Rules don’t always make sense. If they get in the way when you measure customer service quality, fix them.
A great example of the need to measure customer service quality against policies comes from one of my trips. I wanted to make a three-day car reservation for a visit to San Francisco.
I called Hertz Rent-a-Car, where I am a member of the “Hertz Number One Club” for frequent travelers. I planned to use an award coupon for one free-day rental from American Airlines and additional award coupons for two more free days from United Airlines.
The telephone reservations officer provided impeccable service. She greeted me pleasantly, acknowledged me as a member of the Hertz Number One Club, confirmed my dates, flights, pick-up location and choice of automobile.
Then she asked me what time I would be returning the car after the first day of rental. “I want the car for all three days,” I replied.
“You can’t keep the same car for all three days,” she asserted. “After the first day you have to bring the car back and pick up a different car for the next two days. The first day is paid for with your American Airlines coupon, but the next two days are paid for with your United coupons.”
“So what’s the difference,” I responded. “I am the same person, with the same Hertz Number One Club member. I am the rightful owner of both the award coupons, and I want a Hertz automobile for three consecutive days. Surely you will let me keep the same car, so I don’t have to come back to the airport in the middle of my Bay Area vacation.”
“That’s not the way our system works here, Mr. Kaufman,” she replied.
“But it should work that way, don’t you agree,” I asked, appealing to her sense of elementary logic, simple concern and practical customer care.
“I don’t make the rules here, Mr. Kaufman. I just follow them. What time will you be returning the car after the first day?”
Somewhere within the heart of Hertz, a group of senior rule-makers live comfortably with their precise policy of “one airline, one coupon, one car, no exceptions.” They clearly failed to measure customer service quality against their policy.
But somewhere close to this customer’s heart lies frustration, inconvenience and incredible disbelief in the failure to measure customer service quality.
I’m not the type of customer who gives up in these situations, especially when there is a clear need to measure customer service quality. When my first “one-day” reservation began, I had a long chat with the most senior Hertz rental manager I could find. He let me keep the same car for all three days, clearly understanding the need to measure customer service quality.
Someone at Hertz Rent-A-Car was listening and understood the value of taking the time to measure customer service quality against policies.
Key Learning Point To Measure Customer Service
Elementary logic and practical customer care are the best rules to use in many situations. At Nordstroms clothing store, famous for excellent service, they simply tell the staff: “The rule is to use your common sense. There are no other rules.” Nordstroms knows how to measure customer service quality and adjust to meet needs.
Action Steps To Measure Customer Service
If your rules and regulations don’t make sense to your customers, they need to be rewritten. If you can see logic where your customers cannot, it’s not your customers’ sight that needs refocusing. Measure customer service quality and see for yourself why people are frustrated.
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Copyright, Ron Kaufman. Used with permission. Ron Kaufman is the world’s leading educator and motivator for upgrading customer service and uplifting service culture. He is author of the bestselling “Uplifting Service” books and founder of Uplifting Service. To enjoy more customer service training and service culture articles, visit UpliftingService.com.
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