Recently, while visiting a client, he offered to have his driver take my rental car out and fill the gas tank so I could spend a few extra minutes with the customer. My client was also kind enough to pay for the gas; not realizing I needed the receipt to avoid Avis’ $13.99 gas charge for driving under 75 miles. Here’s the story of how Avis dealt with that missing receipt and how one manager ultimately retained me as a customer.
Upon returning the car, I was met with unclear communication from the return agent in the lot. He was pleasant enough; but didn’t clearly explain the need to visit the counter to resolve the missing receipt. Once he saw I had driven under 75 miles, he asked for my gas receipt and then said if I didn’t have one, I’d need to pay the $13.99. I said, “Come on – really? Look at the gas gauge.” His reply was: “Oh well, there is a glitch with your return anyway so you will need to go inside.”
Once inside, I tried to explain the situation as patiently as possibly to the return agent who happened to have a chip on her shoulder. Basically, she had the attitude that I was going to listen to her point of view whether I wanted to or not. Here’s the deal folks: Business travelers at the end of a trip just want to get home. We really don’t want a lecture about Avis’ silly rules. So, I firmly but politely requested my receipt as it was and let her know I’d be calling the customer service center later. Yes, I walked away from the counter dissatisfied.
How to not run a call service center
While still at the airport, I called the 800 number where I got the runaround and was then transferred back to the airport location to speak to the woman with the chip on her shoulder. Um, really? You transferred me back to the person I want to complain about? Yes, by now, I am not thinking “Avis tries harder.”
The power of one person in the right place at the right time
The next morning, I called back the rental location and was almost immediately connected to the manager. He was sincere and apologetic and he resolved the issue while I was on the phone. One guy who cared and understood the importance of the customer and that customer’s happiness fixed what probably a half dozen other employees had messed up.
So, if the “we try harder” attitude that Martin showed me spreads, then Avis has a chance. The fact that he is in a management position gives me hope.