Paralysis by panic or optimism by origination? Which approach should be put into practice by the car-rental industry?
The good news is, if right steps are taken, I’m predicting a bounce-back around the corner. Here are three ideas for battling through these unprecedented times.
Step 1: Think Clean
How can leadership teams at the world’s largest car rental companies leverage the “new normal” as a learning opportunity? By preparing now to meet the cleanliness demands of post-COVID customers. With travel restrictions lifting across many regions of the U.S., we are about to see a stir-crazy population ready to leave their homes.
However, the expectations of customers have quickly evolved to an unprecedented level. Sure, they are still looking for a great price on a rental for their business trip or family vacation. But, moreover, they are looking for a pristine vehicle that has been completely devoid of the previous driver. Cleanliness will matter more than ever before.
Step 2: Think Smart
Don’t let the uncertainty of today lead to vendor relationships you’re going to regret in the future.
Ask sanitation-services vendors who else they are working with, how much volume they are doing and what specific testimonials they can provide. Take the time to properly vet them.
There was a time in the industry that was centered on “cheaper” products to protect the bottom line. This mindset must now shift to “safer” products to protect your associates and customers.
Step 3: Think Bold
Last year was record-breaking regarding rental-car customer satisfaction, according to the annual study by J.D. Power.
As most companies have experienced substantial furloughs and layoffs, teams may be short-handed soon, especially as travel increases across the country. Think ahead and proceed boldly about staffing needs.
The best companies pivot their way through crises. While it may be difficult to keep the leadership team from stagnating and “waiting for all this to pass,” a passive approach will jeopardize long-term customer loyalty.
Customers expect companies to meet them where they are in life. Technology has made virtual business not only possible, but vital. The boldest thinkers explore every way to utilize new tools to execute business plans. (Troy Blackwell, left)
Companies that focus on these steps today will be the ones standing tall tomorrow.
Troy Blackwell is chief operating officer of NuVinAir Global, which offers a patented cleaning process and proprietary product line to automotive businesses.