My wife and I wanted to book a car for an upcoming trip. In the past I have been a fairly loyal customer for Enterprise Car Rental. There was a stretch when I was renting cars from them just about every other weekend - we were on a first name basis. They liked my repeat business, I liked the personal service and the price breaks they gave me. I was a preferred customer in the truest sense of the word.
Times are different now. I no longer require a rental car every weekend. The Enterprise location I used to rent from (one block away from the office) was recently bulldozed down to make room for some new development next to the Olympic Village. My personal connections were relocated to alternate offices.
So as I mentioned earlier, we needed to rent another car. Naturally, we started by checking rates at Enterprise. This go around, they weren't already the best price in town, and we happened to notice an oddity: if we varied the dates even a little, the rates dropped by about a third. I figured that since the website wasn't making sense, perhaps I could get the better rate by phoning the company.
I ended up calling them twice, but both times I got the same pat answer: 'our rates vary by date, time and availability.' Both times the service rep quoted me that line. Neither one was able to explain it better than that. The best attempt I heard was that one tried to say it was just like the airlines. Unable to get the rate I was prepared to pay (and generally what their competitors were offering) I thanked the reps for their time without booking.
Now as it happened, on my second call I was randomly selected to partake in a call survey (if I liked) on my customer experience for the call. Of course I agreed. When prompted, I rated my experience as a 1, which meant completely dissatisfied. Predictably, this triggered an opportunity to speak with a supervisor (finally!) or I could just leave a message. I opted to talk to the supervisor and eagerly awaited an answer.... which never came. Apparently the supervisor wasn't taking calls today and instead I found myself back in the automated routine. It all happened so fast I am not sure if the person just put the phone on 'make busy' or if the whole process of shunting my call was automated. Either way the net result was the same. I eventually left my message (not pleased, going with competitor) and concluded my business with Enterprise.
Dollar Rent a Car, you get my business this trip. I don't normally rent with you and you certainly will be on a trial basis. Let's hope your cars and service can meet my expectations.