31 March 2008

Speaking Up

This morning I took YAMF (yet another morning flight) and as usual went around to Hertz to pickup my rental. Now often I can just breeze right through. Spot my name on the board, head to car, and I'm off! But from time to time, things get hinky so I have to step to the Gold counter and get it sorted.

Before I jump into the situation from this morning, let me set the context. I'm a full-time traveler. I don't own a car; instead I drove rental cars for about 320 days this past year (I was out of the country the rest of the year). Last year and the year before were about the same, so when it comes to renting cars I think I qualify as an authority.

This morning, the service I personally received at the rental counter was pretty good, which is not always the case in Seattle. The guy that helped me was courteous and helpful and handled my business efficiently. But the next guy over was discourteous and rude.

He comes out from the back room listening to an IPod and wearing a scowl. Unlike the other three employees, I couldn't find a name tag. When he finally decided to remove the headset, he didn't greet the customer just sort of grunted and motioned. The poor chap didn't have a Gold reservation, but instead of just quietly fixing it and sending him along, he has to embarrass the kid by announcing his shortcoming to entire room. And when the kid corrected the employee, the employee argued with him making it worse! When he finally finished printing things out he just handed him the papers without any send-off at all.

The next fellow also got the silent treatment mixed with sighing and generally disposition that says I wish I was somewhere else and you people weren't bothering me.

Lastly, this lady came up to make some changes to her rental. He told her she had to call-in or go online to "fix her profile". As if it was broken. He didn't offer the number or the URL. Just go do it somewhere else and don't bother me. She then asked again if he would make the changes for this rental, and he told her to go back out to the car and bring him the contract. She said "excuse me?" and he said, "just go grab your contract from the car". I was shocked.

At this point, my car was ready, so I asked to speak with the manager. He showed up and I made a point of asking if we could speak privately. We went outside and I told him what I had witnessed. Just after we started, the employee came outside and eavesdropped on the conversation, right where I could see him! He did this after I specifically asked for a private conversation. The manager wasn't particularly helpful, but did appear to listen. When he asked me to confirm who it was, I just pointed and said he was the guy listening in, right there.

Most people (myself included) are really at a disadvantage when picking up the rental car. We've just flown in from some random place and we need to get on the road. Getting jerked around by the rental company is hard, but then you don't feel like you can take the time to say something. You are in a hurry, and why bother to try and make it known that this guy needs more training before unleashing him on customers? Just give me my car and let me go, right? Sometimes it's just too much and you have to let it out, else how will they get better? So this morning, I was the voice of three obviously dissatisfied people because I don't want my next experience to suck too.

Hertz, you need to shake things up a bit in Seattle. I've been a great customer, and your other locations are usually pretty decent. But this is the fourth really distasteful experience I've had in Seattle this year. Please clean it up!

No comments :