Miller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.
Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between
Toronto – March 10, 2014
I recently rented a car from Hertz while on vacation with my family. We reserved a mini-van, but when we arrived to pick up our car, they were out of mini-vans. After doing my best version of Seinfeld’s “Why take a reservation if you can’t keep a reservation?” shtick, the employee offered me a free upgrade. I explained to him that the free upgrade was of no value to me, that I needed the cargo room and space of a mini-van and could he please check another company to see if they had one for me.
He became frustrated and even a little belligerent, telling me that this is how the rental car industry works. If a car is not available, then customers are offered a free upgrade. He kept insisting how great this was for me, the customer. I asked, “What if the upgrade is of no value to me?” His response, “Well, that’s the way things are done and I’ve offered you a better car for the same price.” When I asked if he could look into other companies for me to find a mini-van, he told me to feel free to do the research myself but he “doesn’t do that sort of thing.” I begrudgingly took the upgraded car and of course our luggage barely fit and it is not an ideal layout for my family, but hey, it’s a free upgrade so that must be valuable. Do you still need convincing that customer retention happens on the front lines?
I’m still blown away by how poorly some rental car companies operate and I’m not sure I’ll be using Hertz again. They have given me no reason to come back.
Are you offering something that your customers value, or merely something you think they value? There’s a big difference.
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