I’m traveling to Houston tomorrow and I wanted to get a car from Hertz, but they have no cars available in the city at all and even though I’m Hertz highest level “club” member, they can’t tell me exactly why, just that it is a “sell out.” But that if I want to pick a car up at 5:00am the following morning, they will have plenty . . . That lets me know that they have cars waiting (since they can’t be sure everyone or even someone will return a car prior to 5:00am so they can rent it. And, since I don’t get in until 10:00pm, anyone who brought a car back the night before could surrender the car to Hertz and them to me. But somehow this all makes sense to them, and my treatment is correct, yet they can’t fully explain what a sell out is or why their treament of one of their best customers is correct.
But that isn’t the best way to alienate a customer. The best way to do it is to do something like this:
So since I can’t get a car, I opt for a car service. I call a car service that I found on Google that says it is a twenty four hour service. When I called, I said so you are open twenty four hours a day and have drivers working twenty four hours a day? Their answer “Yes, we have drivers ready to drive twenty four hours a day, they can respond in five minutes notice.” Great. So I go ahead a book a car because it was actually cheaper than renting a car. They quote me the price for my pickup at the airport and then another price $10 higher. So me being the dumb customer I am, I ask, why $10 higher? Their answer: “Because we have to pick you up so early in the morning.” Even dumber me: But you just said you were a twenty four hour service. Them: “We are but it costs more if we have to pick you up early.” The really dumb me: If you are a twenty four hour service with guys standing by to drive why am I being penalized?” Them: “You aren’t sir it is just our policy, you might be able to find someone who won’t charge you an early pick up fee if you look around some more.” The sane me: Never mind, I’ll pay it because my time is worth more than $10 and I’ve already wasted that much getting to this point with you.
So guess who I’ll never use again? That’s right and guess who I’ll tell everyone I know not to use if they need to be picked up from Houston Intercontinental Airport. You got it. The only reason I won’t tell you the exact name of the company in this post is that you might actually use them and that would really be doing them a disservice. They need to fail faster on their own.
I’ll let you know how my ride goes if it exceeds my expectation.
What crazy policies or unexplainable events do you subject your customers to? Examine your processes, shop your receptionist and order takers to see how your customers are being treated firsthand. Aggressively correct any deficiencies you find to create an even better customer experience.
And when you do, your clients will reward you again and again with their dollars and the references of their friends and family.