This week I had to rent a car because my vehicle was getting repaired from an accident. It was a scrape and nobody got hurt but the cars involved, thank goodness. If you've been through that, you know that most insurance companies partner with Enterprise Rent-A-Car; mine does.
This wasn't my first claim. The first one I put through was a few years ago during one of the hurricanes: a DOT (department of transportation) gate swung over my car as I was stopped at an intersection and smashed the windshield, hood and side of my car, stopping a couple of inches from my face. My sunglasses saved my eyes from glass fragments.
The insurance carrier of my choice is Travelers: they have been doing a good job on my car and homeowners insurance for years. Like my previous claim, this one was efficient. I called the toll free number they offer, talked to a person who interviewed me on the details on my occurrence, and then I got a call back from a claims representative.
Heidi, the claim representative, explained the process before initiating her interview to verify the information on file and gather all the facts. Then she informed me that an adjuster would contact me to see the damage and document it for the claim. Bob, the adjuster, called to make an appointment at my place of work to do his part. Both Heidi and Bob responded to my questions promptly and professionally, and with a smile in their voice and face.
Then I called the dealer to schedule an appointment for the repair and the rental car company to book a car for those days. My experience with the repair shop at the dealer has been good, not remarkable, but "I will go back to them" good. Loyalty in this case is to my sales rep at Toyota -- he gives the used car sales person a totally new meaning -- and the dealership service team. They are truly remarkable.
Things didn't go so will with Enterprise Rent-A-Car. My first call was put on hold in mid sentence, then someone picked up, told me they were "just a driver" and hang up on me before I got the chance to talk. The second call produced the desired scheduling, eventually. Most of my time and energy during the call were spent explaining to the Enterprise staff that I did not want a premium car, all I wanted was a car that would cost under or equal the total of my insurance policy daily allotment, including tax.
As I wrote at FX Expert blogs today, what I got was a lesson in branding. Take a look at what Enterprise Rent-A-Car says about the company:
Enterprise is an extended family of more than 65,000; a world-class company with homegrown roots. Through tremendous leadership and the entrepreneurial spirit of our employees, we've built the largest rental car company in North America — customer by customer, car by car from the ground up. But our goal has never been to be the biggest; we simply work hard to be the best. [source company web site, emphasis mine]
I am not alone. I've talked to other people who have had a very similar experience. Why make your customers work harder for something they are already paying you to deliver? A promise made needs to be kept -- that's the secret to success.