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Three Ways To Improve Rental Cars

I often rent cars from either Hertz or Avis. Over the past decade of being their customer I have come the conclusion that Avis and Hertz employees rarely rent cars for themselves, or at the very least, lack ability to empathize with their customers. These are some obvious and easily implemented things they could do that would improve the rental experience.

 The three things are:

  1. Make it easier to load luggage. This should be so obvious that it needn’t be mentioned at all. Rental companies should position the vehicle so that the trunk is accessible. Nearly every customer needs to load luggage into the trunk, yet cars are often so tightly parked that it is difficult to do so. Hertz at SFO is the worst offender here, see the photo below. The car is backed in and nearly touching the wall behind it. There is at least three feet of free space in front of the car, so this is inexcusably inconsiderate.

  2. SFOcarpark
  3. Your customers should not have to keep track of extra keys. Avis is the worst offender in this customer-hostile practice. When you rent a car from Avis they give you two keys that are chained together with a steel cable. The giant fobs, stiff cable, and Avis ID tag make for an unwieldy tangle that I defy anyone to fit in their pocket. (Pro tip: The household goods aisle in the grocery store has wire snips or pliers that will free you from this burden. Just don’t forget to return both loose keys when you return the car.)

  4. Some of your customers are more than five feet tall. The worker who parks the car for customer pickup should put the driver’s seat all the way back. Every driver will need to adjust the seat anyway, but when it’s too far up, you’re making it difficult for a large percentage of customers, no pun intended. (Particularly if the car has to be started before the seat can be adjusted.) For bonus points, stop tossing the keys onto the furthest reaches of the dashboard, too.

See how simple those are? Just a little consideration of the experience the customer will have when first arriving at the car is all it takes.

While I have your attention, though, here’s a bonus improvement. Think about what your customer needs to know about the car they are about to drive off. For example:

  • Where is the trunk release?
  • Is there a fuel door release?
  • Where is the USB charging port?

These things aren’t easily discovered because they vary so much from vehicle to vehicle. Instead of cluttering the car with ads, give us a simple, printed orientation that answers these three questions. All of this info would fit on a business card and doesn’t even need illustrations.

C’mon Hertz and Avis, you can both try harder.


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