While on a recent family trip, our car rental experience helps to illustrate things you can do to stand out in both a negative and positive way. If you think that your business is just like your competitor’s business, think about the travel industry. What can a car rental company do to stand out from the crowd? It’s not like they can add a fifth wheel to the car and call it a feature. What can you learn from them?
The Car Rental
When we arrived in Boston, the car came with the NeverLost Navigation System. The NeverLost System should be renamed 4EverLost. At one point the system kept rerouting us in the same circle repeatedly. If you have not had the experience, let’s just say it’s a bit overrated.
At another point, the map showed our car traveling straight down the Charles River in Cambridge even though we were 200 yards from that point. Instead of spending the entire trip pretending like we were part of a skulling crew, we opted to use Google Maps on our phone (sorry iPhone 5 users) which provided clear, concise, amazing navigation assistance.
The Big Surprise
At the end of our trip, we returned to the Hertz airport location. The attendant met us at the car, and promptly printed the receipt. As I was about to start unloading the car full of luggage, he said “Mr. Altman, instead of unloading the car and loading and unloading it from the shuttle bus, we can just drop you and your family at the curb for your flight. Just stay in the car.” We were completely blown away. I asked “When did you start doing this?” He replied, “About a month ago. I hope you find it valuable.” Let’s just say they just moved into first place in my rental car choices.
So, what can you learn from this experience?
Keep in mind that you, like me, probably see the car rental as a commodity.
- ”4EverLost” launched in 1995, it was a big deal. Almost 20 years later, it has not kept up with the times. It is inferior compared to your SmartPhone. What services do you offer your clients where an update or major change is overdue? What may have been a great feature 10 or 20 years ago might be hurting your business today. It may be time to do away with delivering your detailed billing via VisiCalc;
- Their service to drop us at the curb for our flight was one of those extraordinary events. WOW! It made such a huge impression, I had to tell someone (and that someone happens to be you). Identify ONE thing you can do this week to get a “Wholly Cow” reaction from your best customers. How can you stand out from the noise in your industry?
- Businesses often complain that they are the same as their competition. The irony is that the things that make us stand out are generally not the big things, rather it is the small touches that lead to great repeat and referral business. In most cases, they don’t cost big money, but can help you preserve margins and drive future business.
Can you identify one thing you should update and one nice touch you can add to drive more business? If you want to sell based on value and not price, start by delivering exceptional value.