In my last few columns, I have been talking a bit about service as a part of sales, and my observations have been that it has slipped a lot domestically, particularly in comparison to some other countries I have visited. Well, here is a positive shmooze story from the US, hot off the press (experienced yesterday).
I travel a lot and renting cars is usually a pretty tough experience. Even with different status programs, the buses are erratic, the lines can be long and god forbid we change anything on the fly (ever try to call the service numbers . . . talk about automated prompts). Anyway, I was flying into O’Hare and my wife had just been there and rented a car from Enterprise and said she thought I would appreciate the experience. I asked (skeptically), “Why?” She said, “Just try it . . . I will book it for you,” which she did. Here is what happened.
I walked out of the terminal and the bus was waiting for me. A super friendly driver opened the door and I got in. Since I was the only one on the bus, I figured I would wait for a while, but he closed the door and we were rolling. He said we would be at the carport in six minutes . . . direct shot, no stopping.
I got to the carport and a nice lady came out to greet me and lead me to the counter to a young man who already had my reservation pulled up. He was knowledgeable, nice and not pushing extras. He then walked around the counter and said to wait for him near the door while he pulled the car around.
Meanwhile the original greeter came back over to me for some classic “shmoozing” which was nice. Around came the car, we looked it over, then we got in and he had me initial the pad, right there, instead of in the building. Then he gave me his card and said to call him anytime if I needed anything. Finally, when I reached the gate, another incredibly friendly fellow asked if I needed directions and off I went.
In decades of renting cars I have never seen anything like this. Obviously, Enterprise has implemented some sort of uber-service training and this gang had been through it and bought into it . . . all in. The experience at all levels was terrific. Not a weak link in the bunch.
So are sales and service often interchangeable, or at least joined at the hip? All I can say is, they have earned a new customer, and one that rents a lot of cars, because they have decided to take service and attitude seriously as a key component of their marketing and sales strategy. I love it!
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