The great thing about hosting a blog is that you have a vehicle to vent when things go wrong. I am careful about being constructive with my criticism, targeting the issue rather than the company or individual, and attempting to use this platform to share knowledge and ideas about good customer service, which can create customers for life.
I was surprised to find an entire website devoted to sharing horror stories about a particular auto rental company. Failing Enterprise was started in 2003 due to the creators personal frustrations. What is surprising is how many posts there are from all sorts of constituents. The highlight on it for me was the old audio of Jerry Seinfeld talking about the difference between taking a reservation and holding a reservation.
In my own situation, it wasn’t what happened as much as how it was handled. In the course of a morning, I was lied to, put on hold for way too long, not treated well, and ultimately let down several times. At the end of the day, the branch manager felt bad, but the damage was done. An upgrade or seperate free rental at a later time would not make me feel better. I missed a meeting because of this situation. I did my part – confirming that I was on my way – then dropping off my own vehicle and finding out later that there was no vehicle waiting for me EVEN after I confirmed by phone (wouldn’t THAT be a good time to let someone know there is a problem?)
The bottom line was that I was not treated as if I am an important part of their business – and there must have been an assumtion that they could just juggle a few things around and make it right. Wrong. Who cares about your friendly demeanor (the trademark of these young, suited management trainees and management alike) if you can’t deliver me the service?
Please, please… focus on delivering the service – the car rental transaction. After that, it is all icing on the cake.