In my previous article, I stated my case for taking an active role in recruiting, developing, inspiring and, yes, even firing your employees. Rental is a team sport. Without a team of involved and educated employees, success will elude you.
This issue's article focuses on process and numbers. Sounds dry, but it's really not. And, if you don't handle these well, you might join the ranks of former rental car company owners and managers. There are a lot of them out there.
Some time ago, when I was actively involved every day in hiring new employees, I would regularly sit in on interviews conducted by our managers. I heard this claim over and over: "The car rental business is an exciting career choice. Your workdays are unique. Every rental transaction is different."
Managers would then go on to describe this mythical "every day is a fun adventure" type of work environment. Well, that sounded good at the time. But as I reflected on this, I realized it wasn't true. And when we convinced our new hires that each rental transaction they faced was unique, we took away their willingness to systemize their day.
Without systemization and attention to process, we piled on the expectation of complexity. This approach created built-in excuses for slow service. Even worse, it tainted our training process, which ultimately allowed inefficiencies to fester. After all, if what we did was so unique and customized, how could we possibly be expected to get the customers in and out quickly?
In a perverse way, we were trying to convince ourselves that the car rental business was more complicated than it is, lending some aura of mystery to it. But in the process of doing so, we talked ourselves out of looking for opportunities to take complexity out of our day. So, who cares? Well, customers who cool their heels and spend too much time at your counter or waiting area care -- that's who!