It’s probably due to the amount of time I’ve spent in the States this year but I seem to be more and more incensed by the crap customer service that companies in the UK seem to think that their customers should accept. I may have blogged about it once or twice or, as Guiseppe Sollazzo commented on Twitter recently “your blog today looks like a customers’ rights advocate“. To be fair, it’s not just me; there are other people I know who are equally strident about this, be it directed at the Apple Store or O2. Most of the time, the companies concerned just ignore complaints but sometimes, they try harder and given my recent experience with Avis at Heathrow, trying harder is rather apt.
Just after my experiences with Avis at Heathrow, I turned up at the Avis garage at San Francisco International to pick up a rental car. I’d never had any problems here before but was prepared for the worst. Which failed to materialise as I bypassed the inevitable queues, went to the Preferred board and found my name in lights. Less than three minutes later I was out of the building and heading for CA-380 and CA-280, a much more pleasant way to get to Silicon Valley than the I-101. But I digress.
“On behalf of Avis, I would like to extend my sincere apologies for any inconvenience that this situation caused you. As a gesture of goodwill, I would like to send you Free Day Coupons to assist on your next rental in the U.S. Please let me know the best address to use when mailing these.”
So fair play to them … but. All of the rentals I tend to use are when I’m travelling for Yahoo! so Day Coupons, whilst a nice touch, aren’t of that much use to me, so slightly emboldened by success I tried an alternate tack.
“Whilst I really appreciate your offer of Day Coupons, all of my car rental is on company business and so these aren’t of much real use to me; would it be possible to convert these into, say, an upgrade for my next few rentals?”
I knew I was probably pushing it but was even more pleasantly surprised by the reply.
“Yes, I can send you coupons for an upgrade. Please let me know the best address to send these to.”
So fair play to you Avis; you took a really bad experience and a deeply cynical customer and turned the experience right around. Mind you, I’m not picking up any cars from Heathrow for a while … just to be on the safe side.
Photo credit: X-travalueMeal#2 on Flickr.