When Trying Harder Just Does Not Cut It

As good as an experience we had with The Holiday Inn, we had an equally bad one with Hertz. We booked our car through Priceline at a good price. Upon arrival, the first signs of trouble emerged, too many customers for the two employees on duty to handle. Waiting patiently (well mostly patient!), we were informed politely by our Customer Service Rep that the full size car we had paid for was not available. She was sorry, other customers had not returned their rentals on time, thus “our car” was not back yet. She did promise to check to see what was available which is when the real trouble began. I thought, “this can happen.”

She had located a car in her system, which theoretically should reflect what cars were available on the lot. The problem, nobody could find this car! Now this is not a huge lot, in total there were no more than 100 cars.

Our Customer Service Rep persevered, actually walking around the lot to find “some car,” even remotely close to what we had ordered. This of course delayed her from helping other customers, as the line behind us grew.

Her perseverance did pay off. Now back to her “system” to check us out. The next problem was she could not match the physical car to the available cars in the system. More waiting, checking and finally another car was brought around, which would suffice and was in her system. I was hopeful.

“Our car” was now brought around, but we were not informed. So another couple, by mistake took it. Now we are outside waiting and wondering where “our car” was. Pretty soon, this couple, with our car returned, fuming as their paperwork did not match the car ID. They were returned by security.

“Our car” was finally in front of us and we had the correct paperwork. The other couple was sent back in to start over.

Now though all this, the employees we encountered were polite, followed procedures and went above and beyond to help us. I give them high marks, they were well trained, our bill was accurate and they even gave us a discount to try to make up for all the trouble. In talking to this woman, she sighed in resignation, “I need this job,” but this was not a one time occurrence. This was just how things on the job were. She was just finishing a 16 hour shift, was going home for 8 hours and then back for 12 more.

The problem was confused and inefficient processes. What you would think of as basic; knowing what you have for sale, where it is physically located and having this match what is in your computer system did not function. It negated the good employees Hertz had hired and trained. What should have taken 10 minutes took two hours. Nobody was happy.

 So while finding the right people and training them is essential, this does not guarantee a good customer experience. Sometimes, trying harder just does not cut it.


Six Sigma Can Help Untangle Process Problems
Six Sigma Can Help Untangle Process Problems

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