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Why the Car Rental Industry Needs a Customer Service Award

It’s time to celebrate industry champions.

July 25, 2012

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Does the car rental industry need a customer service award? My emphatic answer is yes.

Individual car rental companies celebrate their champions internally. And suppliers to the industry such as CarTrawler have awards that recognize performance excellence in their partner companies. Yet there is no industry-wide, worldwide award that celebrates the associates, the unsung heroes who drive this engine on a daily basis. As mature as the car rental industry is, and with the thousands of car rental transactions that happen daily, I find that surprising.  

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And so we at Auto Rental News announce the inaugural Professional of the Year Awards. It’s time to celebrate the car rental industry’s customer service champions. It’s time for them to get recognized in front of their peers. It’s time to showcase the industry’s best, at a time when the industry could use a little positive press. A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say.

But don’t submit an entry because it’s a contribution to your industry. Think about the benefits to your company if one of your associates wins. Winning an award is a marketing edge, a seal of approval that makes your service more valuable to your rental customers and a window into a new client base. Within your company, the example set by the winner will be a benchmark for others to strive for. And your winning associate feels more invested in the company, more a part of your team.

Take the time to nominate a customer service champion (or two) from your company. The nomination in and of itself shows your associates that you think they’re doing something right.

We plan on publicizing the winners outside of our usual industry channels at Auto Rental News. We believe that other travel industry verticals and the general media will find these customer service champions and their stories compelling. We think this is an opportunity to refocus some positivity on the industry, and deservedly so.  

One Professional of the Year Award will be given to three associates, one each from a corporate, franchise and independent location, from any auto rental company around the world. (Click here for rules and eligibility.) The winners will be announced at the Auto Rental Summit, which takes place Oct. 29-30 at the Hollywood Beach Marriott in Florida.

What the heck is the Auto Rental Summit, you ask?

The Auto Rental Summit is a two-day training and education conference designed to improve customer service and enhance revenue of car rental operations. You don’t need to have submitted an entry for the award to attend.

With any conference it’s all about the content, and I’ll only tease you here: Stuart Greif, who runs J.D. Power’s North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study, will present an unprecedented deep dive into the components of customer satisfaction and how you can bring those metrics into your business.

We’ll have representatives from the major credit card companies who will explain their insurance coverages to allow you to better present your CDW product to customers.

You’ll learn the “Seven Deadly Sins” that associates make at the rental counter and how to avoid them.

You’ll get the results of an exclusive customer survey that will give you insights into the mindset of the local market customer, their demographic makeup and buying patterns.

And, you’ll hear from Christopher Elliott, consumer advocate and syndicated columnist, who is ready to reveal insights from his hundreds of customer interactions on what really makes car rental customers mad — and how you can win them back.

Look for much more in the weeks to come. In the meantime, check the Agenda page on the website. It’s all there.

A rental car may be a commodity, but your associates are not. Instilling in them great customer service is your primary opportunity to differentiate your company from your competitors. And the Auto Rental Summit will give you specific tools to do so.

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Author Bio

Chris Brown

Executive Editor

Chris Brown is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News. Through these publications, online newsletters, trade events and associations, Chris covers all aspects of the fleet world, including fleet management, manufacturer fleet activities, the fleet leasing industry, vehicle remarketing, rental industry news, car rental taxation and legislation.

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