Check the full workflow of your system when adding something new

Last week I wrote about how Comcast did not sync with their systems to auto credit people for their free “loyalty movie” and I also encountered a similar problem with Hertz.
These two events have shown me that people don’t always think through the potential problems that people could with their newly optioned offers or systems.

Hertz Gold Prepay Fiasco

I love the Hertz gold program – you get dropped off at a big board and there is your name in big LED letters – just like being in Vegas [but with about another 100 people] and tells you where to get your car.  You go to the marked spot and bam — there it is your car, the keys, the contract and a map.  In some airports they have either turned on the A/C or heater and the car is ready.
But, in a brilliant way to maximize their cash flow, Hertz has instituted a program where you can pay now or pay later for the core car fee of your rental.    Below is an example of the savings for a week rental in Maui in November.

hertz_pay_later

So this most recent experience was on the trip to Atlanta.  I had also experienced the same on a trip to San Francisco.   I used this same prepay feature to get the discounted price to save some money.
The problem is in both cases, my favorite “Gold” membership benefit of passing the line and going straight to my rental became worthless.  In both cases I had to go inside the booth with 20+ people who also thought it was a good deal.  Why did we not just go to our cars?
Well, apparently since we prepaid we needed to go inside and pick up our paperwork.  In both places I really wanted to know why we had to come inside – they got their money for the prepay and the rest will be put on the credit card as it always is.

In both places they really could not give me a reason – corporate policy was the reason initially offered. When I pushed harder I got speculation from the various staff:

  1. It is to show proof of ID – since I could prepay for my minor child to get a car – sounds like a good idea but what about the guy who checks license and contact at the gate – response: oh, they are hired security people and not Hertz employees was the answer.
    Great – sort of like the airport hired ID/boarding pass checkers they have that have their work checked yet again by Federal TSA employees – when I asked them why the double check – the TSA people tell me the local hires can’t be trusted – so why have them…. But I digress…
  2. They wanted to confirm that I knew I prepaid so I would not pay the full amount when I brought the car back.  Ummm, would the system not catch the prepayment and only show the balance due?
  3. To Remind me that I only prepaid the car fee portion was prepaid and not the mountain of airport taxes and fees.
    So now, for the next Hertz rental I need to decide is the $20 to $40 savings worth the extra 20 to 45 minutes needed to pick up my paperwork rather then just getting to the car and being on my way?

People, look at the whole process.  If you are adding some great feature that benefits you please check to make sure it does not cause problems downstream for customers.  Yes, I am saving money but if the hassle negates the primary benefit of the service and I am frustrated by the change — I will not use it creating a loss for both of us.

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