Anyone who’s ever had a car break down or run out of gas can empathize with the related frustration, concern, and eagerness to get a quick resolution. Corey Brundage, founder and CEO of HONK Technologies experienced all those feelings – and one more—an “ah-ha” moment that technology could change that experience for the better.
In 2013, Corey launched HONK to bring the reliability and visibility of the ride-sharing experience to the towing and roadside assistance business. While technology was central to his business premise of cutting the average wait time in half, he also knew what would make or break his business was reliable human empathy. Therefore, this high tech business was founded with a culture-first value system, ensuring care for its team that would, in turn, care for its customers.
HONK Technologies, the on-demand platform for connecting motorists, towing professionals, and insurance carriers, is transforming the roadside assistance industry, one breakdown at a time. Its unique business model has recently attracted $18 million in funding. Money it has used to expand its partner network of more than 75,000 service vehicles nationwide. But, disrupting the 100-year-old —and strikingly old-school, paper maps based —monopoly of traditional services would take more than Uber-like digitization, and speed; HONK needed a consistently reliable customer care team to keep ahead of demand.
Early on, HONK hired Rob Snodgrass as its VP of People and Talent to help quickly scale a growth-minded and empathetic organization. Rob was employee number 25. The vast majority of the team he hires will work miles from HONK’s Los Angeles, California headquarters, in its Utah contact center. Because that center provides 24/7 support, the company also selected Zenefits on-demand HR People Platform to connect and support its growing team. Starting with Zenefits for Benefits in 2014, HONK now uses Zenefits for HR, Benefits, Payroll, Time & Scheduling and Performance Management.
Responsive People Program for a Responsive Business
As the digitized “first responders” to roadside assistance, HONK’s team of customer care personnel are the human interface to stranded motorists. In turn, HONK’s technology finds the closest service provider partner in the area to assist motorists. HONK has created a digital, safer, smarter alternative to the multiple hour-long waits and insufficient options of the past, transforming the roadside assistance customer experience from its world-class, curated provider network. As a result, the HONK ecosystem powers the highest roadside assistance customer ratings and the best estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) & actual time of arrivals (ATAs), which are on average 50% faster than the motor clubs.
“I was attracted to the culture-first approach of this company where inclusivity was key and still rings true today,” says Rob. “We try new things, fail fast, and we’re honest, transparent and focus on our people.
And that is not just lip service. The HONK team doesn’t manage by gut feel. Just like they measure their own customer service, they work hard to connect and pulse their internal organization regularly across many forums: 1:1 discussions, small group touch base meetings, an open door policy as well as regular Employee Net Promoter Score surveys with their staff.
“When our team says they’d recommend us to a friend we feel like we’re on the right course with our team. In fact, our employee ratings are in line with those who are regularly seen as the top companies in the US to work for,” adds Rob. “There is a direct correlation between happy employees and happy customers and partners”
Better job satisfaction equals better empathy, which equals better success. With 42 million automotive accidents a year in the US (not counting dead batteries, empty gas tanks or flat tires) HONK is removing a lot of stress and getting more people back to work, to family events, to interviews, and to life.
Rob and the HONK executive team use Zenefits to also deliver HR programs and track many other metrics to ensure a healthy organization and a healthy business, from hiring to benefits, pay, paid time off, time and scheduling, learning, development, and retention.
“I had experience with ADP and Paycom,” says Rob. “Zenefits was in place when I joined HONK and it was a change for me. A really positive change.”
As the company has grown, it’s tried multiple HR point solutions and at one time had three different solutions for payroll and Time & Attendance. In 2019, HONK wanted to mature its HR technology infrastructure, and evolve to more of a centralized all-in-one model. The company tried centralizing on Paycom, but “within 10 days employee complaints were through the roof.” It recognized a better full- function and easy-to-use solution for employees and HR administrators alike, with Zenefits.
“Now our people can see their pay stubs, benefits balances and total hours worked; our managers can see attendance, schedules and performance reviews; and our executives can see the cost of benefits, functional productivity from total hours worked retention and ramp times. And everyone understands where all the information lives: in Zenefits,” adds Rob.
We want to be a transparent company; Zenefits helps us deliver on that transparency, simply.
Vice President, People and Talent
“We are also working with Zenefits to capture and market back to our team members the investment in their total compensation. We’re offering more today with commuter benefits, wellness surveys and incentives, health savings plans and more functional workspaces with rooms for meditation, napping, and even dedicated computers for doing continuing education and studying for certifications and college degrees.”
Further, HONK takes advantage of Zenefits’ partner ecosystem and taps integrations with Google G-Suite, Slack, Expensify and Guideline 401k for one-stop access. It also powers its own benefits broker with access to its Benefits selection and management on Zenefits.
Today, the data-centric first responders of roadside assistance can help themselves when it comes to their own employee data. They don’t have to go to the 4-person HR team for every little thing. That, in turn, allows HONK’s people and talent team to spend more time building their culture of care.