Brands could learn from Europcar SA

I hired a car from Europcar this last weekend so I could take my wife down to the Drakensberg for an early anniversary weekend in style (my usual car is the same car I’ve been driving for about a decade and not stylish at all). I’ve been using Europcar exclusively for the last year or so (I published a post about this last year) so I naturally called Europcar about this rental.

I picked up the car (a Mercedes C180) from the airport depot (it only occurred to me that Sandton would have been more convenient when I was waiting for the Gautrain to the airport that morning, despite Sanet repeatedly suggesting it). I didn’t really notice anything when I got into the car (it was a bit like moving from a wagon to the Enterprise) but I noticed a couple snags during the course of the day including a faulty front headlight and rear passenger door handle. It wasn’t anything too problematic and I didn’t need to go anywhere at night. The car was otherwise a dream (cruise control is a beautiful thing!).

I dropped the car off at the Sandton depot and told the agent there about the snags. She made a note of them. I later mentioned them to Zavi at Europcar on Twitter. I received a call from Elizna Schulz, the airport depot manager, apologising for the snags and she followed that up with an apology letter this morning.

My experiences with Europcar this last year have been dramatically better than my first lousy experience a few years ago. Although I have received good service from Avis (specifically on the same day I had that unfortunate experience with Europcar), Europcar is my first choice now, actually my only choice. It does help to have the Platinum card I was given last year (and I will certainly miss it when it expires in April) but the service generally is great. We see a number of instances of companies that mess their customers around and pay lip service to social marketing and better engagement with customers. Europcar isn’t one of those companies and while this doesn’t mean they never mess up, Zavi and her team do seem to be listening and interested in engaging meaningfully with their customers. That is what this whole social marketing thing is all about.

Our weekend was a terrific break and the rental made the drive an absolute pleasure. It was a little depressing to climb back into my car but I know where to go if I ever want to experience something special in the future.

By the way, if you are wondering about the beautiful woman in the photo, its my wife, Gina, with the car we hired in the background.


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