A big "Thank you" to all my friends and colleagues who asked me for an update on what has happened with my Avis Rental Car adventure.
I started this blog experiment after I had unsuccessfully tried four times to resolve a problem with Avis. I signed up for "Preferred" status so I could bypass the rental counter, but I had to go to the rental counter anyway. Finally, I started blogging about my efforts to resolve the problem and my offer for a resolution: give me a free weekend rental and make sure I can bypass the counter on my next rental. Surprisingly, I was contacted by an Avis customer service supervisor named Ray who had read my blog. After some back and forth, Ray emailed to let me know the problem had been fixed and he mailed me certificates for four free rental days.
The Next Rental
My next rental was right where it started in Portland, Oregon. The free rental certificates came in handy since I combined a business trip with an anniversary weekend in the Willamette Valley wine region with my wife, Sally. The sad, sweet irony was that I had to go to the counter to redeem the certificates. Argh.
The Next, Next Rental
A few weeks later I needed to rent a car in Boston during the week of Thanksgiving. It was a last minute trip so I rented with Avis because I didn't have time to search for a new rental car company. Lo and behold, my 'Preferred' status worked like a charm! The shuttle driver dropped Sally and I off at our car and we were on the road in a hurry. The extra time came in handy since we were able to get to the Boston Unversity vs. New Hampshire hockey game and snag two tickets just minutes before they sold out. (BU 4 - UNH 2, ha!) That never would have happened without 'Preferred' status!
For now, I'm willing to forget the whole ugly chain of events and become a satisfied Avis customer if the 'Preferred' status continues to work. I have a couple of trips coming up, so I'll let you know.
Here are a few take-aways from the whole thing.
- Customers can sometimes have inertia, even when they are unsatisfied. I know I didn't switch to another rental company because I was worried the experience wouldn't be much better.
- Companies can turn things around. This story really has turned out better (so far) than I expected.
- It pays to blog. None of this would have been resolved if I didn't blog about it. (Caveat, if you are going to blog, be fair and be honest. Nobody will be sympathetic to a chronic complainer.)