Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Can You Make It Right?

(1:13) I have been a Hertz Gold Member for quite a few years. Being liveaboards, we frequently rent cars. Early on I would shop prices. But at some point I became a Gold Member and eventually stopped looking. It worked for me. Good prices, periodic free rentals, quick checkin/drop-off, and the service was always good. Their loyalty program worked.

(1:03) Then I had one of my worst customer service experiences ever.

(1:01) The details aren't important, suffice it to say a clerk tried to levy a "detailing charge" on a car we returned in nearly pristine condition. After a second clerk confirmed the need, I began to suspect I was being bamboozled. They quickly offered to have the manager take a look.

(0:54) By now I was getting a little steamed. This was obviously a sanctioned practice. I told my husband he'd better go with him.

(0:50) As the manager made a show of putting the blowers on full force to see, I don't know what, come out, my husband began to take pictures of the car. Immediately, the manager turned off the car and said, "Well, I guess it's not that bad. We won't charge you."

(0:43) That day, I canceled my next, upcoming Hertz reservation and booked a car with a competitor. Most people would have left it at that, never to return. That's the first lesson.

(0:38) But blatant dishonesty was too much. I went to the Hertz Facebook page and wrote a post. Almost immediately I received a private message, could I supply my reservation number so they could look into it? I replied and attached the pictures my husband had taken.

(0:30) The next day I had an apology and additional points in my account. Then another kind message. I felt heard. They had tried to make it right. But did they succeed?

(0:25) It took years for Hertz to cultivate a loyal customer and about 20 minutes to destroy it. It will be some time before I am loyal again, if ever. Lesson number 2.

(0:20) Their quick response, sincere apology, and tangible action did put them back in the running, which at this point is the most they could expect. Lesson number 3.

(0:15) There is absolutely nothing more important to your business than customer service. It is one of the hardest things to do right and the easiest thing to do wrong. This is a message you can never relay often enough to your staff.

(0:08) Every interaction - every one - is a chance to exceed or fail. Train your staff well, demand exceptional customer service, lead by example, and never stop trying to be better.

(0:02) And that's the marina minute.