June 30, 2008

PLEASE CRUSH MY EXPECTATIONS!

NOTE: This is a letter that I wrote to National Car Rental following a recent trip to Colorado. Being an entrepreneur, on the cusp of turning a "crazy" idea into a viable business, I had to write this letter. You'll understand.

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To Whom it May Concern:

I have a love affair with solid customer service. I firmly believe it’s the most important component of any business – it has the potential to define a company or destroy it.

Based on an experience I recently had with National Car Rental at Denver’s International Airport, I wanted to send this letter and let your company know that you have a customer for life.


I recently read that quality customer service can be achieved by applying this simple formula:
Take the customers’ expectations, meet those expectations with a genuine smile, and then proceed to blow those expectations out of the water.

That’s exactly what National Car Rental did on my recent trip to the Denver area.

Here is a quick snippet of my incredible experience with your company (FYI: It doesn’t start very flattering for National, but it finishes with a defining bang):

I rented a mid-sized SUV through your Emerald Club program on a Thursday morning. The vehicle had an unusual smell – nothing too bad, but it was definitely pungent enough to catch your attention. When I noticed the odor, my luggage was already loaded in the back, so I decided to “deal with it.”

It was more than 24 hours later, when I was taking some friends back to the airport to pick up their own rental car, that the source of the smell was discovered. Someone had gotten sick on the back of the passenger-side seat.

My friends encouraged me to take the car back to National. Even though I was pressed for time and, strangely enough, used to the aroma, I decided to take their advice.

I pulled into the Return Car area, and flagged down the first National employee that I saw. (I didn’t catch the gentlemen’s name – which I hate – but he’s the one that took my expectations and proceeded to crush them.)

I simply asked him if I could have the “problem” cleaned up – maybe a little squirt of air freshener. I also told him that didn’t have a lot of time.

He said: “Get in the backseat. I’m driving.” (My wife was sitting in the passenger seat, a little confused at this point.)

He put the vehicle in reverse, jumped the curb, dodged the National/Alamo buses, and headed straight to the Emerald Club lot. “Pick the one you want,” he said. (Whether he knew I was an Emerald Club Member or not is irrelevant to me. I will say this…he didn’t ask.)

After picking out a much nicer vehicle (based on
his encouragement and recommendation), he backed right up to it, allowing me to move my luggage all of eight feet.

He told me what to tell the gentleman at the check-out booth, and I was off.

From the time I asked this gentlmen if someone could clean up a little vomit, to the time I was driving off the lot in a VERY nice SUV, it was less than five minutes.

My expectations were shattered.

Being an owner of my own business, I will share this story with every one of my employees. I hope you will do the same. National Car Rental should be VERY proud of its customer service.

In my eyes, National clearly differentiated itself from other rental car companies, and like I said before, your company now has a customer for life.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Sincerely,

Drew Myers
President / CEO
e-Partners in Giving, LLC

4 comments:

Michael Gresham said...

So.....did you get a response from the?

Dmyers said...

Not yet, but they probably received the letter the exact same time that I posted it on the blog.

John said...

Drew,

I totally agree about the whole customer service thing. Koko and I had a similar experience the other day. We were supposed to be on a 6:30 flight home from Florida and American totally screwed us. Not only did they cancel our flight until the next day, but they didnt update the board. So we were just sitting there checking the board for a delayed flight that had been canceled until the next day. When we finally found out it was cancelled, Everone was gone. I mean there was no longer any AA employees left at the airport. This is now about 8:45 and we had been waiting for 3+ hours on a delayed flight that had finally been cancelled but noone took time to update the board.

Anyway, we were pissed, and finally took a shuttle to Holiday Inn Express. I explained our situation and the girl at the front desk discounted our room from 138.00 to 99.00 and then proceeded to offer us 2 free ice cold beers, followed by free bottled water, followed by free ice cream. The bed was comfortable, the room was clean, the pillows were just right, and Koko and i laid there drinking our cold beer followed by ice cream and bottled water, and at that point i knew we were having one of the best customer service experiences of our life.

I like the part where he drove over the curb. And i love the fact that you wrote a letter...

I actually called back the next day and told the manager of the Holiday Inn Express that there's was the best hotel experience we had ever had and that his Inn rocked.

I firmly believe that its equally or more important to give positive feedback as well as negative.

JH

Dmyers said...

That's awesome! Thanks for sharing.

And I agree: Positive feedback is just as important as the negative kind.

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