Improving the Customer Experience at Rental Car Companies with Enterprise Feedback Management
Unfortunately, the process of renting a car is well known for its uncanny ability to quickly turn into an absolute nightmare for customers, which generally occurs any time that customers are faced with unexpected charges or hidden fees, forced to deal with unfriendly employees, or are attempting to wrap their heads’ around messy contracts which resemble more of a novel than a service agreement. Although the process is extremely inconvenient for customers, it’s also detrimental to the reputation of rental car companies. Over time, the industry has seemed to have gotten used to being bombarded with negative reviews and poor ratings from their many dissatisfied and disappointed customers, resulting in many rental car companies simply shutting down for lack of knowing where to even begin fixing the plethora of problems they’re facing. Painfully low customer satisfaction seems to be the new normal among rental car companies, and rental car companies for customers simply another necessary evil of travel. Improving the customer experience at rental car companies can be easily achieved with an enterprise feedback management system.
With an Enterprise Feedback Management System, companies are able to easily perform 3 principal actions:
is giving customers ways to engage in instant communication or pass along their feedback to the brand. Ideally, each interaction should help achieve a continuous, real time flow of critical information based on the customer journey.
means taking the voice of the customer and funneling it into a system which is not open to the public eye. By doing so, less negative feedback is published online, giving companies time to address the situation and turn that experience into a positive online review.
means preventing managers from making the wrong decisions due to faulty data which is either fragmented or stored in inconsistent silos.
Not all rental car companies are completely blind to the importance of customer feedback.
In fact, some of them do make an attempt to obtain valuable customer feedback at two of the most important parts of the rental process, the pick-up and return process, which is much better than nothing. However, most rental car companies are still oblivious to the fact that they’re implementing the incorrect methodology and using obsolete technology (endless surveys), actually hindering them from gaining real insight into these two major touch points. By not recording and measuring each interaction with customers and solely relying on customer complaints, post-experience surveys, and feedback from company managers, rental car companies are losing out on a promising opportunity. The companies become defensive and take a passive stance rather than progressively working towards building a stronger connection with each one of their customers, opening a new communication channel, and establishing a loyal customer base.
Providing customers with an exceptional experience doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire process has to go perfectly.
Today, customers are very aware and understanding of the fact that things don’t always go as planned. In fact, customers sometimes even expect things to go wrong. This exact shift in customer behavior is exactly why we’re seeing customers getting more involved in the improvement process of their company of choice.
Up until couple of years ago, many businesses were hearing the passive aggressive “I’ll take my business elsewhere…” comment nearly daily. Today, customers are completely aware that taking their business elsewhere doesn’t necessarily promise improvement or less irritant. In fact, most customers know that switching providers could result in even more unwanted problems than would have ever occurred if they would have just stuck with the first company. Switching providers is messy and inconvenient, and this new knowledge is what’s really pressing customers to write online reviews – to voice their opinion. Negative feedback is no longer a definitive decision to “take business elsewhere,” but much rather a well-meant warning for companies to change their ways. The majority of customers actually want to continue giving a company their business, which is the main reason why many of them find themselves writing negative reviews, actually providing a great opportunity for companies. However, unless customers’ good intentions are channeled and processed correctly, their negative feedback can backfire, add fuel to the flames, and result in serious damage to a brand’s image.
10:00 am – Customer “Cathy” picks up vehicle at her rental car company of choice.
The rental car company encourages Cathy to let them know how her experience was by sending her a text message asking for her feedback.
12:00 pm – Text message
“Hi Cathy, we hope you are enjoying your ride! Should you need any immediate assistance, please call our hotline at 1-800-xxxxx. If you were satisfied with the employee who assisted you 2 hours ago, please reply “yes.” If you weren’t satisfied, reply “no” and feel free to add a comment. We always appreciate your feedback and your business.”
12:15 pm – Text message
Cathy sends a text message back to the company saying “no,” and adds a comment stating, “The person behind the counter was very rude.”
12:15 pm – System notification in real time
The feedback is received in real time and a notification is sent to the responsible employee or appropriate department in the company.
12:18 pm – Follow-up
Customer Representative: “We are very sorry to hear that, Cathy. Could you provide us with more details? Your feedback is very important to us and will be forwarded to our headquarters.”
Using the company’s EFM system, a customer representative replies by offering a genuine apology and expresses interest in getting to the route of the problem.
12:25 – Text message
Cathy: “The person who helped me, Lori, was extremely unprofessional and seemed very confused during the pick-up process. When I pointed out that I needed to be out of there as soon as possible to be on time to my meeting, she became even more nervous and kept making mistakes, which resulted in a long delay. I was running behind schedule for the rest of the day!”
12:30 – Text message
Customer Representative: “We apologize for the inconvenience and poor service you received. Although it doesn’t make up for your negative experience, we’re sending you a link to coupon for a complimentary coffee. See it as a token of our appreciation for your feedback.”
12:32 – Send link to coupon
The customer receives the promised incentive and not only feels listened to, but also more at peace about what happened now that the company is working on the problem.
12:45 – Reward redeemed
The system shows that the reward was redeemed by the customer.
12:50 – Creation of ticket
The customer representative opens a ticket regarding Cathy’s experience with the employee Lori, and assigns it to the local branch manager where Lori works.
12:55 – Notification received
The branch manager is notified of the new ticket and can now look into the occurrence and take the necessary corrective actions to improve Lori’s performance.
1:30 pm – Ticket solved
The branch manager marked the ticket as solved and added a comment explaining the corrective actions taken.
3:30 pm – Customer Experience Director
Before the end of the day, the Director of Customer Experience at headquarters is informed that the problem has been addressed. The CX Director also quickly checks the trends for the day, digs deeper into specific events, and looks at the overall stats to prepare for his meeting with the Vice President of Operations at the end of the week.