Just make me happy

You already know what the end result is going to be. You have an unhappy customer in front of you. Yes, if you want to upset them more, you can always tell them you need to check with someone else to make them happy. It will extend their anger and frustration.

Just yesterday, a friend shared a story about a situation with a rental car company that incorrectly charged her business credit card on file instead of her personal card. (She made the change request as she left the pickup location.) She called as soon as she received her statement, and the company assured her it would be handled. While monitoring her credit-card statements was not a daily priority, weeks went by, and the charge still appeared. Another call to the customer-service department revealed a process in which the agent never processed the change properly. It was further revealed that the service representative should have mentioned his efforts to change the method of payment would only be a request, and he would be notified if it was approved or denied. Apparently, there was no system that would alert the customer if the change was actually made. She would need to continue to monitor her credit-card statements.

At this point in her frustration level, she asked to speak to a manager or supervisor. She explained to me that while they were polite, they would not offer her any discount or compensation, as she hadn’t noticed this mistake until her next credit-card statement.

Why couldn’t the agent on the phone offer a free day’s rental or be empowered to satisfy the customer? At this point, she is now going to write a letter to the company’s corporate office, thus taking more valuable time out of her day, to share her dissatisfaction. The bottom line is that this car company lost a very valuable customer over its own mistake.

If you were the CEO of this car-rental company, what would you do if you heard this story?

MPD: Satisfy customers immediately within your ability.