Modo 360: What members told us at the AGM and a look at what’s ahead for Modo’s team
Member-owners attending this year’s Annual General Meeting gave Modo’s staff and board a wealth of feedback.
As in years past, they could speak from the floor of the meeting, but this year they were also encouraged to share their experiences and suggestions with Modo staff at our first-ever Modo Fair and through a feedback form inviting their ideas, dreams and visions for Modo in the year 2025.
Below, Modo management shares an update on each department, what’s on the horizon and a synopsis of what they heard from members that night:
THE FUTURE – Nathalie Baudoin, CEO
It was my first Modo AGM and my first chance to really connect with Modo’s dedicated member-owners. And I must say, I wasn’t disappointed! I was very impressed by the calibre of people who attended, for their passion and dedication for Modo. And of course I was very moved to see the amalgamation voted unanimously on both sides of the Strait!
It’s been an intense ride since I came on board as Modo’s first CEO last spring. My first task was to get to know the staff and board and to meet as many members as I could, while thoroughly immersing myself in all things Modo. From the start, I was impressed by the integrity and wisdom of the Modo team. And I also saw a lot of potential to take our business to the next level so we could continue to compete in an ever-more competitive market. So I stepped on the gas!
I’ll let my team share how each department is charging ahead to improve the quality and efficiency of our service as we grow (see below).
At the AGM, we asked members to imagine Modo’s future, 10 years from today. What will we have accomplished by 2025? Dream big, we said.
And dream big they did – from self-driving cars, dash cams, a fleet full of EVs and expanded service in the suburbs (Langley especially) to one-way carsharing, ridesharing, bikesharing and even Hovercraft-sharing! Several members said they want the majority of the city population to be Modo members and for Modo cars to be able park anywhere, even at meters.
As we continue to add vehicles our fleet network (including 23 in Victoria in April!), our first job is to step up our technology and our marketing
, all the while seeking ways to take our already stellar customer service to new heights.
I am also looking forward to being a loud voice in the upcoming transit referendum. Our livelihood depends on good transit and anything we can do to reduce congestion in cities is a worthy battle. When people can commute by transit, they become ideal candidates for carsharing. And we know that one Modo car takes 9–13 cars off the road, so let’s bring in new members more quickly and spread the good word.
Read Nathalie’s Report from the CEO from Modo’s Annual Report for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, published in January 2015.
FLEET – Doug Dunn, Director of Operations:
It’s going to be a busy year with lots of exciting things happening with our fleet. Over the past several years we’ve made substantial upgrades, reducing the average age of the fleet to just under 3.5 years, increasing fuel efficiency, stepping up our cleaning schedule and adding more snow tires during the winter. And we’ll continue to do more.
In fact, this year we are doubling our cleaning budget in response to member feedback. We’re also encouraging members to report every time they encounter a dirty car or evidence that a pet has been transported outside of a carrier (email firstname.lastname@example.org with the date and time of your booking, a description and a photo if you can).
Further, we’ve increased the cleaning incentive: if you take the car through the carwash or give it a vacuum, email the receipt and not only will we reimburse you, we’ll also give you 1–2 hours of free driving for your time.
Each year the proportion of vehicles that are hybrid or fully electric increases, this year reaching 15%, or 53. We’re now up to 351 vehicles – a number that keeps climbing – out of which 35 are minivans, 23 are SUVs/CUVs, 11 are trucks and four are cargo vans.
Coming up over the next year, we’ll be rolling out a new on-board technology that will give us much more robust data regarding our fleet and member usage, helping us improve the carsharing experience. We’ll also be busy with the launch of Modo in Victoria, sending over vehicles with Modo technology and branding.
As well, we’ll be adding a new EV – our first “fun” EV! Keep on eye on our monthly e-newsletter for more on that! And look for the how-to video on how to operate the Nissan Leaf very soon!
MEMBER LOYALTY – Nicole Huk, Member Loyalty & HR Manager
Our team had a great time meeting member-owners who joined us for the Modo Fair. We spend so much of our time connecting with members on the phone and on email it’s nice to be able to meet you outside of the office, face-to-face.
Overall, the member-owners we spoke with were really happy with our service and felt Modo really supports them in their lives. We also heard from members that they were looking forward to seeing Modo and Victoria amalgamate and couldn’t wait to have an easier process to share cars in both places. We even had members tell us they were eager to volunteer their special skills, proving again the special nature of a member-owned co-operative.
We are working in partnership with the Fleet team to take our member experience to the next level. We are looking to simplify our systems and make it easier for members to communicate and get what they need from us. We also plan to do some training and development with the staff to make sure we are meeting the needs and demands of our members.
One fun thing we think you’ll enjoy is a Google map we’re creating that marks all the gas stations in Metro Vancouver and beyond.
We are very excited about the new direction here at Modo and there is a renewed passion and enthusiasm on the team.
Read a post from Nicole about why she renamed her department the Member Loyalty Team.
TECHNOLOGY – Karen New, Director of Information Systems and Business Intelligence
At the Technology booth, the tech team showed off our new online registration system, and our upcoming mobile app for iOS and Android. Online registration has already helped us admit new members 50% faster than ever before, and we hope our app will be even more successful.
The app is being designed by Invoke, the same digital agency that built the social media dashboard Hootsuite — and the Invoke team joined us at the Fair. They’ve been business members since last fall, so this was their first Modo AGM, and they were grateful for the unique opportunity to meet our most dedicated member-owners.
Members got to see several of the test screens, which gave them an idea of the features they can expect. We heard great feedback about a new feature that will allow members to set a reminder for an upcoming booking, so that they’ll receive a notification, say, 30 minutes before their booking begins.
Our technology team is also preparing to launch a next-generation onboard hardware product this fall, and accelerating our overall pace of software development. Already we’re building more projects than ever before, and we’re learning to move even faster.
By the end of this year, members should be able to update their own credit card data online, and customize the channels by which we communicate with them. We’re also working hard on making sure data integration with Victoria goes smoothly. It’s a very exciting time to watch our software grow!
Besides software, I also wear the hat of “Data Queen.” (Writing it down makes me think of an alternate universe where Brent Spiner replaced Freddie Mercury: “We appear to be the champions, Captain.”) I analyze vehicle usage and other metrics which help us ensure the profitability of our business, so that we can keep growing and improving our service.
Pricing falls under this domain, and so I also talked with several members who had concerns about our recent price changes. What I heard most often was that our rates become too expensive as our trips get longer — or, put another way, that our volume discounts (e.g. dropping the distance charge from 40¢/km to 20¢/km after the first 40km, or capping the time charge after 10 hours) ought to get cheaper faster. The next time we review our pricing, we’ll certainly consider this perspective.
MARKETING – Hilary Henegar, Director of Marketing:
A big theme we heard was, to paraphrase, “we love the service, it works great and you guys do a super job, and… now it’s time to crank up the marketing so we can bring more people into the co-op.”
Responding from the podium, Nathalie explained that several years ago, when the co-op was in a more precarious position financially, the decision was made to drastically reduce expenses and focus our co-op’s resources on upgrading the fleet and streamlining operations. Now, we are financially secure and have a service worthy of more substantial marketing investment, so over the last year we have begun to put more resources into the Marketing Department.
The marketing budget for FY2014–2015 is substantially bigger than in year’s past, but nowhere near the size of our competitors’. But, as Nathalie says, because we are local, we can be smarter and more nimble.
At the Modo Fair, members got to a test drive of Modo’s first major marketing investment: a new app and upgraded booking experience, set to launch this spring. “The battle of shared mobility will be fought with technology,” said Nathalie, and technology isn’t cheap. So most of this year’s marketing budget will pay for the app, which promises to improve the member experience. Additionally, an upcoming Member Referral Campaign will give members tools and incentives to serve as Modo ambassadors.
Recently, we worked with our branding agency Cause+Affect to refresh the brand, updating our colours, our photography and our language. The new brand is a bit bolder than long-time members may be used to and more elegant.
Coming up this spring, be on the look out for the launch of our new web series “Let’s Go!”, which will feature local celebrities, restauranteurs, comedians and other familiar faces around town adventuring and GSD’ing with Modo.
Next fiscal year, the investment will be in advertising, at a level Modo has never invested before.