If you had the opportunity to encourage your son or daughter to pursue a career in an industry that globally employs more than 140,000 professionals, presents an unlimited career path, is closely tied into the one product the majority of humans love, is positively changing with innovations in technology, and is not going away, would you do it? The industry is your industry; it is the car and truck rental industry.
Your ability to focus on the positive growth aspects of the industry and the opportunities available to candidates can drastically impact the outcome of your recruitment campaigns. Here are five of the many positive reasons why our industry is a good one to be employed in.
1. The Industry is Not Disappearing
The car rental industry is only evolving and will not disappear. Our industry recognition and value to our customers is strong. Candidates and customers alike understand the basics of what the industry is about and the established brands are very recognizable. Strong growth continues in the car-sharing segment, local market- and dealership-based operations.
The recent success of many independent operators is a testament to the evolution of the industry, while auto rental companies big and small benefited from the recent trend in used car values, as well as trends in higher rates. From a volume perspective, in 2011 the industry achieved record rental revenue. Fortunately for industry operators, all three U.S. auto manufacturers ended the year in the black!
Understand the manufacturer’s impact, the competitive landscape, the broad state of the economy and your local customer mix. This insight will help your candidates see the bigger picture and what they are going to soon be joining. Although many in the industry may see these positive changes within their market space and respective brands, it is critical that you incorporate these evolutions into your recruitment message.
2. Many Career Paths to Follow
If you have candidates who want to write their own career ticket, there is no better industry than ours. Opportunities exist in operations, finance, car sales, service-based sales, risk management, recovery, training and development, human resources, fleet administration and other specialties. Whether you represent a large corporate operation or an independent, all these career paths are available for new candidates.
Some of the most effective recruiters and general managers have very telling career stories that they intertwine into their recruitment message. Whether your story is centered on working as a top performer at the counter, moving your way up through different management roles or working your way through school, it is important that your story excites the candidate about the opportunity in front of them.
3. The People & Challenges
This is not an industry for the introverted, meek or thin-skinned. The most effective frontline associates, service agents and managers have the ability to connect with, motivate and influence their co-workers and customers. Frontline associates have roughly five minutes to interact with new customers from all walks of life, present their products and services, overcome objections and then do it all over again while striving to be the most positive person in the customer’s day.
Service associates have to contend with the elements while checking in the vehicles, inspecting for damage and providing directions while interacting with customers who are in a hurry. Operations managers have to ensure the operation is moving, motivate team members, monitor service levels and complete day-to-day administrative functions while working with tight fleet and staffing situations.[PAGEBREAK]
During the interview process highlight associates, managers and service agents who go above the call to handle these situations. Some may look at this as a reason not to partake in the business while others may view the above challenges as the perfect training ground for future leaders within the organization.
Level with your candidates during the interview process and share with them the truth about the madness that they may witness on day one. Center your interview questions on how they would handle challenging situations and what they would do to contribute to make the operation or customer’s experience better. Learn of the other industries they are considering and challenge them to see if any of those can stack up to the challenge in front of them.
4. The Cars!
In the U.S., nearly one out of 10 cars on the road today is registered to a rental car firm. Fortunately we all know that they are not bland compact cars. The cars are the exciting part of the job! Whether it is a new import, a fully loaded SUV or an exotic vehicle that a corporate location has in fleet, the cars are the part of the job that never gets old. Recent rental fleet additions of environmental friendly vehicles like the zero emission Nissan Leaf and late-model hybrids add a new element to the customer’s experience.
Stress to management candidates that they will be responsible for a fleet valued in the millions. This reality will excite those who are motivated by accountability. Drawing in the potential benefits of having a company car for qualified managers will also trigger their motivational drivers of ego and money.
5. Happy Customers and Associates = Better Industry Reputation
According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study, customer satisfaction within the industry increased for a second consecutive year. Improvements in overall customer satisfaction came in the areas of time of pick-up and general service immediacy.
Customer satisfaction will only continue to get better with enhancements in technology. Social media and websites like Twitter, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Facebook will continue to provide new avenues for customers to complain, compliment and create urgency around their experience.
Despite the bad press the industry receives for overbooking, vehicle issues, unscrupulous sales activities and high taxes, the vast majority of customers leave the operation happy with their experience. Highlighting the guiding principles of relationship focus, belief and effective delivery will position the frontline sales role in a positive light. This critical message will bring home the point that service and sales can co-exist. Leaving your candidates with a challenge that your firm only wants to hire those who strive to be the brightest part of a customer’s overall travel experience will bring home the importance of service-based sales.
Before you present the unique benefits of the industry to a candidate, it is critical that you do some professional soul searching. Ask yourself if you agree with the positive aspects in this article. Ask yourself what other positive aspects you would add to the list. If you are struggling to find belief-builders, personal impact stories, interesting industry trends or a sincere passion about your operation, it is important that you ask yourself this: “Who else in our operation can own the recruitment process?” Now is the time to feel great about your profession, your industry and the talent pool that is out there.
Ken Stellon is a managing partner for the Frontline Performance Group. He and the team at FPG are frequent contributors to Auto Rental News. Since 1993, the team has been a recognized authority on customer service strategies, service-based sales and general operations. Stellon can be reached at (630) 788-2879. Team members from FPG will present and exhibit at the 2012 Car Rental Show.