3 ways for USA Car Hire Suppliers to improve in 2009

Hi all,

Everybody knows that 2009 is set to be one of the toughest years financially since Margaret Thatcher was in charge (for our under 25 drivers, she was prime minister ;-) ,? a simple search on Google points towards the lack of money in the U.S. car industry, which in turn has had various knock on effects to the rental market including increased operational costs and an extension to car leasing options meaning that last year the maximum age of a vehicle was approximately 6 months old they are not more likely to average 12 months.

I believe now is the perfect time for the car rental suppliers to go back to basics with the UK car renter. I truly believe that even though the price increases this year are obviously necessary, I still believe the customer should be able to expect a better level of service for their pound

Below I have written 3 things I believe car rental suppliers can do to improve the service they offer to our customers. I would love to hear your experiences and also if you agree with me or if I’ve left anything off.

Hard Sell

Our customers have every insurance they require to hire in the U.S., they have been on a flight/travelling (barring delays) for up to 8 hours, they are tired, they are hungry and mostly they just want to get to their hotel or villa and begin to enjoy the holiday they have been looking forward to.

I appreciate that the suppliers workforce has the right to earn additional commissions and the majority of staff are not pushy however to increase customers experience the minority need to be trained and monitored in offering the additional services without coming across as hard sell merchants.

Perhaps if we (the brokers) were offered the opportunity through our customers to rate the operative who serviced them we could begin to alter some of the customer service culture inbred in to our suppliers. What do you think? Should we set this up?

Dirty Cars

I was surprised to note how many complaints we had last year regarding the cleanliness of our suppliers vehicles. From my point of view I could see no reason why any customer should ever pick up a vehicle dirty. The suppliers are well aware of when the vehicle is booked for and when the customer will be arriving.

Most of the responses from the supplier have agreed that the provision of dirty cars is not acceptable and blame busy periods for this. Interestingly we also got a few responses in house that suggested late returns were to blame… I doubt this though.

The obvious response from us is, put on more staff in busy periods. As users of the product have you come across this? What do you think could be done to improve this?

Long Queue’s

Again, you’ve been on a 8 hour flight, you’ve queued to get through customs, you’ve queued to get your luggage and now you have to queue to get your car hire….. OK you expect to queue a little but some lengths we’ve had reported are truly unacceptable.

The same rule applies here, they know your coming, they know the person in front of you and behind you are both coming… so staff accordingly.

The other obvious thing to me is…. we are in 2009, surely all the paper work could be done before you even leave your house? If the suppliers were a bit more tech savvy, you the customer could fill in, read the terms and have a car parking space (so you know which vehicle is yours) assigned to you within minutes. The car hire industry is by far the runt of the travel litter when it comes to technology.

How else could the supplier improve on queue time?

Summary

I’m a firm believer that 2009 is about customer satisfaction. Please feel free to comment on what I have written here, the collective usrentacar customers will hire more vehicles then I possibly ever could, so your experiences are vital.

Regards,

Gavin Boswell,

U.S. Rent A Car.co.uk

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