Ticking Off Your Customers
Incidentally, I could not find any of these caveats on the Hertz Web site. Presumably, they hit you with this in the contract mousetype you pick up at the rental counter. Yet another example of corporate sleaze and another reason not to use Hertz.
Takeaway Points to Consider
- When designing a new product or service, think through everything that can possibly go wrong.
- Then beta test the thing. Before the packaging is finalized, it's imperative to give the product and instructions to 10 or 100 people and see how easy—or difficult—it is for them to start being "continually delighted." These must be strangers—not friends or relatives—and they must have no connection to your organization and no axe to grind one way or the other.
- For example, some of the worst, most confusing prose on the planet—apart from what is being produced in academia—is found on instruction sheets that accompany new products.
- Spending a little money and time at the beginning to make sure everything is as it should be, will pay for itself many times over in the coming months and years in terms of customer delight rather than customer frustration and anger.
- Put yourself inside the head of the customer. Think like he or she thinks; feel what he or she feels. In effect, become your customer. Then look carefully at every step of the sales and fulfillment process and make sure it contributes to "customer delight."
- For example, my bet is that it was the Hertz bean counters—who get free Hertz rentals and automatic damage waivers—who decided on the "natural disasters" idea and the money clock still ticking when the car is returned to a closed office. If I were in charge of Hertz marketing, how would I handle this?
I would add a buck a day to the rental cost and then say in large type that (1) You are responsible for all damage to the car once it's in your possession with the exception of natural disasters. (2) If you return the car to a closed office, jot down the time of return on the rental form and you won't be charged for any additional rental time. This is a positive message that will make a Hertz renter feel good about the company. Chances are the extra buck a day would be unnoticed by the renter and more than pay for itself in terms of good will and hailstone damage.