Whenever I rent a car, I call what I believe to be the high-end rental car agency.
Recently, I traveled with a few co-workers to Chicago; Andrew, Beryl's vice president of HR, had order a car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. My first thought was that we would have a long ride to an off-airport location, stand in a line, and then squeeze four people into some tiny car--just to save a few bucks. (Enterprise is not my high-end rental agency.)
Boy was I wrong.
We took the airport shuttle to the Enterprise building. I was disappointed I didn't see a display sign, with information on exactly where to find a rented car, like my usual rental company. We had to go inside and wait in line.
But as soon as we got inside, we were greeted by a nice man who showed us where the line started (and only two other people were waiting). Then, he grabbed a bunch of bottled waters from a cooler at the other side of the room, and brought them to us.
All the agents at the rental desk wore parkas, even though the inside temperature was quite comfortable (it was 15 degrees outside). Our greeter went outside, and brought in a couple more parka-clad workers. They successively walked over to the customer in front of the line, introduced themselves, and escorted him to the registration area. Impressive.
Andrew got the same service. Once Andrew wrapped up paperwork, the agent asked us to wait inside; he went out to get the car, and drove over to a spot nearby. Now I knew why they all wore parkas. All we had to do was step out to the curbside. Then, he helped us program the navigation system.
Finally, we stopped the car at the exit kiosk, where we were met by another smiling face. She checked our paperwork, asked how we felt about the customer service experience (I said, "great"), and said goodbye.
Enterprise intentionally focused on the little things to create a positive customer experience. And now, it has started a relationship with a new customer who will seriously consider coming back: me.
What did it cost? A few bottles of water, a little personal attention, and a staff empowered and encouraged to be dedicated to the customer.