Change The Sale’s Culture Of USA Car Hire

Hi all,

Obviously here we love USA car hire and as a company that sends 100k plus people through our suppliers doors each year we know a thing or two about how car rental works.

We also know what our customers like and what they don’t like; and the number one gripe is hard sell. Now don’t get me wrong, our customers understand that suppliers can offer them something locally; for example “the managers special” upgrade, a toll pass or a GPS unit; what they don’t like and these are isolated incidents are when a suppliers agent gives the impression that the customer has made a terrible error by not taking, for example, personal accident insurance (usually covered by your travel insurance).

Here are a few articles regarding the guys and girls who work on the car rental desks.

  1. The guys on the desks work on commission, Here’s how to survive
  2. Car Rental Agreements – Read It Before You Sign It
  3. What does a rental agreement look like
  4. 5 Things To Consider When Renting A Car
  5. Things To Know About USA Car Hire

Here at usrentacar.co.uk from day one all our reservations agents have been incentified to offer great customer service, none of our reservations agents get any commission for selling any of our products.

Perhaps the major suppliers in the USA should take a leaf out of our book to stop or modify the U.S. sales culture, I understand fully that car rental companies must make a profit and just like airlines will offer add on’s but perhaps adding an additional commission/reward for great customer service would really benefit them in the long run. Although this customer services reward culture would not show immediately on the profit/loss sheet in the long term building a strong and loyal customer base especially in Europe would actually work out more effective and perhaps would actually increase sales of local add on’s as customers would feel more inclined to trust the agent.

These are just my own views and the majority of agents do a brilliant job but I personally know I’m happier working in an organisation that rewards customer services than I was when I was cold calling!

What do you think?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

15 Ways To Spot A Drink Driver

Hi all,

If all 17 million people who admitted to driving drunk in 2010 had their own state, it would be the fifth largest in the U.S. 

Drink driving in the states is still a major problem, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested in 2010 for driving whilst under the influence. It’s terrifying statistics like this and personal experience that lead to the founding of MADD.org Mothers Against Drink Driving; please visit their website and read through their informative site and their heart wrenching stories.

Today’s post is to highlight MADD’s campaign to eliminate drunk driving, MADD themselves are lobbying to turn cars into the cure however families must continue to be vigilant on our roadways. Here are 15 ways to spot a drink driver.

  1. Quick acceleration or deceleration
  2. Tailgating
  3. Weaving or zig-zagging across the road
  4. Driving anywhere other than on a road designated for vehicles
  5. Almost striking an object, curb, or vehicle
  6. Stopping without cause or erratic braking
  7. Drifting in and out of traffic lanes
  8. Signaling that is inconsistent with driving actions
  9. Slow response to traffic signals (e.g. sudden stop or delayed start)
  10. Straddling the center lane marker
  11. Driving with headlights off at night
  12. Swerving
  13. Driving slower than 10 mph below the speed limit
  14. Turning abruptly or illegally
  15. Driving into opposing traffic on the wrong side of the road

But what do I do if I spot someone drinking under the influence?

First, stay as far away from the other vehicle as possible.
Second, do not try to pass the vehicle or signal the driver to pull over.  Doing so could result in a collision.
Third, take notice of the license plate number of the driver along with details of the vehicle including make, model and color. However, make sure you don’t compromise your own safety trying to obtain this information.
Finally, pull over and call 911.  Give the exact location of the vehicle, including the name of the road or cross streets and the direction the vehicle is traveling. Give a complete description of the vehicle and the manner in which the vehicle is being driven.

With your help MADD.org can make a real difference.

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

My Top Five Car Hire USA Pet Peeves

Hi all,

If I don’t get my full 8 hours kip I generally turn in to the walking dead with a bad attitude and today is one of those days, thanks to teething and a baby…

This bad attitude has unfortunately manifested in the form of my latest post, my top 5 car hire USA pet peeve’s.

  1. Grace Period – Back in the day when I first started in car hire the world wasn’t in recession and people seemed happier, in those days suppliers would give customers an hours grace on returns. For example if the customer collected at 1pm but returned it at 1:59pm the supplier wasn’t bothered. Now a days, technically if you’re a minute over your confirmed drop time the supplier has the right to charge you for an entire days rental.
  2. Queues - I hate queuing, it doesn’t matter where it is or what I’m queuing for, I just hate it… So after a long flight, then immigration and then baggage claim, the last thing I want to do is queue for my car hire… Now don’t get me wrong I understand that there has to be a small amount of queuing but if the car hire suppliers worked more closely with us, we could take most of the required information here in the UK to speed the whole thing up. At present you can pre-register your details but not everyone knows this.
  3. Hard Sell – Now I understand the guys on the desks work on commission I have no problem with this, everyone has to earn a living, and before I continue I have to say the large majority of staff are excellent, however I have heard of instances mainly from a supplier we no longer work with, of hard sell tactics to customers who are travel weary and keen to get going. To be fair to most suppliers they can’t monitor every rental procedure every minute of the day and most do offer a 24 hour money back guarantee, however it doesn’t stop it from annoying me. For more information on what to expect please see my previous post Will They Try And Sell Me Something Extra?
  4. Petrol - Most companies have moved to the “buy up front return empty” fuelling policy, while this add’s a certain amount of simplicity to car rental, customers can end up paying more than necessary, for example if you hire for 1 day its unlikely you’ll use a whole tank of fuel. Why can’t we go back to the old days of giving the customer a choice?
  5. Technology – If  technology was the premiership car rental would be in the relegation zone, car hire is notoriously slow to pick up on new technologies and idea’s which for an energetic, young minded company like ourselves is very frustrating.  I don’t have enough finger and toes to count the amount of idea’s that have come to nothing due to the fact our suppliers are not on the same wave length.

Well there they are, and to be honest my mood has actually improved… getting things off your chest is therapeutic after all…

What are your car hire pet peeve’s?

Tomorrow I think I’ll post about the Five Thing’s I Love About USA Car Hire

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Will They Try And Sell Me Something Extra?

Hi all,

Today’s post covers our friends on the desks. The guys and girls of Alamo, Budget and Dollar who process your orders locally and provide you with your first taste of American customer service.

Commission

Now the first thing to remember is that these guys all work on commission, they are generally paid a small basic wage and boost this by earning commission on the optional extras they sell locally, for example upgrades, GPS systems, advanced RoadSide assistance and Toll Passes.

They are obviously within there rights to offer you these extra’s, you are not obligated to take them and should never feel bullied in to accepting them.

Tip: Both Alamo and Dollar Rent A Car offer a 24 hours satisfaction guarentee on anything purchased locally. So if after upgrading or adding something locally you have a touch of buyers remorse, simply call the number provided on the documentation given to you at the time of rental and these charges will be removed.

Scare Tactics

Now the vast majority of the rental staff are excellent and are very much focused on customer services, as is the American way.

However, one bad apple can spoil the bunch and although I have not heard of these type of tactics being deployed to our customers I have read of other car rental staff operating some of the practises described below.

Advanced RoadSide assistance

We have covered this one on a recent blog, remember your rental comes with basic roadside assistance this covers you for mechanical failure. The reservations staff locally may try to sell you advanced roadside assistance which covers instances such as losing your keys, running out of petrol and a lock out service.

You do not need this extra to rent the vehicle, I have heard of instances of hard sell where customer have been told they must have this extra to rent the vehicle! This is not true.

Vehicle Upgrades

Vehicle upgrades are the no. 1 way for rental operatives to earn additional commission. Now as above, most of the guys and girls will be very upfront about the total cost of your upgrade and you will be fully aware of the total amount.

However, again not through our suppliers; but I have heard of instances of customers complaining that the agent locally did not make it clear that the upgrade was per day, for example “the cost of your upgrade is $40″ when the actual cost is $40 per day.

Personal Accident Insurance

Not as commonly sold as in the past, this optional extra served the same purpose as your own Travel Insurance.

Toll Pass

One of the latest optional extra to be offered locally is the Toll Pass also called SunPass, Ezpass or pass 24. This pass allows you to take advantage of the special automated lanes and speeds up your drive.

Florida is slowly phasing out all manned toll booths but until then it is worth bearing in mind that dependant upon where you are going in Florida you may only come across one or two booths.

The Reality

Customer complaints regarding our suppliers are below the industry standard of 2% so the majority of the time they are doing things correctly. The idea of this post is to help raise awareness and perhaps arm you with a little knowledge and not to scare you. Most of the guys on the desks do a great job and your own car hire usa reviews support this.

Key Points

  • Make sure you know exactly what is included in your rental – http://www.usrentacar.co.uk/whatsincluded.aspx
  • Make sure you read and fully understand the rental agreement you sign locally.
  • Double check your rental agreement and contact the supplier if you require clarification.

Hope this helps.

Regards,

James

Queuing Still The Top USA Car Hire Pet Peeve

Hi all,

Just got some interesting data from the nerds at usrentacar HQ regardingrant things that just get your back up about car hire.

In true family fortunes style, we surveyed 100 people (lead drivers) collecting car rentals in the USA in July 2010 and asked them to rate their experiences and comment on possible improvements (if applicable).

Here are the top five pet peeves.

  1. Queuing - on average customers were willing to wait up to 15 mins to get to the car counter, anything after this was deemed unreasonable.
  2. Hard sell – generally the people surveyed were not against being offered the chance to upgrade their car hire, what they didn’t like was the feeling of being pressured to accept.
  3. Dirty cars – should never really happen, as our hire is pre-paid they know when you are coming, but the 3rd  most popular pet peeve was a dirty interior.
  4. Credit Cards – having to produce a credit card to collect your vehicle put some of your backs up (Alamo have been pro-active on this http://blog.usrentacar.co.uk/index.php/2010/07/01/alamo-car-hire-now-accepting-visa-debit-deposit/)
  5. Not getting the make I wanted – Not a lot we can do about this one I’m afraid, we never guarantee make or model of any of our suppliers vehicles but perhaps these blog’s could help (http://blog.usrentacar.co.uk/index.php/2010/07/06/dollar-car-hire-confirm-customer-choice-for-us-rent-a-car-clients/ and http://blog.usrentacar.co.uk/index.php/2009/09/29/alamo-car-hire-choice-product/)

I hate queuing so I think that would also be my major grievance.

What things about car hire in the USA get on your nerves?

Regards,

James

 car hire USA

Car Hire USA – Don’t pay for extra’s

Hi All,

As requested by Susan?Heath from Surrey, this week my blog relates to the guys and girls who work on the car rental desks.

These guys don’t really get the acknowledgement they deserve, the majority offer a first class service? and are a credit to their orginisations however?as with a lot of service jobs in the U.S.?the rental desk operators make up a large part of their pay by selling the additional add on’s on behalf of the supplier.

Personally I don’t mind being offered additional services, but I do not want to be hoodwinked, hard sold or offered services I already have.

Remember your rental agreement is a legally binding contract with the supplier, always read it and fully understand it before signing. After speaking to our customer care team I have bullet pointed the most common add on’s our customers complain about.

  • Advanced Roadside assistance – Customers have been lead to believe that their rentals do not include Roadside Assistance however standard roadside assistance is included in all our rentals.
  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)?- This insurance generally covers injury to you, it is more or likely similar to your own travel insurance.
  • Personal Effects Insurance (PEI) – Insures against items stolen from the vehicle again generally covered by your own travel insurance.
  • Trip Saver – Trip Saver is option often offered that pre-pays your vehicle for any toll booths you may go through. Handy if you plan to use a lot of toll roads but a waste of money if not.

Ways to avoid these charges

The majority of these charges could have been avoided, the most obvious one, is that the suppliers tighten up the processes for offering these additional services. However there are thing you can do to avoid unwanted extras.

  • Always read your rental agreement fully.? Click here?for my blog about rental agreements.?
  • Be aware of what you are signing for.
  • Look out for where the rental desk operator has circled, as this will show any extras.
  • Ask for confirmation from the agent that there are no additional charges to be made.
  • Re-Read your rental agreement! Click here?for my blog about rental agreements.?

Summary

As I mention above the majority of desk operators offer a good honest service. So please do not think that as soon as you get to the rental desk you will be harassed and forced to sign for every?extra under the sun, you wont, but from experience the worst part of working in our customer care department is having to tell a customer there is “nothing we can do because you signed?for it locally”.? Regardless of the amount of pressure we put on suppliers, if you’ve signed the rental agreement locally then you have agreed to the service.

Have you had any experience with this subject?

Is there anything you’d like me to blog about?

Regards,

?

Gavin

www.usrentacar.co.uk

How Blogs can change car hire

Hi all,

Stumbled across a very interesting article about travel blogging and how some companies are now more fearful of blogs than mainstream media.

The one that really caught my eye was the story of Debbie Dubrow who posted a blog after Advantage rent a car, who have recently gone in to administration and subsequently been purchased by Enterprise Rent A Car, who own Alamo,?offered her an “aged, unclean, and in many cases broken” car seats for her child. The resulting blog post had a major effect which I’m sure not even the blogger could have expected.

“It eventually led ABC News to pick up and investigate the story,” she told?CNN.

“Its impact reached far beyond a single news broadcast, though.” Indeed, the company pledged to clean up its act, and California agreed to revisit its child safety-seat laws.

An amazing result and shows what can be achieved by a motivated travel blogger.

Do you feel strongly about anything our suppliers are doing at present either rightly or wrongly?

If you one of our customers, please feel free to send us a link to your blog and we will add it to our blog roll.

Happy motoring,

Gavin

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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