It begins innocently enough.
The reservation got messed up. Your agent put down 10 p.m. instead of 10 a.m. It is a minor slip of the keyboard, a single letter. But you are in the airport car rental business. 12 hours is a gulf the size of the ocean.
Fortunately, your confirmation system sends the client an email immediately after the call. In another stroke of luck, the client actually reads the email upon receiving it, notices the error and calls immediately to fix it.
The client is not thrilled. He explains that his flight arrives in the morning, and he has to pick up his most important client soon after. He is reasonable, but also has your agent confirm the reservation time twice before hanging up the phone. “I really need this to be right he said.”
A month goes by and your client receives his 48 hour reminder email. “Dear Mr. Smith, this is just a reminder that your Elite-Club Luxury Sedan will be ready for you at 10 p.m. on January 10. For speediest check-in…” Mr. Smith blows a gasket.
After 10 minutes on hold with your call center, Mr. Smith is even more livid. He explains that this is one of the most important meetings of his career. Your agent assures him that the reservation is correct on the reservation system, and it was just a glitch of the reminder system. The client is not convinced, and Mr. Smith forces the agent to go through every detail.
When Mr. Smith arrives at the airport check-in, the line is stuffed over 9 people deep per agent. One of your agents is late, the other called out, and the playoffs are in town, so you are slammed. It happens, but all Mr. Smith knows is that you seem understaffed.
Finally, Mr. Smith arrives at the counter. The good news: you have Mr. Smith’s reservation for the correct time. The bad news: you are out of the luxury sedans that Mr. Smith went to great pains to make sure you had in the last phone call.
All you have is a bottom-of-the-line subcompact that should have been retired years ago. Mr. Smith is about to pick up a multi-million dollar account in his teenage son’s car.
Mr. Smith goes ballistic. The agent at the desk doesn’t understand why.
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