It’s no secret that customer experience in the car rental industry has been a long-standing issue. According to a study by J.D. Power, at the beginning of 2022 rental car customer satisfaction remained at an all-time low for the sixth consecutive year.
As a sector, car rental, consistently has the lowest NPS score, way below health insurance and even airlines.
The reasons for this gulf in customer satisfaction vs similar industries are numerous, so we’ve analysed several surveys and studies and found five major reasons customers consistently rate their rental experiences poorly. Here they are…
According to Travel Agent Central, 37% of customers are unhappy with the level of communication provided by car rental companies. It seems that generally, communication with rental car company employees is a major indicator of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Customers want clear, concise information about their rental, including the rental terms, pickup and drop-off times, and any additional fees or charges. However, rental providers often fall short of providing this information, leading to confusion and frustration for customers. In addition, this frustration often plays out at the point of collecting the car, which in turn creates even longer queues and wait times at locations and kiosks, another major, and long-standing pain point for car rental customers.
Hidden fees and charges consistently cited as the biggest issue for UK car renters, according to a survey by YouGov. In fact, the survey found that 61% of respondents have experienced hidden fees when renting a car. Customers often find themselves hit with unexpected charges for things like fuel, insurance, and additional drivers. These charges can be difficult to understand and can add up quickly, leading to a negative customer experience. A good car rental booking journey addresses this issue by clearly communicating these fees as optional extras way before the collection of the car, in turn reducing the time taken at the location to get into the car.
Some renters may have a specific car in mind, but limited availability can leave them disappointed. Rental providers often have a limited selection of makes and models, and popular models can quickly sell out. TripSavvy found that 47% of customers are unhappy with the limited selection of cars available for rental. This leads to frustration for customers who may have to settle for a less desirable vehicle. Some rental companies try to address this by upgrading customers when their specific car isn’t available, but this comes at a cost to the company and reduces the earning power of their assets. Again, the culprit of all this… legacy rental software that doesn’t reflect real-time availability of the fleet.
Most big rental companies are still using legacy systems and manual processes. In fact, a study by Statista found that only 10% of car rental companies surveyed globally are currently using modern fleet management systems. Legacy systems are old, outdated platforms that are expensive to maintain and difficult to update. As a result, they can be slow and prone to errors, leading to delays and frustration for customers.
The car rental industry has been slow to adopt modern rental software and new technology, and this seems to be a major contributor to unhappy customers. A survey by Gitnux found that 43% of customers are dissatisfied with the current state of car rental booking journeys and collection and drop off processes. Many rental providers are still using paper-based systems, which are prone to errors and can be time-consuming to update, creating operational churn which directly contributes to a poor experience for the end customer. In contrast, modern car rental software focuses on automating and digitising operational processes, making them faster, more accurate, and more efficient.
Although this paints an overall bleak picture, there is some good news in all of this… none of these issues are terminal and can be addressed through the implementation of modern, intuitive technology.
Using Vilfredo Pareto’s 80-20 rule, the above 5 points are the 20% of the reason for 80% of the outcomes, and thankfully they are easily addressed by implementing a modern, integrated car rental platform.
By addressing these five factors car rental providers will, without a doubt, greatly improve their customer’s experience across the board.