I often blog about how poor far too many retail experiences tend to be.
In the places I’ve spent my time over the past couple of years, the problem can be compounded by migrating workers paid minimum wages by uncaring management (London, New York) and all-round general insouciance (S Africa, Australia).
For a recent van hire from Europcar in central London I was dealt with by a Slovak, Pole & Nigerian. All of them seemed thoroughly decent people. Yet where was their training? Who is the regional manager responsible for this depot? They should be shot.
The ground-staff knew the corporate patter off pat, yet all it achieved was winding up several punters, and caused the servers themselves unnecessary stress.
Two glaring issues surfaced:
Heading Off Obvious Trouble
24 December was clearly a hectic day of the year. So busy, that an enormous transporter wheeled in a fleet of extra motors. Yet walk-ins hoping for hire still had to stand in line for over 20 minutes only to be told there were no cars available for hire. You can imagine the exasperation. Why wasn’t there a sheet of paper evident explaining there was unfortunately no room at the Inn?
This issue worsened through the often irritating ‘extra sheet’ problem with UK driving licences. As well as our photocard (say a big fat ‘no’ to the disgrace that is ID cards by the way) there’s an added paper with endorsement history for validation. People unsuprisingly misplace this document, so face an extra admin charge for the car hirers to call the issuing authority. Yet on Dec 24th, the government body concerned shut at noon. Again, collecting punters waited for ages, only to discover no paper, no hire. Tempers mounted. Again, how about a notice on the door explaining this specific potential roadblock?
The two messages could’ve been combined, and who cares if they were hand-written? Initiative and common sense sorely lacking.
At the counter, you go through the ridiculous charade of an upsell. “You’re covered for 3rd party, collision damage waiver with an excess of £600. This means you pay for any damage up to £600, even if it’s not your fault. You can reduce this to £100 by paying £7.33 a day.” This is shocking. At best, it’s a ‘fear-uncertainty-doubt’ approach. Yet in all the times I used this company (& I won’t again as they stiffed me on the fuel this time) I’ve never heard anyone take up this ‘offer’. Again, someone must surely be responsible for generating insurance revenue from this. I wonder what the stats are on prangs?
Even a gentle old-school alternative close would entice more sign-ups:
“Okay, you’ve a choice on the insurance… as it stands, you’d pay for any first £600 of damage, regardless of circumstance. You can keep this as it stands, or pay just seven quid to only be liable for the first £100, that’s £500 less. Which cover would you prefer?”