A combination of cost-saving initiatives, new products and a keen focus on customer service has been instrumental to Europcar’s winning success during 2012.
With 60 of its stations now open seven days a week, a new loyalty scheme, e-Ready, and a new short-term leasing scheme imminent, Europcar has been working hard to separate itself from the competition and strive towards repeat business, which managing director Ken McCall believes is crucial for future growth.
“This is a tough industry and very competitive – you’ve got to focus on repeat customers to do well,” says McCall.
The rental industry has had a difficult few years during the recession, with a number of companies going into administration or being taken over.
Despite the economic challenges, McCall is confident there is growth in the rental industry and Europcar has set itself some aggressive targets for the next few years.
The company’s commitment to customer service was one of the standout features of the Europcar award submission which led to it winning Best Short-Term Rental Company in March.
Europcar believes keeping the customer close to the heart of the business not only helps to keep introducing initiatives that can be more tailored to customer needs but also keeps McCall and his team on their toes.
Fleet News: Quality of service plays a key role in your future growth aspirations – what initiatives have you introduced to bring you closer to the customer?
Ken McCall: There is no one silver bullet solution – we are doing a range of things to encourage and improve overall performance. One of the most important is speaking to the customer.
One of our targets is to convert 80% of current customers into repeat customers, which is a critical target for us.
The rental industry is not growing hugely and it is really important to be able to generate repeat business. So customers are being called and asked to rate the service they received from us out of 10.
All the phone calls are made by staff, including all of our management team and me. We are given five customers to call each week.
It keeps your feet on the ground because people are telling you real things, you’re getting real-life criticism and ideas for new products or services.
You get some fantastic feedback, plus more engagement from your staff, and we show the customers that we care.
We have set ourselves a three-year plan to reach the 80% target – we’re currently running around 67%.
It’s the little things that make the difference and it’s this level of detail that will hopefully get us closer to our target.