Moving from “Grrrr” to Wow!

Our BC vacation continues. Yesterday, we arrived in Hope, BC after a beautiful two-hour drive in Enterprise Rent-A Car’s SUV.

We didn’t book an SUV … too expensive and not particularly necessary for a leisurely drive along a four lane divided highway.    What we did need was a vehicle with trunk space big enough for four large suitcases, a carry-on that I’m pretty sure would not fit in the “your carry-on bag must fit in here” test box, a laptop case and a few bags of snacks moving with us from Vancouver.

Enterprise was located just a few short blocks from our hotel in Vancouver and so, before starting our Monday adventures, we went to Enterprise to reserve a car.  We explained our needs, we were shown a car that would work, and we made arrangements to pick it up at noon the next day.

When we arrived at Enterprise on Tuesday to complete the paperwork and pick up the keys, Sid Sharma provided a text book example of how to turn a negative customer experience into a positive.  It wasn’t Sid that promised us the car would be there, but it was Sid who had to let us know it wasn’t there.  Standard policy is to just have a car available as promised.  If a particular car or car type is required, the key is supposed to be tagged indicating it is being saved for a particular reservation.  The person we had dealt with the day before did not follow the procedure for saving a particular car or car type and so the car with the big trunk was gone. All that was left were compacts which would not accommodate four adults and their luggage.

At one point Sid said “The problem is we don’t have a car that size for you” and then he immediately said “Actually, the real problem is you need a vehicle that will get you and your luggage to Hope and it’s my job to make sure  you get that.”  He then picked up the phone and called another Enterprise location nearby to find out what they had. All they had was an SUV and so we got an SUV for the price of the car.

The upgrade to the SUV is not what stood out for me.  What stood out was the way Sid managed the situation.  He stayed calm, he asked questions, he listened, he apologized and he took ownership of the situation.  He didn’t cause it, but he did fix it.  Sid understood what the real problem was and managed it incredibly well.

Mistakes will happen.  Procedures will be missed, misunderstandings will happen.  At some point, one of your customers will not get what they expected or had been promised.  Teaching your team how to handle those moments saves relationships and may even get an occasional customer going online and praising your company for fabulous service recovery.


A strong customer service strategy includes identifying what could go wrong from a customer’s perspective and then working with your team so they know how to respond when the service delivery cracks happen.  If you are interested in speaking to Laurie about creating a customer service strategy, sign up for a free consult.

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