zipcar | Customer Service Solutions, Inc.

Handle Interruptions Heroically - 6/18/24

In the middle of a project, Jimbo, the customer service team member, had to stop what he was doing because he received an e-mail from a customer complaining about their experience at a recent event. Later that day, Jimbo was asked by his boss to put everything on hold for Read more

From Employees to Teammates: The Shift - 6/11/24

Be a great teammate. Be a good team player. We’re all part of the team. We’re no longer employees, we’re team members! The phrase “Team” is used in describing co-workers so much more than it was used years ago.  Then, we would be talking about employees, talking about staff, talking Read more

Nurture New Relationships - 6/4/24

Freddie was a new business owner in town.  He was launching a franchise, had acquired some funding from a local bank, and was in search of staff who cared about customer service. All the while, he was in the process of renovating a storefront for his business, so he was Read more

There’s Positivity in Patience - 5/28/24

The employee at the financial services firm was working with a new client on a relatively simple loan.  The documentation was about as clear as it could get to the employee, but the customer had lots of questions.  The employee calmly, clearly, and specifically answered each question.  The meeting Read more

The Goal – A Great Experience - 5/21/24

The following is a narrative of a great experience (people, process, service, facility) at a minor league sporting event – key points that could apply to any business are in bold… Mark and I pulled into the parking lot, excited about the game.  The Slapshots had been on a roll Read more

Your Best Ability is… - 5/14/24

I enjoy watching sports, and I’ve even listened to some sports press conferences over the years, just to hear what coaches are saying.  Basically getting the leadership perspective from the sports industry either out of my interest or curiosity, or to figure out how to apply it to the Read more

A Complaint is a Gift - 5/7/24

A complaint is a gift.  Okay, so the complainer is not always a “gift.”  The customer’s delivery of the complaint is sometimes more like a stocking filled with coal than a vase filled with roses.  But this is why we need to be able to differentiate the complaint from Read more

Mastering Confidence in Customer Service - 4/30/24

It’s not what you said…it’s how you said it. If you’ve ever had someone say this to you, raise your hand.  (I just raised my hand) Usually this is being said when someone is upset with you, but regardless of the reason, that phrase illustrates that HOW we say something often Read more

Be Amazing - 4/23/24

Watching Michael Jordan steal a pass and then dunk a basketball is amazing.  Taking a rocket to the moon is amazing.  The taste of my mom’s homemade beef soup is amazing. We all have our personal examples of what is amazing.  Usually, it’s something that we cannot comprehend, that we Read more

Talk About Yourself to Build Customer Confidence - 4/16/24

When you’re dealing with somebody who is anxious or nervous about a situation, a customer who feels like they don’t have much control, an individual who is unsure and uncertain, it’s important to put the customer at ease.  It’s important to build their comfort level.  It’s important to help Read more

Don’t Zip to the Wrong Customer Service Solution

Posted on in Business Advice, World of Customer Service Please leave a comment

Instead of renting or buying a car, why not share it? That’s the premise of Zipcar – an organization using a “Blue Ocean” strategy to build a business.

And like every business, the customer’s experience is not all about the product; the employee attitudes and process impact overall perceptions and loyalty (and $$). So an Adweek article like Zipcar’s Customer Service Gets Horrible Reviews is the last thing a growing business needs.

However, what’s most interesting about the article is what some business experts suggest that Zipcar should do to improve the experience. In response to complaints about “dirty cars, rude reps, unreturned emails, last-minute changes,” advice is given such as “how about a lighthearted phone app where customers report the quality of the car they are picking up or returning.” So customers would report the cars are dirty? We already know there are dirty cars…

How about this advice – “Customers could be alerted that Zipcar is rating them internally and that bad ratings could result in fines or having their Zipcar membership revoked.” So we penalize the customers for bad ratings? So we want to artificially increase ratings?

These bits of advice are classic of people jumping from symptom to solution (create an app and punish customers?) without giving consideration for the root cause. Zipcar needs to ask why are cars dirty, why are reps rude, why are e-mails not being returned, and why are changes done last minute? Find the root cause, and the solution becomes much more clear. The solutions will probably deal with employee hiring/training/motivation/accountability, process improvements, better tracking of documents/vehicles (and yes, customers).

When you have an issue, “There’s an app for that” is rarely the best answer.

Listen to our latest podcast episode of “Stepping Up Service” on The MESH Network at