My wife and I had taken a vacation to Florida and sometimes she makes the reservations and other times I do. Although I’m a member of both National and Hertz, she had told me that Budget had the lowest rates. I said fine. Who doesn’t want to save a few dollars?
When we arrived at the Fort Lauderdale rental car area, the only company that had a long line was Budget. Every other carrier had 2 or 3 people waiting in queue. My first thought was, “Hey, the low rates must be working.” My second thought was, “How long do we need to wait?”
After about 5 minutes, we realized that although there were 40 plus people on line, there were only 3 or 4 agents on duty. Everyone waiting started saying things like ‘this is ridiculous’, ‘I heard people have been waiting an hour’, etc.
Patience is not one of my strongest virtues and I was eager to start my vacation. I left my wife on line and approached the Hertz counter where there was a line of 2 or 3 people. The rates I received were even lower than what Budget had quoted my wife. I called my wife to join me and we were quickly on our way to our hotel.
My last thoughts were…Budget has a reservation system, they have been in business for decades, they know when people are scheduled to pick up their cars…why would they not have their counters staffed appropriately?
Obviously, Budget will no longer be our first car rental choice. But, it didn’t have to be that way.
Richard Shapiro is the Founder and President of The Center For Client Retention (TCFCR), which provides research, training and consulting services to Fortune 500 corporations on how to improve the customer experience. Before founding TCFCR, Shapiro was with ADP for eighteen years. In his last role, he was Vice President of Customer Satisfaction and Client Retention. His first book is The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business. To learn more, visit The Center For Client Retention at www.tcfcr.com.
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