I seldom rent cars. Seldom means twice in my life. However, because a couple of us needed to take a trip for work, we rented a car. It was half the price of paying mileage.
I picked up the car at the airport on Sunday afternoon. That location was further than others, but it was the only branch open on Sunday.
The airport in Fort Wayne in empty on Sundays. Even when it is full, it is empty compared to other airports I have known. I had to wait in line for one other person, but that is because his plane had just arrived. And I didn’t wait long.
And then it was my turn. I met Timothy. In the next five minutes, as he took car of the paperwork that would get me the car, I learned a lot from Timothy.
- they hold a car for two hours and then release it, because
- 20% of their reservations don’t show up.
- his company has a clear niche which is helping them in a difficult economy.
- they also are picking up business from people like me, who are wanting to save money.
- they are privately held which is giving them stability.
- though they aren’t owned by employees, Timothy still said “we” a lot.
- he gave me his business card.
- I know his private email, too.
- I finally understand the collision damage waiver. “You are going to have to sign it, so you might as well know what it is.”
- I understand the “We’ll pick you up” concept.
- If I’m going to be late? “It doesn’t cost much. Besides, you have my card. Call me.”
In a quiet airport on a quiet Sunday afternoon, Timothy ran the Enterprise counter with the friendliness and competence that you would expect of an owner. Which, of course, he had decided he was. In a very good way.
By the way, I’m writing this post on a Monday. One of our cars will be at the repair shop for several days. Usually, we would make do, with much frustration. This time, we’re renting a car.
Because of Timothy.
Jon Swanson also writes at http://levite.wordpress.com.
New to SmallBizSurvival.com? Take the Guided Tour. Like what you see? Get our updates.
- When the planes are coming in to land - July 18, 2016
- Are you mortgaging your time? - April 24, 2013
- A customer service story - September 12, 2012
- What to do when a blog post is suddenly popular - May 2, 2012
- Review: The official guide to QuickBooks 2012 - January 23, 2012
- Two discussion questions for you - December 8, 2011
- From scrap metal to skilled crafts - November 23, 2011
- How a small business can be huge - November 16, 2011
- Banding together - October 12, 2011
- Show the love - October 1, 2011
Leigh Anne Wilkes says
In today’s tough economic times good customer service can make or break a business. I am willing to pay more and drive further when I know I will get service like you did from Timothy.
This is my first glimpse of Small Business Survival (I found you through @Billinman’s link to Wendy Piersall’s post about the top 25 Entrepreneurial blogs (http://tr.im/25entrepreneurblogs).
I found the storytelling on your site absolutely wonderful and dead-on for making it personal. That’s the only way I can tell a story (or at least tell a story with my heart behind it … and those are the good ones). I’ll be coming back for more. Thanks for sharing!
But I’m curious – does Enterprise TEACH their employees these things, or are they smart enough to FIND them. That small-town service would do well anywhere.
Leigh Anne – I agree with that value in customer service. I have places that I pay a bit more for because of the service. I struggle, however, with paying extra for bad service.
Melinda – I agree completely with your comment about the storytelling here, which I can do because I’m just one of the writers. Becky has built a wonderful community of contributors who bring a commitment to communication and customer service to their writing.
I don’t know that answer to your question about Enterprise, but I’ll find out.