Tuesday, April 21, 2009

National Car Rental's "Pick any car" Feature is Broken

On a trip last month to Las Vegas, my crew had the chance to go to the Nascar race at Las Vegas Speedway thanks to a friend from High School and Facebook (more on that some other time). To get out to the track, we had to rent a car as the track is 18 or so miles north of the city. Looking online, National had the best rate on a car that would seat a large group so I made the reservation there. Normally, I am a Hertz guy, but the rates were very different.

Upon getting to the Las Vegas car rental center near the airport, National was tauting it's new feature where they don't assign you a specific car, instead you pick the car that's in the class you reserved.  I totally understand the insight behind this - people have preferneces in the cars they drive, why not let them pick? This matches my thinking also, so I was inclined to like this approach.... until I saw how it was executed.

I walked into a huge garage with confusing signage. There was nothing in the garage or on the cars to indicate which class any car was.  Additionally, the National representative directed me to a row labeled Alamo to find the car I need. "Directed" is probably too strong a word. Non-chalantly waved his hand in a sweeping motion probably does it more justice.  After reluctantly picking a car, we headed to the exit.  Here was watched as the attendant sent two cars back into the garage, they picked the wrong class as it turns out. When we finally got to the gate, hoping we were going to be able to move ahead, I asked how often that happens.  "All the time, 15-20 times a day"  was the answer. I was one of the lucky ones. We had guessed right.

How's that for a customer experience?

Posted via email from jsheldonus's posterous


Niobian said...

Sounds about right for customer service these days. I've had some very good experiences, but also some very lousy ones of late. I suggest that maybe National needs some PR and advertising help - new client, maybe? Good example of something not 'Done right'

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