Photo by Amy Winter-Hercher.

Photo by Amy Winter-Hercher.

With the fourth annual Auto Rental Summit around the corner, Auto Rental News wanted to get an update on some of the past winners of its annual Professional of the Year Awards.

The Professional of the Year Awards honor associates who demonstrate and promote outstanding customer satisfaction within the car rental process from auto rental companies worldwide. Each year, there is a winner in the following car rental business categories: corporate, independent and franchise.

Jacqueline Joseph

Jacqueline Joseph receiving the Professional of the Year Award in 2013. Photo by Amy Winter-Hercher.

Jacqueline Joseph receiving the Professional of the Year Award in 2013. Photo by Amy Winter-Hercher.

Jacqueline Joseph, marketing manager at Leisure Car Rental in St. Maarten, received the 2013 Professional of the Year for the independent category. Joseph was recognized for her hard work and dedication to customer service in her marketing duties, as well as helping with planning, operations and human resources.

Since winning the award, Joseph says she has continued to help improve customer service at Leisure Car Rental. “Situations arise on a regular basis, which allow me to come up with new strategies and solutions to ensure that our customers are always satisfied.”

To Joseph, winning the award meant a lot more than “just an award.” “It shows that hard work does not always go unnoticed,” she says. “It has been a constant reminder that I must always put my best foot forward — not only on the job but in every aspect of life.”

Joseph believes it’s important to recognize rental car employees because they are the backbone of the business. “Being recognized gives any employee an extra boost to work even harder to achieve the set goal. They are encouraged to go above and beyond the call of duty to get the job done.”

For Leisure Car Rental, the award has given the company local, regional and international exposure, according to Joseph.

“It helps give exposure and puts a customer’s mind at ease knowing he or she is renting from a reputable company,” she says. “It’s always refreshing to hear, ‘I’ve seen your photo from the award ceremony,’ or ‘I’ve heard great things about your company, so I trust you.’”

Veronica Weston

Veronica Weston was unable to attend the awards ceremony in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy.

Veronica Weston was unable to attend the awards ceremony in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy. 

At the 2012 Auto Rental Summit, Veronica Weston received the first Professional Year of the Award in the corporate category. She was honored for her dedication to customer service as the corporate claims director for Avis Budget Group.

Since winning the award, Weston has taken on a new role. Currently, she is the manager of Bluebird Auto Rental Systems’ new damage recovery system. This new division helps rental car customers recover damages to their vehicles.

“Winning this award was one of my greatest achievements,” says Weston. “It helped me put my mark on the industry. Auto Rental News is well respected, which helps add value to the award.”

To Weston, the award helps place a great emphasis on professionalism in the car rental industry, especially when it comes to customer service.

“Through the years, I feel like we have lost some professionalism in certain areas of the car rental industry, especially in claims,” she says. “You need to show professionalism and that you care about the person as a loyal customer. By having this award, it helps individuals strive toward more professionalism.”

Three years later, the award still means a lot to Weston. In fact, she keeps the plaque on her desk at all times and mentions the award on her resume and website.

“I really do respect the award and was so excited to receive it,” she says. “It displays how I feel about customer service and how people should be treated.”