“Control your own destiny, or someone else will” – Jack Welch.
This statement rings true every time I pick up the phone to call a rental car company to provide a service for one of my customers. Furthermore, when I pay the bill at the end of the month I realize that my loaner car business could and should be a profit center for me.
Owning the complete customer experience and not loosing control when outsourcing to a rental car company is key. I saw close to a ten percent increase in customer satisfaction scores since taking over control of this entire process. Ultimately I discovered rental car companies have different goals and incentives than we do as dealers so this fueled my need for change.
I wanted to be able to provide a seamless transition from my service advisor to the rental car agent and make sure that the customer experience was not going to falter somewhere in between. I wanted the rental car process to be a proactive process and empower my employees to take care of the customer. In addition I found out that customers actually wanted to rent a vehicle for the weekend or for road trips. Sometimes their vehicle was not large enough or reliable so when they were heading on a road trip they found it easy to call the place that they come and do service with.
I surveyed my peers and found that they have started to have great success in creating additional profit for the department by offering and marketing that they have loaner cars. Our rates were very competitive and I determined that if I could have this vehicle on rent for 16 days of the month I would make money over the depreciation factor set for the vehicle and in five to six months we could turn this vehicle over to the used car department and they would have a nice used vehicle for their inventory.
All together this is a win, win, win scenario. My customers win with a better process to meet their expectations. My department wins by controlling expenses and potentially generating a profit and our used car department wins by having a premium used car that can typically be sold at a premium as a certified used vehicle. This process took full immersion and dedication but I guarantee you when done correctly the benefits will be plentiful.