Photo via iStockPhoto.com/Merzavka
Employees are the face and voice of your business. Whether you’re an international corporation or a family-run company, your staff is the single most important part of your business that you offer the public.
If you don’t currently offer any incentives — or the incentives you do have aren’t generating the results you had hoped for — it’s time to review and implement a plan. Incentives not only improve your bottom line, but they also reward your employees for their achievements and empower them by making them realize their contributions to the company.
Gaining Buy In
Knowledge is the key to success. For this reason, training employees to fully understand the benchmarks of the car rental industry is critical to the success of the company. Too many rental agents only know how to mechanically rent a car — they don’t know the number of cars they need to rent to attain a daily utilization that will help produce a profit.
Good car rental operators live and die by statistics. You know your RPU (revenue per unit, per month), but do your employees? You alone can’t achieve your benchmarks; you need your employees’ help.
Share with them last month’s RPU, as well as your RPU from the same month last year. Then show them where your RPU needs to be in the current month.
If you meet your goal, reward your employees accordingly for their contributions to improving metrics such as utilization, daily dollar average and RPU.
There are many types of incentive programs, and it’s important that the incentives are built around what you already know how to measure.
One of the easiest metrics to track and incentivize is customer service, especially if you use the services of a secret shopper or a survey tracking company.
For a customer survey, you can choose the questions that will provide answers and insights into specific areas that need improvement, such as shuttle bus timeliness, the renter greeting, ease of check-in and more. The survey includes the rental agreement number and date and time of rental so the employee is easily identified.
Survey takers will rank each response from 0 to 100, and you can give employees a flat incentive of $25 to $50 for every 100 score they receive.
Don’t forget the car cleaners! Prepare a checklist of car cleaners’ responsibilities and make sure they initial the completed form. Have your managers take the completed checklists and inspect the vehicles prior to rental. This will determine that the car is rental ready to your standards.
For every properly prepared unit, set an incentive amount and include those rewards in their weekly paycheck. For any incentive program, add a separate line on the paycheck that identifies the incentive.
For any program, display the top-performing scores for everyone to see. While top scorers will beam with pride for being recognized, all employees will be motivated to strive for the incentive.
While most employees respond to cash bonuses or gift cards, there are other methods to motivate personnel. I allowed my best employees to work a 10-hour, four-day workweek, with three consecutive days off if they desired.
Educational opportunities are also great motivators that will not only benefit employees but will also produce a more skilled staff. Consider sending motivated and trusted employees to a class provided by your software company, a program offered by a customer service consulting agency or bring them to the Car Rental Show or Auto Rental Summit with you.
I rewarded my most loyal and long-standing employees with a trip that was fun, but also educational in a way that I couldn’t reproduce in the office.