How Thrifty is Your Customer Service?

I’m just back from my first trip to Ireland and what a trip it was. It’s possible that my boyfriend still hasn’t recovered from the crazy person I became on a few of those Irish back country roads:) The Irish summer weather, which included rain every day, was surprisingly enjoyable. The castles, the pubs, incredibly charming towns, an art festival and seeing U2 in Dublin are just a few of the reasons that I know I’ll be heading back soon.

You Can Rent the Car without Actually Having the Car

Remember that Jerry Seinfeld episode when Jerry reserved a rental car only to discover when reaching his destination that they had no car to rent? That’s this story, but at least the rental car employees in Jerry’s story were honest about the problem…they ran out of cars.

When we first arrived in Dublin we were rested and excited to get going with our journey. Thrifty Car Rental changed all that. We had reserved our car and after grabbing luggage, we got in line to check in. Only a few people ahead of us, so we thought “how long could it be?” Believe me, way to long! It seems that some of Thrifty’s employees were more on a mission to sell their insurance policies than they were to get people the rental cars they reserved. We finally get through that part of the process and we are whisked offsite to where you actually pick up the car. We thought…cool, we’re on our way. Um…an hour later, we finally got our car. What should have taken minutes was 2 hours long in the making.

How Thrifty is Your Service?

There are several definitions of “thrifty” on the Webster’s website. I happen to like, “thriving, prosperous, or successful”. I just have to wonder, how thriving, prosperous or successful Thrifty Car Rental is going to be if they can’t manage their fleet and reservations systems any better than what I experienced. Even the return was a major hassle. And DO NOT get me started on the GPS that we paid for but couldn’t use because their equipment was faulty. Two hours of waiting for a rental car and when we finally get one, we get in the car and drive away only to discover that the GPS is dead. The thought of going back to Thrifty was so painful that we just went on.

Have You Defined the Experience?

We live in a world that is driven by the customer experience. If you haven’t noticed…buyers have choices. They rule. Frankly, they always did. The difference now is that they can access information, recommendations and referrals like never before. It doesn’t matter what product or service you sell, if you don’t create a strategy that defines what you want the experience to be, you may well end up fumbling the ball. Thrifty didn’t just fumble, they kept digging a deeper hole with every contact we had with them. They’ve defined the experience all right, but I’m betting it’s not actually what they had in mind.

One thought on “How Thrifty is Your Customer Service?

  1. Welcome back, Barb!

    This post sure brought back memories . . .

    PanAm (yes, “old history” . . ) once booked me on a flight from Tokyo to Seoul that did not operate on the day for which they had booked me (yes, they did pay for the overnight at Narita, but it sure messed up my appointments in Seoul).

    On another trip, a car with an automatic transmission I was to pick up in Amsterdam got replaced by one with a manual transmission and the cheerful comment: “it’s easy to learn; you’ll have the hang of it before you get to the highway”. I took the train instead.

    I’m looking for businesses that provide excellent customer service; I know they’re out there, but the only one I can think of today is Publix — and I guess that’s because I’m going there later today. Still, I’ll keep Publix on my list. Maybe they’re good because it’s an employee-owned company. Now there’s food for thought!

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