What Matters Most: Being Outstanding EVERY Time

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Our story of not outstanding customer service is from QBQ! book reader, Christina. Enjoy!

My husband, a car mechanic, and I flew from Florida to Louisiana to pick up a truck he bought online. It was in worse shape than he was told, so as we were driving home, it died at a gas station and wouldn’t restart.

I searched for rental car companies and called one — a completely reputable, well-known, world-famous brand — only 0.8 miles away. 

After listening to a long recording, a guy answered at 5:32 pm. As we ticked closer to their 6 pm closing time, he asked for a bunch of information. Finally … 

Me: “Any chance you can pick us up, please? We’re less than a mile away.”   

The Guy: “Sorry, ma’am — we cannot pick you up.”   

Me: “Okay, well, what if we are a few minutes late, will you wait for us?”  

The Guy: “We close at 6.” 

Me: “You can’t come to get us? It’s freezing, dark, and we’re just down the road.” 

The Guy: “No.”

Huh, I thought.

Well, since I’m a better runner than my husband, in cold temps and strong winds, I began … jogging.

Along a highway, over a bridge, under an overpass, on slanted concrete shoulders, and across five lanes of traffic — being careful not to get hit by rush-hour traffic! 

Breathless, I arrived just before 6 o’clock. What do I see through the window? Four desk people staring at their cellphones. I stand outside at the “WAIT HERE FOR SERVICE” sign but no one looks up. So I break COVID protocol by opening the door, only to hear, “You cannot come in! Someone will be with you.” 

Keith came out. I asked why they couldn’t come get us.

“It’s our policy to not pick people up after 5:30. So it wouldn’t be fair to other customers if we’d come to get you.”

Um … okay.

When we got to the topic of renting, Keith said they only had a compact available. Yet I’d ordered a full-size sedan by phone minutes earlier. 

“Someone else must have just rented it,” he stated. 

Not very likely.

“It is $5/day cheaper, though.” 

So my $461 one-way rental due to your exorbitant drop-off fee will now be $451 for a car I don’t want? Yay!

“Unless you want an SUV for $26 a day more.” 

“I’ll pass.”

But then the keys for my compact were missing so I ended up with an SUV anyway at the compact price — but not the sedan I’d been promised. 

Good news, though! We’ll be heading home tonight instead of walking to a motel.

The next morning Keith did call to check on us. That was nice. I chose to tell him I’d received extremely poor service by being forced to run in the cold. He said, “It’s our policy to not pick people up after 5 pm.”

Wait, is it 5:30 as I was told, or 5:00 when they cut off their pick-ups? 

I wasn’t happy.

However, Lauren phoned an hour later to ask what she could do to help. I told her nothing since no one can undo the night before.

She then said, “I’m sorry you had to walk.”

I responded, “Thanks, but I didn’t have time to walk. I had to run.”

She then said they are supposed to pick people up till closing time at … 6pm.

What. The. Heck?

When Lauren offered to knock $90 off our bill, I accepted — and refrained from saying, “Please do better next time.”


So, do you believe this “world-famous” rental car company made lots of errors — or were the customer’s expectations too high? Our conclusion is this: If the goal is to be outstanding, this organization did not get there on that day. And that’s what matters most to Christina.

Comments welcome!

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