I Don’t Make the Rules

I’m not a violent gal, but I’ll be the first to admit that there are a few phrases that make me feel like choking the life out of the person who is uttering the words. I just had such an experience in dealing with a Hertz representative while renting a car on my recent business trip to Houston.

The flight into Houston was pleasant. I was feeling chipper as I made my way to the Hertz rental counter. When I walked up, there were three service representatives helping other customers. Since there was only one guy in front of me, I figured I’d be through this pretty quickly. One representative finished with her customer and then walked off not to be seen again. Given there were people waiting in line, it seemed more appropriate to serve the customer. Guess it was break time.

The other two finish up and I’m up at the counter. Things are clicking along. I hand over my driver’s license and debit/credit card. Next thing I hear is…”You are running a debit card, so I have to run your credit score. Do you give me permission to do that? Or, you can give me another card?” I said that I wanted to charge the bill to the card I had given her. “OK, but you have to give me permission to check your credit score.” She’s starting to get a little huffy, which I don’t like. You are here to serve me, I’m thinking. Your attitude is not appreciated. Then I asked, “Why is this needed anyway?” And that’s when she says, “I don’t make the rules so don’t take it out on me. You don’t need to get upset with me,” she says. My reply:  “I’m not upset.” She calmed down. A few moments later we are wrapping up the transaction and she tells me that my car has been upgraded for free. Is that an apology, I’m thinking. Maybe. The cynic in me says she didn’t have the car I rented in stock, so it sounds good to tell me that I’ve been upgraded.

There’s more to come on this HURTz story because from the first interaction until the last one, the experience was completely sub-par. It makes me cringe to think how much money companies are throwing away because their service people can’t be bothered to be as stellar as they are expected to be. That, my friends, is an attitude that is driven from the top.

It makes me crazy when I hear employees of companies using phrases like…

  • I don’t make the rules.
  • It’s not my department.
  • This is how we have always done it.
  • That’s our policy.

Right away I know that the company that I am spending money with couldn’t care less if the experience is a good one for me or not.

I won’t be spending money with Hertz again. They might read this and say, “So what, it’s only one customer. She doesn’t rent from us much and it was only a $250 bill. Let it go.” The problem with such shortsightedness is that Hertz won’t get any of my future business, but their competitor will. And, I’m sharing my experience with all of my colleagues, who number in the thousands. Traveling is already a big hassle. The service providers who make it easier for us are the ones that earn our business. We do have a choice where we buy and reviews from others count!

Hertz, you may want to rethink your customer service, engagement and loyalty strategy. The current one, based on my experience, really isn’t working that well.

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