Automated Car Rentals and Customer Service

I travelled cross country last week for my work and ended up at Atlanta’s mega-airport.  If you have not been, I suggest it as a great adventure in and of itself.  You don’t even have to leave the terminal, just fly in, shop and dine in one of the endless stores and restaurants, and people watch.  Because there are thousands of people moving past you every minute.  Tens of thousands every hour. 

Which means that getting a rental car can be an hour wait. At least.  Unless you use the Self Service Kiosk.  From reading past posts, you know that I am not a big fan of Outsourced Caring (read the Dooce for more on where that came from), and I detest when you are forced into using sub-par Self Service instead of putting actual Customer Service Reps in front of people.

However, at Atlanta’s Hartfield International Airport, the Hertz rental counter has Self Service Customer Service nailed!  As I walked up to the Hertz area, I saw 4 people waiting in line for the lone counter rep.  Immediately in front of me were 3 Self Service kiosks…non of which were being used.  As I thought about whether I would stand in line or try out the kiosks, the exchange between the first person in line and the Customer Service Rep quickly made me decide that waiting in line was a bad idea.

Kiosk – here I come!  I stepped up, touched the screen and at a rapid fire pace, swiped my credit card, entered information to confirm my reservation and in about 5 or 6 minutes, had a receipt and was done.

I moved towards the counter to see if I could get a confirmation that I had done this correctly from the Customer Service Rep. The woman behind the counter saw me and instantly looked over with a smile, asking, “Did you get everything OK, hon?”  (Don’t call Human Resources, that’s just how we talk in the South)

I asked her if she could confirm that my receipt was correct and she quickly and efficiently checked it, stapled it into a Hertz folder for me and sent me on my way – all in about 60 seconds.  Meanwhile, the first customer was still waiting in line.

The key here was that Hertz has installed a Self Service process that works and is quick.  They backed it up with a Customer Service Rep process that validates the process and encourages me to use it again. Plus, it let all the other Customers waiting in line know that they should also try t he process, because it works!

Thanks, Hertz for making a good Self Service product, and thanks for reading,




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