Want to Know More About Customer Service? Rent a Car!

How many commercial landlords incorrectly consider themselves to be in the real estate business?  How many real estate brokers assume they’re in the business of leasing or selling properties?  They’re all wrong!  From a customer service perspective, both parts of the commercial real estate industry could take direction from the car rental business!

Recently, I flew to Oklahoma on business.  Prior to my flight, I arranged for a rental car to be available.  Since I had combined two business trips into one, I flew in from another city that required indirect flights.  So, after traveling all day long, when I finally landed late that night, the last thing I wanted was anything more that would keep me from getting some sleep.

As I got off the place, I walked through the terminal and arrived at the car rental area.  When I approached the car rental counter, I found a young man sitting behind the desk quietly with a smile on his face.  It was almost midnight, so the car rental area, and the airport itself, were both pretty quiet.  I dropped my bags and said: “I’m Andrew Zezas…I believe you have a car waiting for me?”  The smiley service representative stood up, said: “Good evening, Mr. Zezas. Your car is ready!”  He proceeded to give me very precise directions to the elevator that would take me to my car.  I picked up my bags, followed his directions, and when the elevators opened, I stepped off and saw the their booth just a few step in front of me.  I walked up to the booth and opened my mouth to speak, when the attendant said: “You must be Mr. Zezas!  Your car is right here.”  13 feet away from where I was standing was a just cleaned sparkling sedan with the engine idling, ready to take me to my hotel.  The attendant handed me my paperwork, and in what seemed like little more than 30 second, my bags were in the trunk, I met up with my colleague, and we were driving out of the airport.  How cool was that?  Sleep was only a short drive away!

Before I pulled off the airport property, a sensor on the dashboard told me that pressure in one of the tires was very low.  So, my colleague and I immediately returned to the rental booth.  I figured, sleep might have to wait a while.  The attendant saw us pull in and, before he even knew what the problem was, he couldn’t apologize enough.  He asked me how he could make up to us the terrible inconvenience his company had caused us.  Was he kidding?  Terrible inconvenience?  We drove for all of 87 seconds!  What terrible inconvenience?  This guy really meant it!  He couldn’t stop apologizing.

The attendant walked into his booth, and in under 3 minutes came out with keys to a brand spankin’ new SUV.  He said: “We’ve upgraded you two levels, as our way of apologizing.  Your car is right over there”.   Wow!  I walked over to the SUV, threw my bags in the back, and was overwhelmed with that new car smell that I can never get enough of.  When my colleague and I looked down at the dash, we both saw something neither of us had ever seen before.  Now, mind you, we each have been driving for more than 30 years.  What we saw amazed us.  The odometer read….3!  Not 300, not 3,000….just 3, little old miles.  This shiny, wonderful smelling, free upgraded SUV, had only been driven out of the factory, onto the trailer, and into the rental parking lot.  It had basically never been driven by anyone else other than the guys who built it and delivered it.  And, I would be the first!  Now, that was cool!

So, let’s count the surprises:

1. Smiley greeting at the counter

2. Greeting at the booth, which ws easy to find and close by

3. Car waiting next to the booth

4. 10 or 20 apologies

5. Under 3 minute car replacement

6. Free upgrade to a much larger and more comfortable vehicle

7. And, a vehicle that, if it was any newer, it would still be still steel ingots and petroleum!

Now, that’s what I call customer service!  You think I’ll rent from that company again?  You think I’ve told this story a bunch of times, and have encouraged my colleagues, clients, family, and friends to rent from them?  You think word of mouth travels fast?  You bet!

Landlords and brokers, errors happen in transactions and when providing service all the time.  Some are simple, honest mistakes, and others are major screw-ups, or worse.  When was the last time you provided seven surprises as a way of making your tenants and clients feel like they wouldn’t want to do business with anyone else ever again?

Send me your thoughts.

About Real Estate Strategies Corporation

Real Estate Strategies Corporation is a respected corporate advisory and transaction services firm that provides thought-leadership, decision-making, planning, project management, and transaction execution services to financial and senior executives at management team-led public, private, and portfolio companies, and not-for-profit organizations.  Under the leadership of its award-winning CEO, Andrew B. Zezas, RealStrat’s clients engage the firm when acquiring, disposing, renegotiating, or enhancing occupied leased or owned real estate in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, and throughout North America. By creating and executing Business DRIVEN Real Estate Solutions and identifying hidden Opportunities, RealStrat drives greater operational and financial performance in support of its clients’ stakeholder objectives, M&A requirements, and exit strategies.

In the current economic environment, RealStrat’s efforts are focused on uncovering, capturing, and re-purposing hidden liquidity and minimizing risk in its clients’ leased and owned real estate.  The firm provides counsel as to competitive advantage strategies in preparation for the eventual economic recovery.  Visit www.RealStrat.com.

Read about timely commercial real estate issues at RealStrat’s blog at www.CorporateAdvisor.wordpress.com. Follow RealStrat at http://www.Twitter.com/RealStrat.

LINKS:

RealStrat News
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AndrewZezas.com

For additional profiles, pictures, and more click here or go to http://realstratnews.wordpress.com/media-information/.

Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2011. All Rights Reserved.

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THIS WORK IS DESIGNED TO PROVIDE PRACTICAL AND USEFUL INFORMATION ON THE SUBJECT MATTER COVERED AND REPRESENTS THE OPINION OF THE AUTHOR. HOWEVER, IT IS PROVIDED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE AUTHOR IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, FINANCIAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE TO THE READER. IF LEGAL, FINANCIAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL SHOULD BE SOUGHT. THE AUTHOR SPECIFICALLY AND EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY LIABILITY THAT MAY BE INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OR APPLICATION OF THE INFORMATION THAT IS CONTAINED IN THIS WORK.

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