Is how they fix problems. Every system has flaws, every system breaks down at times. When this happens a good company acknowledges the problem, apologizes, and makes it right.
Yesterday on the way to my sister’s wedding, car full of flowers, our rental car just stopped. Not ran out of gas. It stopped. It stopped so quickly I assumed some sort of weird anti-theft setting. I tried to start the car and while all electronics would come on, the starter wouldn’t fire at all. Oh, and now the car is locked in “park” so we can’t push the car to the side of the road either. And we can’t take the key out of the ignition.
A quick call to roadside assistance: they are very sympathetic and can have a car to us in three hours. Just wait right there. Um, no. I am walking the bride down the aisle in under an hour, family has flown in from all over the world, somehow waiting for three hours isn’t going to happen. So they tell us to call the local police and have the car towed. The local police decline to do so. Roadside assistance told us to abandon the car but couldn’t provide much else. I asked if they could just deliver a new car to the wedding reception; nope, need to wait for the car to be towed.
Call #2 is to roadside assistance again after the wedding. The nice fellow assures me they will tow the car and I am welcome to call the local office to arrange a new car. Well no folks, you should really get a car to me. But hey, sure hope the car was towed.
Call #3 to roadside assistance this morning. Their systems are down. They can’t confirm anything. Nor can they send a new car out. I need to call the car company.
Call #4 to reservations. Wade through their call tree, speak to someone briefly before I am transferred to customer service. Interesting note that on the paperwork for the car customer service isn’t listed as an option. Wait on the line for around 5 minutes for customer service who then puts me on hold to call roadside service. To tell me their systems are down. But he, customer service, can’t send a new car out. I need to wait for their systems to come back.
The issues in this system so far
1. Roadside assistance needs more tools at their disposal. Call a taxi company for instance to un-strand people if the local car company can’t get there.
2. Once I’ve called and reported the failure, take command of the situation. Proactively call me back (or text or email, this is the 2010s people!) You could even automate this with a trouble ticketing solution.
3. Contact a local car agency and get a new car sent out. Really, you are in fact a car rental agency, this should be the easiest thing to do. Don’t leave me stranded, on vacation, wondering how we’re getting around.
Bottom line is once you know a problem exists, fix it. So far I am being offered two days off my rental. Okay, so how do I get back this missing day of vacation?