Anybody remember the good ole days when rentals were booming, and the economy was on a roll? Those were great times, five months ago.
This has been tough on all of us, and if you are like me, you’re looking to survive at this point. Profit is something that will hopefully come down the line. The airport locations have been devastated, but I suspect local markets are having various levels of recovery.
One thing that is important to remember is that big money is at stake here. While we are working to survive, so are our parent companies.
Who knows what the future of the car rental business will be? Many people speculate, but how it turns out remains to be seen. Before the crash, all the news was technology. Apps that made it easier for customers to rent, and certainly a portion of the population will find that attractive as they start to open back up.
But frankly, there will probably not be much difference between any of the online, no-touch opportunities between companies — so I don’t see a huge advantage in offering the latest tech option for renting. If you’ve read any of my articles before, you can probably guess what’s coming next.
While there may not be much business, the customer experience is still the most important part of your business. Customers may be able to complete most or all of the rental online, but at some point, there will always be personal interaction.
In these uncertain times, we are asking for personal interaction at our location (obviously in a safe and hygienic way). We want to know what customers are concerned about and want them to communicate what we can do to make their experience better. Because of the revenue losses, companies are putting lots of pressure on maximizing every rental.
While that makes sense, don’t sell customers what they don’t want, or make their experience uncomfortable and send them to the competition. We all want to know that someone cares about us. Forcing things on customers to meet corporate goals will only drive the customers some other place if they don’t have a good experience.
In these uncertain times, they need to have an exceptional experience. An exceptional experience for your customers costs you nothing.
Many of us do not have access to customer information such as email or USPS addresses. If you’re lucky enough to have that info, consider a thoughtful letter sharing your appreciation for the customer’s business, maybe outline new procedures your location is implementing and ask them to consider you when they need to rent again.
In my opinion, you will not come out on top on the other end of this thing by selling every customer everything your company has to offer. You will come out on top if the customers feel that you care about them and you did what you could to help them.
Once you have a customer, the only way you will lose them is if you screw something up. So treat those customers you do have as gold, because they are. They are money in the bank. Through good or bad, they will be there for you as long as their customer experience is positive.
Make it happen and good luck to everyone.