At any point in their busy day, good car and truck rental operators are able to track market share, fleet utilization, claims recovery, fleet holding costs, incremental sales yield, reservation builds, revenue per unit and, of course, operating revenue.
Yet along with these measurable performance items are “immeasurable intuitions” that can equally impact the customer’s experience, the job satisfaction of your team and your operation’s profit margin.
Your top managers down to your frontline sales team may have at one time or another fallen into one or more of the mindsets discussed here. While these “immeasurable intuitions” may not be as easily quantifiable by the same performance metrics, there are methods to manage the immeasurable.
“My team’s attitude says ‘it’s just a rental car.’”
Has the phrase “it’s just a rental car” made your blood boil?
How your team feels about your rental cars determines how well the cars will be treated. Rental cars that leave the lot with smudged windows, forgotten garbage underneath the seats, sticky cup holders and blaring radios will be driven in a tougher fashion.
Think about it—when staying at a nice hotel with a nice lobby and a warm and hospitable staff, don’t you feel compelled to keep your room a little tidier prior to housekeeping coming in? Why do the Disney theme parks encounter a lower occurrence of shoplifting and littering than other parks? It is because you are not a customer but a guest—and cast members are there to enhance your experience.
The same beliefs governing customer care, the customer’s experience and delivering a top-shelf product can be conveyed in car rental regardless of your brand, your market share or location.
Examine the days in the week or month when your operation has the highest rate of unallocated damage, then research which team members were responsible for servicing those cars.
Keep accurate records of your service team. Conduct frequent spot checks for cleanliness. Motivate your team through accountability and recognition by having them sign a “Welcome” or “Presented by” note left on the dashboard.
“Some frontline representatives seem to be getting a higher percentage of negative customers.”
Every operation has a representative who will always see the glass as being half empty. No matter how hard a manager works, these negative people will be a hindrance to the atmosphere. You can pull every report under the sun to measure their performance but you cannot pull a report to monitor the “mirror effect.”
Ask yourself if 80 percent of your “problem rental customers” come from 20 percent of your frontline staff. In most cases the answer is yes. The same problems happen with all team members, yet it is the negative 10 to 20 percent who dwell on the challenging customers and feel compelled to tell everyone around them about the unique circumstances.
Every time those types of representatives come to you to complain about their customers, challenge them to put it into perspective. If they rent 400 cars a month, how many challenging customers do they really get? In most cases the answer is 5 percent of their customer base. Ask them about the other 380 customers a month.
Avoid scheduling negative team members for 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shifts, as they can have too much influence on the message of the day. Avoid scheduling them for 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. shifts because they can negatively affect both shifts’ attitude.
If those team members’ contagious negativity continues, avoid scheduling them altogether. Are they really bringing value to your organization and your customers’ experience? Find a fair, legal and documented way to end the business relationship.
“My new hires are being influenced by the negative old timers.”
If your recruiting efforts are yielding the right fit of sales professionals and your new hire training/orientation stresses the value of their role, new hires will enter the working group on top of the world.
They come to the role with few preconceived notions of “why” it cannot be done. The same is true of a new manager to a new assignment. What happens to results when a new branch manager is placed in a location?
Around the 90-day mark your precious new hire may not be feeling so new. In the blink of an eye they go from being a new Cadillac CTS to a 55,000-mile risk unit.