Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber shares her successful marketing strategies.

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Lifestylist® Advisory: Does Hertz Understand Today's Consumer?

As a Lifestylist a lot of my time is spent on the road, and that leads me to see some of the best and worst examples of customer service. This week I've been in Rochester, NY announcing the winners in the Lifestylist Designed @home Builders YMCA Dream Home. @home Builders is one of my favorite examples of customer service - to have the opportunity to own one of their homes is a wonderful experience you'll be sharing with all of your friends.

When I arrived in Rochester and headed to the Hertz Rental counter I was thrilled - there were three agents behond the counter and no line so I thought I'd be able to get in and out quickly. Wishful thinking - they had no record of my reservation and of course this was the one time I didn't print it out. But since I have a "Gold" membership in their elite program I figured we would still be fine, but no such luck. Even though I provided Kim with my number she at first said there weer no cars available, then there were only SUVs that would be over $100/day. So out of curiosity I called and was able to get a reservation for $59.00 a day, gave Kim the phone, and after she hung up informed me that was for Rochester, MN not NY. It became obvious that none of the three had any interest in helping me or renting a car to me so I wnet down to Avis where they had better rates, better cars and better attitudes.

If someone had made an honest effort to help me this post would be praising Hertz instead of expressing my unhappiness. But obviously the customer and attracting and keeping a customer for life was something that wasn't important to this team. When you think about how much Hertz had invested in having me as a loyal customer and keeping my business over the years, those disinterested agenst probably cost Hertz over $10,000 in marketing costs and potential business.

But wait! It gets better! When I went out to get my beautiful new Avis car I glanced over to the Hertz aisles, and EVERY spot had a car in it. I arrived on a Tuesday so I had a hard time believing they were going to have over 100 people pick up cars in Rochester, NY on a Tuesday evening.

The Social Media Lifestylist part of my business is about sharing experiences, and it has become very easy for anyone to share their thoughts and comments in seconds as a Tweet, on Facebook or in a blog. If for no other reason this should keep companies on their toes because they are being talked about. I thought it was really interesting that Hertz doesn't have a Facebook page - either they aren't interested in sharing with their customers or they aren't interested in what their customers have to say.

Who's the Boss? Your customers or potential customers are! If they aren't treated well or if they don't feel appreciated there are lots of other companies that will welcome them with open arms. We all have choices, and now more than ever we need to provide an experience that will have customers choosing us over the competition.

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