When Process Goes Right

I’m sitting at the Denver International Airport with a big smile on my face.  I flew into a large, unfamiliar airport and could have had a tough time. Keep in mind my airport of choice is John Wayne in Orange County  with just 12 gates and in and out in 20 minutes. I’m spoiled.

My smile came from my interaction with a rental car company, National, that I’d never used before. I dreaded not having status as a customer. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.

Arriving in style

What did they do right?  They got the process and the timing exactly right in every interaction.  Upon arrival, an email was waiting saying my car was ready and directing me through the airport; which shuttle to take and which stop to hop off.   The right information at the right time. Best of all there weren’t distracting images or advertisements — they realized that travelers are on mobile devices and don’t want to be marketed to as they jostle with their luggage.

Coming home

The second pleasant surprise came when I was about to leave my last business lunch for the airport. Just as I thought about getting back to the airport, I received another email. National was telling me my rental was due, the location to drop it off, a link to a map and instructions for speedy drop off.  Again, no images or adverts.  I plugged this into my GPS and left the lunch with confidence rather than concern.

All this sounds pretty simple.  Email is a 20+ year old technology and it’s pretty easy to provide clear directions.  Timing is just using scheduling.  Why don’t more businesses do this? We can land the one-ton Curiosity on Mars, but we can’t manage to get simple customer service right?

What I didn’t get to see is how National manages things when they don’t go according to plan. It would be very interesting to see their processes when it storms, or when I extend my rental. Can they provide the same service in a fast-changing environment? I commend them for what they did for me and I wonder if I saw the boundaries or just the sweet spot for their customer service.

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Categories: Customer Service, Process Management, Retail

Author:Tom Molyneux

A business process strategist with a focus on real-time event management.

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4 Comments on “When Process Goes Right”

  1. Jeanne Roué-Taylor
    August 20, 2012 at 4:34 am #

    Good blog, Tom. We use Hertz where we have status, and we don’t necessarily see these same customer service ideas…hmmm…

    • August 20, 2012 at 4:34 am #

      Tom, great questions you ask…can National do the same when things are changing quickly? The systems of the future need to be able to understand, watch for and act on a wide variety of events that may come from inside their system or externally (like weather, as you said).

  2. August 20, 2012 at 6:40 am #

    Jeanne – thanks for your comment. I usually use Hertz and have always been happy with them. They must have been sold out for my Denver trip, which led me to try something else. Chris – good point about how things might work in a changing situation – I guess that all went smoothly on my trip so I was, as they say, on the “happy path”


  1. When process goes wrong | Successful Workplace - September 5, 2012

    […] I recently wrote about a great customer service experience. It isn’t always quite that good… […]

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