Customer Service Operations the Enterprise Rent-a-Car Way
Eventus Marketing Team
For several years before I started working for a customer engagement firm, I have been a fan of the way Enterprise Rent-a-Car engages with their customers. This week, I had a new, unique experience with Enterprise that illustrates how well their approach works.
If you are not familiar with Enterprise and its culture, you need to know they hire smart and ambitious college grads, put them through a comprehensive and well-regarded training program, and then empower them to do whatever is necessary to satisfy their customers. If an agent sees a problem (or an opportunity), s/he can make a decision on the spot without having to check with a manager or supervisor.
This past week, I spent a couple days in Las Vegas with Craig Tobin, one of the founders of the customer engagement firm I work for, Eventus Solutions Group. This is the first time I had traveled with Craig. I was responsible for getting a rental car, so I went with my old standby, Enterprise. Craig had never rented a car from Enterprise, so I explained to him while we were riding the rental car shuttle bus why I liked the company. Unfortunately, my experience picking up the Enterprise car in Vegas was pretty institutional, non-personalized and disappointing. So much for showing Craig what I knew about customer engagement.
However, the experience of returning the car was a whole different story. The car happened to be a Chrysler 200 with two clocks – one digital and one analog. Both were set one hour ahead of the actual time. After initially freaking out that we were going to miss our flights back to Denver, Craig vowed to figure out how to change the clock settings. Apparently this is something he often does. (Don’t you learn the darndest things about people when you travel with them?).
Anyway, Craig managed to reset the digital clock. The digital clock does not control the display on the analog clock in the 200 as it does in some other cars, so Craig set to work on the analog. Just as we were pulling up to the car drop off spot, he got the analog clock set to the correct time.
As the Enterprise employee began processing our return, Craig joked that he only charged $39/hour to fix the car. After we retrieved our bags from the trunk, I noticed the attendant was still furiously punching buttons on his hand-held device. After a few more seconds, the he looked up and said “A lot of our customers complain about the clocks in our cars being wrong. Since you fixed the clocks in this car, I reduced your bill by 15%”. Wow! Craig, who has run customer service operations for billion dollar corporations, was impressed. That’s the Enterprise Rent-a-Car customer service culture I am so loyal to.
It can be hard to fathom a life without customer service in it. Before remote desktop support, live chat and other contact center solutions, there were complex phone trees and outsourced call centers and before that there were buggy IVR systems and telephone switchboards connecting you to the store you purchased the product from.
The past few decades have seen the business world sway multiple times between call center outsourcing and internal call center operations.