I have been thinking a lot about service over the past year. What is it? How is it best done? Why is it important?. While I haven't come to many hard and fast rules there is one VERY important thing that keeps coming up. Completely empower and trust those who interact directly with your guests.
I have always liked Enterprise Rent-A-Car. I had a great experience with them at the Toronto Airport a number of years ago and other than a slight slip up here on PEI they have consistently had fantastic and friendly service. I didn't know how fantastic until yesterday.
Becky and I were flying home from Boston to Charlottetown yesterday morning. We had a 9:40am flight out of Boston to Montreal and then home to Charlottetown. I woke up at 6:45am to an email from Air Canada informing us that our flight from Boston to Montreal was cancelled and couldn't be rebooked. We would have to call or go online to rebook a flight. Being the techno-nerds that we are, we quickly went online.
Air Canada had two options for us:
- A flight that left at 8am to Halifax, and on to Charlottetown that afternoon.
- A flight to Ottawa later in the day with an overnight before heading home.
Not wanting to spend another day on the road we decided to go for the flight that left in an hour (it was 7:00am by now). As the flight left so close to the current time we were unable to book online and were forced to call in as we drove to the airport. We had a 15-20 minute drive to get to the airport where we would then have to return our rental car to Enterprise and take a shuttle to our terminal. It was going to be almost impossible to make the flight.
7:20am - As we pulled into Enterprise's return lot at Boston's Logan international we could see it wasn't busy. We were only the second car returned that day. We pulled up, jumped out and began to scramble to get our luggage out. The guy with the hand-held receipt maker asked how our day was. We said "Not great. Flight was cancelled and now we're desperately trying to make the only flight that gets us home today. Oh, and we didn't get a chance to top-up the gas tank." Without any hesitation he says:
"Get back in the car. I'll drive you straight to your terminal."
We throw our bags back in the trunk and he jumps in the driver's seat. He drives us straight to our terminal, jumps out of the car and grabs our luggage out of the trunk. He hands us our luggage and the receipt for the rental.
"Don't worry about the gas. I took care of it. Good luck."
Needless to say we thanked him profusely. Thanks to him we made our flight with no time to spare and ultimately made it home.
It was obvious that this guy had the authority to take care of us. He didn't have to check with a manager to leave the lot. He didn't have to get authorization for waving gas fees. He had all of the power he needed to make sure that were amply taken care of.
Well done Enterprise.