There are many different pieces of the puzzle when constructing a rental car company. On the surface, it seems simple enough. Buy cars, rent cars, sell cars, and reap the rewards.

Anyone in the business knows: It isn’t that simple. What every auto rental CEO, owner, manager, or employee does know is that customer service can make you a superstar in the industry or it can leave you with little or no rewards.

All business entities need to concentrate on customer service, not just rental car companies. Come April 15th, even accountants have to be personable and help their clients through a stressful month — or next year they’ll find a new bean counter to spend their money with.

Airlines, real estate developers, auto mechanics, waiters/waitresses, bank tellers, coffee shop baristas, grocery store clerks, librarians, golf caddies, and hundreds of other occupations have to remember to give the customer what he wants and deserves: good customer service.

So, what about politicians? I’m not referring to the service they offer to us. I’m talking about the ability of the lobbyists, activists, and constituents to present their customer service skills. This is the main reason that ACRA exists today: To represent your rental car company’s needs and wants and most importantly what you don’t want levied against you.

If you think you know how to service your rental car client with good customer service, try using that ability on your congressman or local representative. Share your agenda with them in a few minutes and trust that you have gotten the point across without boring or offending them.

Politics are complicated, and without knowing how to work within the power they can yield, it can become difficult quickly. That’s why ACRA works well with its lobbyists, activists, state ambassadors, and the travel and consumer groups.

Every year, ACRA offers a “Day on the Hill” in Washington, D.C., to all its members. The September D.C. meeting is where attendees learn customer service skills from ACRA’s lobbying pros when visiting with senators, representatives, and staff members.

Scheduling appointments to get into the hallowed chambers, found in and around the Capitol, is done in advance for attendees. The Day on the Hill is fast and exciting. You’ve been prepped and given scripts and encouragement to find out how you can make a difference — not just for your company but the entire car rental industry.

It’s quite an experience to consider that what you have to say could alter someone’s preconceived notions about car rental; you can affect change with your political customer service skills.

You know what it takes to run your business. You know how to train an employee to be the best customer service person at your rental counter. And you know bad customer service skills when you are presented with them.

Sometimes ACRA’s representatives can come up against difficult opposition when presenting its members’ views, and needs just like your employees do when facing an unhappy renter. Our lobbyists are trained to be the best customer service employees in the political arena.

ACRA would like to invite you to become a successful activist by coming to the fourth annual ACRA D.C. Legislative Conference and “Day on the Hill” this Sept. 11 and 12.

Look for ACRA’s ad in this month’s Auto Rental News magazine or contact Executive Director Sharon Faulkner to register for the D.C. event.