Nearly 18 months ago, I posted an article about my experience with National Car Rental. Please read that for background before reading this article. Pay particular attention to the comments where Elizabeth, from National Car Rental, reached out to me and provided me with a free rental day. That changed my impression of National!
I didn't have an opportunity to use that free day until this weekend when, following the instructions on the email they sent prior to arrival, we entered their area of the garage in Orlando. This time, there wasn't a man in a green booth who didn't want to wait on me. This time, while browsing the cars from which to choose in the Emerald Club aisle, a miserable lady chased us down and demanded to know what we were doing. I told her. She pointed to three cars and started to walk away. I said, "Thanks, but I reserved a luxury car." She said, "Why didn't you say so? Those are in the next row." and she walked away.
On our way out of the garage, I wasn't smart enough to follow all of their exit signs and the twists and turns that went along with them. I ended up in another rental car's exit lane. The guy in that booth nicely explained that I was in the wrong place, got out of his booth, helped me back up without injuring anyone, led me back to the correct path and made sure I was headed in the right direction. Then, I came across another National employee, who should have been directling me to the exit lane, but instead asked, "What do you want?" I told him I was exiting and he nodded. Nice touch.
In the end, just like 18 months ago, the man inside the exit booth and the lady, who received my car when we returned it, were both wonderful.
I never would have used National again if they hadn't provided me with a free day. After another unacceptable experience, I don't plan to use them again even if they provide me with another free day.
This is a tremendous example, and not the least bit unusual, of how non-selling, customer-facing employees, sell. Despite two effective customer-facing people doing their part on selling us to return, one was horrible and not so subtley sold us on not returning.
Companies must be certain that ALL of their customer-facing employees, not only salespeople, always create favorable impressions that sell their customers on returning. National Car Rental still fails to do this.