While traveling recently in a rental car, I encountered a major traffic bottleneck. I called the rental car location expecting that someone there might be able to give me the frequency of a local radio station that provided regular traffic coverage only to find that no one there was able to help.
This got me thinking about the rental car business – with the current economic situation, customers show little loyalty to a specific agency (assuming they are not required by company policy to stick with a particular agency) and will tend to pick providers based on a specific location’s prices and fleet choices. In this situation, rental car companies need to increase their opportunities for encouraging customer retention so I started to think of simple ways in which they could achieve this without impacting their bottom line.
1. Provide customers with a local radio station list – similar to the cards that most hotel rooms have that list TV stations with their corresponding channel numbers, it would take less than an hour for a rental company to research and print a list of local radio stations and their frequencies. This would save those of us that don’t rent cars equipped with satellite radio feeds from the risk of getting into an accident while scanning for stations carrying content that we wish to listen to.
2. Provide a small plastic or paper garbage bag – I know of at least one company that does this, so why can’t they all? Surely the staff that clean the rental cars after they are returned would benefit from this as much as would the customers?
3. Provide a reasonable quality snow brush in the winter – I realize that theft can be a problem, but surely they can bill customers who steal these? During the hot summer months, provide one of those cardboard windshield shades to reduce the greenhouse effect in the car when it is parked in the sun.
None of these measures are particularly costly, but they would likely be remembered and might even help a rental agency differentiate itself sufficiently from the competition to increase retention.