from personal experience of how companies have tried to influence your
co-production behavior that could be relevant here.)

Alternative 2 Pros And Cons

Alternative 3 Pros And Cons

Alternative 4 Pros And Cons

Alternative 5 Pros and Cons

How would you expect each of these options, if having been implemented at the time
of the case, to influence Sal Fishmans decision whether to stay longer at his
interview or return the car by 3:30pm?


If Sal had instead rented a car from a company such as Hertz or Alamo, for example,
would your answers to this question be the same or different and why?
What is your recommendation for how Zipcar should address the lateness issue?
Why do you feel your solution is the best overall?

1. Discuss the three roles of service customers (productive resources,

contributors to service quality and satisfaction, and competitors) in
the context of Zipcar. What roles are customers expected to play in
co-creating the Zipcar service?

2. What mechanisms does Zipcar have in place to manage behavior?

What actions are these mechanisms intended to influence?

Few mechanisms that Zipcar has in place to influence customer behavior are:

a) Fee Structure: They charged yearly membership fee to ensure a fixed

revenue from a customer. Variable fee was charged to influence need
based reservation from customer.
b) Reservation System: Zipcar vehicles can be booked as early as a year
in advance to minutes before the members need the vehicle. The
booking can be done by a simple call or through online reservation
system. Hence the reservation system provided the flexibility to the
c) Sense of responsibility in customers: as in case, Sal Fishman
considered it is important to inform Zipcar that he might need to
extend his reservation time. Such a responsible behavior is rare to find
in customers. It is Zipcar which has ingrained in the mind of members,
the importance of adhering to deadline of returning the vehicles to
their designated parking areas.

Recommended adjustments:
1) Send the notification to customer an hour before his reservation
expires. In case customer cannot confirm the return of vehicle, arrange
a backup plan for customers who are going to use that car.
2) Penalty system in normal plans to influence the late returning behavior
of customers.
3) Create a plan under which customer can book the car for flexible hours
and return deadline doesnt need to be adhered strictly. Additional
charges to book under this plan should be taken.

Not needed:
As customer is a co-producer in creation of a service, we understand that if customer fails
in his role/responsibility, he affects
1) His own experience
2) Other customers experience or
3) Companys productivity

In case of Zipcar, if a customer fails to return the vehicle to its designated place, he
affects the next customer as specified in case (Anita karr and Sal fishman).
3. What adjustments, if any, would you recommend that the company
make to these mechanisms? That is, how could Zipcar enhance
customer participation?
4. Think of a time that a service firm successfully attempted to
influence your actions before, after, or during the service (other than
increasing or decreasing your purchase behavior).
a. Name a service firm that successfully got you to do something, take
action, behave in certain way.
b. Briefly describe the service.
c. Which behavior was the organization trying to influence?
d. What mechanism(s) were used in the attempt to influence your
e. In your opinion, why was the attempt successful?

5. Think of a time that a service firm was not successful in attempting

to influence your behavior - here again, NOT purchase behavior but
other behavior before, after, or during the service.
a. Name a service firm that was not successful in getting you to do
b. Briefly describe the service.
c. Which behavior was the organization trying to influence?
d. What mechanism(s) were used in the attempt to influence your
e. In your opinion, why was the attempt unsuccessful?

Summary - Zipcar

Started in Boston in 1999, Provides car sharing service

Present in 21 cities & Owns more than 400 cars

30000 members growing at an avg. of 1500 members per month

Online registration with an initial fee of $25 and $100 refundable deposit

Annual membership fee ranges from $50 to $250 depending on the plan
type (occasional driving, extra 50, extra 75)

Reservations done on call or online

Incentive to customers for proper maintenance of cars

Members are responsible for returning car to its designated parking


Summary Anita Karr

Lives in Cambridge

Booked a Zipcar VW Jetta Jericho

She has to pick the car up at 04:00 pm at Charles hotel

She has to pick her sister up at 04:30 pm and take her to her debut
performance in rhode island by 06:00pm

Summary Sal Fishman

Another customer of Zipcar

Has hired the car Anita is supposed to pick up at 04:00 pm

He picked up the car at 01:00pm for the interview and was supposed to
return the car at 03:30 pm

The interview was not going as per the designated schedule

He is in a dilemma whether to return the car or extend the reservation


Case problem

Whether Sal should continue with the interview?

Whether he should return the car?

Case analysis
Sal Fishmans point of view

He is in the middle of an interview

Reservation period(03:30pm) will be violated if he continues with

the interview

He tried to contact Zipcar and extend the reservation period but

was interrupted

He also has the option of rescheduling the interview and returning

the car

Anita Karrs point of view

She has to pick her sister up and drive her to Rhode island along with her kit for
her debut performance

She was supposed to take possession of the car at 04:00 pm

When she reached the Charles hotel Zipcar parking space, there
was no car

She got anxious and called zipcar

Zipcars point of view

VW jetta jericho, hired by Mr. Fishman was supposed to be returned

by 03:30 pm

The returened car was supposed to be taken over by Ms. Karr

Zipcar still has no idea about the series of incidents going on

In case Anita doesnt gets the car, there needs to be a service

recovery done for Ms. Kar

Conceptual framework understanding business process

Possession-processing It is actually about the services that are directed at

physical possession

Zipcar lies in the co-ordinate of possession processing


Fisherman reschedules his interview and returns the car to Zipcar and from
Zipcar Anita takes the possession of the car

Anita informs the unavailability of the car at the parking lot to Zipcar, Zipcar
tries to contact Fisherman, if he is not going to return the car on time they will
provide Anita with service recovery

2nd solution is the optimal solution because both the customers

will be satisfied

Assumption made both the customers are equally important and

interview for Fisherman is important to him

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