Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – September 16, 2013
Despite all of the technology we have developed and all of the different methodologies we follow, renting a car is still THE most ineffective process I have ever observed. To be honest, I’m not sure what is so difficult about it, but I watch customers spend 15-20 minutes in line getting paperwork done for their rental car. It is painful to watch.
Let’s break this down and make it as simple as possible. What do rental car companies need to know before they will actually give you a car? That you are legally able to drive and that you will be able to pay for the car. So why is the process any more difficult than this:
  • Do they have any cars available?
  • Do you have a driver’s license and credit card?
If the answer to both questions is “yes,” then all the rental car company needs to know is whether or not the customer wants insurance and whether or not they will fill up the gas tank.
Maybe the problem with renting a car is that there are too many options. How many different sizes of car does someone really need? Why give the customer a gas option? What about simplifying the pricing model? All these choices only confuses the average customer and slows the entire process down.
We know the process can work well because we know it is much quicker with the highest rewards customers who arrive, get their car information, and pick any car in a specific row. Those preferred customers don’t spend 15-20 minutes getting their car. Why not try to replicate that process (or at least parts of it) with all customers? Why not ask customers for more information when they initially book their rental car? Why now try self-serve kiosks? They work for airlines, retail organizations, and even hospitals.
We know the process can be done better, yet rental car companies are still not able to do it. It makes me wonder if they are capable of making the changes and content with frustrating their customers.
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