The majority of readers of this Customer Experience Review are likely to have hired a car. Whether it be for business or holiday, hiring a car is commonplace all over the world. Over the years, I have hired a car from a variety of well know (and not so well-known) rental companies. Brand names like Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and Thrifty are often the first we see on entering into a foreign country.
Hiring a car should be a relatively simple and pain-free experience – yet the variation of experiences I have received in the last 2 years alone almost saw me lose my faith in the industry. I have written about a couple of these experiences in the past – from being taken for granted to struggling to get a VAT invoice. I say that stories like these ‘almost’ saw me lose faith – and I say ‘almost’ as my experience with another rental company last week has gone a long way to restoring it. You are about to read my Customer Experience Review of Enterprise Rent-a-Car – another well-known name in the vehicle hire industry. I hope you enjoy reading it.
|Date Review Conducted||15th August 2014|
|Branch Visited||Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Unit 5-6, Hartford Way, Sealand Industrial Estate, Chester CH1 4NT|
|CX Review Total Score||43/50|
Enterprise Rent-a-Car is one of the world’s powerhouses when it comes to vehicle rental. Founded in 1957, you can hire a vehicle from Enterprise or a franchise partner almost anywhere in the world. As always, I like to see if the brands I review make any statement about their interaction with customers publicly – or in other words, do they explicitly make promises to their customers? The following statement is publicly available on their website:
Through tremendous leadership and the entrepreneurial spirit of our employees, we have built the largest car rental brand in North America, known for exceptionally low rates and outstanding customer service
Sounds great. A people focussed organisation that is known for low prices and ‘outstanding’ customer service. The question is whether or not this statement holds up in practice.
Before I start the review, I just want to share a little bit of context around why I chose to hire a car from Enterprise last week. I live in Chester in North West England. I have tried almost every car hire company within a 10 mile radius in the last two years. Last week I attempted to reserve a car with one of Enterprise’s competitors. The experience was awful. From failing to get the website to work, to speaking to a disinterested, ignorant employee on the phone, I was literally pulling my hair out. Surely hiring a car should never be that painful. I therefore decided to give Enterprise a go for the first time – you are about to start reading what happened using my tried and tested Customer Experience Review format:
Accessibility – CX Review Score 8/10
How easy was it for me to do what I need to do with the company I am interacting with – the basic premise of this first review category. Having got to the end of my tether with the ‘other’ hire car company, I decided to have a look at Enterprise. Their website is as easy to find as any, clearly visible on the first page of Google when searching for ‘car hire in Chester’. Whilst not the best looking website in the world, it does what it needs to do. In fact, this is quite an important point – Enterprise rents vehicles – it does not really need the best looking, sexiest website in the world. It just needs a website that works and that is intuitive (think Amazon for car hire) – it passes the test. Not only does the website do exactly what you want it to do, it also clearly displays both the address of the branch AND the direct telephone number of the branch. If you want to speak to someone in the branch you are hiring the car from, this is easily doable – not something that is that simple to do with other hire car companies.
I decided to see what car I could hire online as a starter for ten – I was very impressed with the range and price (more about that later). Having had such a bad experience with the other hire car company, I thought it would be best to phone Enterprise and just check to see if hiring with them was as simple as the website made it appear. The phone was answered by a very polite, very friendly lady. I was given a quote that aligned with the website quote, and advised that all I needed to do was come on the day with my driving licence. I did not need any more I.D., although I would have to leave a £200 deposit. I did not have to reserve the car on my credit card either. It all seemed so simple. Compared to my other recent experiences, I was almost as relieved as I was pleasantly surprised.
With over 350 branches in the UK alone, you are never far from an Enterprise. My closest branch is 2 miles away from my house – as convenient as any other hire car company. The branch is like most other hire car branches. Not the nicest looking of places, but functional. My car was ready at the time I had asked for it and was spotlessly clean inside and out.
The paperwork process was also simple – easy and pain free. There was no hard sell on additional insurances. I was impressed with the little ‘tool’ that Enterprise use to evaluate damage (see image below) – understanding what constitutes damage or not is much easier to understand with Enterprise than any other car hire company I have used.
As I drove off with the little blue Renault Clio given to me, I was left with a feeling of ‘this all feels just a little bit too simple’ – It is sad to think that I thought that something had to go wrong at some point. I am delighted to report that nothing did go wrong. Returning the car was just as simple as picking it up. Easy and quick, I was handed my VAT invoice without even asking for it – something one of their competitors are unable to do at all! I was even asked if I would like a lift home – I almost fell over!
I take my hat off to Enterprise – your branch in Chester did you proud on my first visit. I was very impressed.
Range/Choice – CX Review Score 9/10
So what about the range and choice of cars available. Like all car hire companies, Enterprise have a good range of vehicles from small to large depending on your requirements. One of the things that stands Enterprise out from many of their competitors is that they understand how to deal with businesses. If you want to hire a van from Enterprise you can do so as easily as hiring a car for personal purposes.
Using the car for business, I wanted to keep my costs down to a minimum. I am not that bothered about the car I drive, so I immediately asked for the ‘cheapest’. The cheapest is not always the most appropriate though – fortunately the lady that booked the car for me was able to reserve a better car (with air conditioning) for only a very small amount more.
The car I was given was a Renault Clio. I was very surprised to get a car of this size with cruise control, in-built sat-nav and air conditioning. I did not expect anything other than air conditioning – it was another pleasant surprise. In all my years of hiring cars, only once before has a hire car company provided me with a car that had equipment to match this little Renault Clio.
People – CX Review Score 8/10
I was also very impressed with al of Enterprise’s people. From the lady that spoke to me on the phone, to the chap who gave me the car, to Alex who received the car on my return – all of them were polite, friendly and very helpful. Whilst I have come across people of a similar ilk at other hire car companies, I cannot say that I have found one where all the people appear to be so well trained in delivering such good consistent customer service. It seems as though Enterprise’s online statement of delivering ‘outstanding’ customer service is not too far off the mark.
Throughout all of my interactions, Enterprise actually made me, the customer, feel as though I was actually a little bit important. It is not difficult to deliver good customer service – yet so many are unable to replicate the experience I had with Enterprise last week. If I were the senior leader of an Enterprise competitor, I would ask all of my staff to hire a car from Enterprise for the day and see how it should/could be done.
Value – CX Review Score 10/10
This is where Enterprise really do excel – and absolutely live up to their online claim of being known for ‘exceptionally low rates’. I hired a top spec Renault Clio for 6 days for just over £93. Amazing value. When you consider how good the service was from beginning to end, the price of the hire seems even better value. They even wanted to give me a lift home afterwards without charging me any more. My only complaint when it comes to value is that it took me this long to give Enterprise a try!! It is going to take an almighty effort for any of Enterprise’s competitors to prise me away now I have found them!
How did it make me feel? CX Review Score 8/10
In two words – very good! Maybe it is because my other car hire experiences have been so mixed (and often bad) that this Enterprise experience felt so good. There is no doubt that I was very pleasantly surprised. At the end of the day, we all want to interact with companies that make the transaction as simple and pain free as possible. We all want to be able to achieve what we set out to do. On this occasion, Enterprise allowed me to do what I wanted to do, more easily than any of their competitors and have left me with a warm feeling inside – that is how you want all of your customers to feel.
Would I use Enterprise again? YES
This is a very easy question answer – absolutely. In fact, true to my word, I have already booked another car to pick up tomorrow! The key for me as a new Enterprise customer is that this first experience is repeatable. Was this a one off, or will I have the same experience every time I use them? I sincerely hope and expect that quality of experience I received to be maintained. As you can tell, I am very impressed with Enterprise and the fact that this seems to be a company that is true to its word. If you are looking for a good example of a company that delivers a very good Customer Experience as a benchmark, then I would strongly suggest looking at Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
Enterprise have received a score of 43 out of 50 for my Customer Experience Review. This is an exceptionally high score that is one point better than I awarded the JW Marriott in Kuala Lumpur! The team at their Chester branch are doing an exceptional job.
It is important to remember that my reviews are based on my personal opinion, using my expertise as a Customer Experience specialist to make a judgement on the end to end experience I receive. You are absolutely free to disagree with me!!