Hertz enhances rental experience with ability to change reservation via mobile

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members are offered a range of cars on their smartphone that they can instantly rent in lieu of the reserved vehicle. The upgrade is a significant enhancement to the Carfirmations service by giving members a way to execute a vehicle change in three simple clicks and without talking to a rental agent.

“With Hertz’s Carfirmation – when we tell the customer what car they have and where it is parked – customers love the reassurance this brings,” said Paula Rivera, manager of public affairs for The Hertz Corp., Park Ridge, NJ.

“But the very next thought to enter their head is – ‘Do I like this car or would I prefer something different?’” she said.

“So, the natural next step for us was to create an opportunity for the customer to answer that question. Hertz Carfirmations really responds to an immediate customer need in a smart and simple way.”

Interdepartmental cooperation
The enhancements to the Carfirmations program leverage mobile to bring added convenience to Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members.

Hertz piloted the service in both Los Angeles and Washington D.C. throughout December with thousands of customers before rolling out the Mobile Gold Alert upgrades to the top 50 airport locations in the United States.

“With more than two million customers using Mobile Gold Alerts, and more than 500,000 alerts sent each month, it was critical that our infrastructure was able to handle the demand,” Ms. Rivera said.

“In developing Mobile Gold Alerts as well as the subsequent ability to swap or upgrade a vehicle, we included all areas of the business and compiled a cross-functional team to design, develop and launch Hertz Carfirmations,” she said.

“This team included members from such areas as IT, operations, fleet and marketing, among others, all with various wants and needs for the service; working together, the team was able to develop a customer-friendly product that was also able to fulfill various internal demands.”

More seamless experiences
The Hertz Carfirmations program uses both email and mobile SMS to notify Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members renting at U.S. airports about their rental, including specific vehicle information and car location prior to their arrival.

By clicking a link in the message, users are given three options: to switch to a different car at no additional cost, view the Deal of the Day or upgrade to a nicer car while presenting the specific make, model and color of available cars. Where available, cars with NeverLost GPS are also offered.

“Hertz has a strategic focus on providing mobile solutions for its customers,” Ms. Rivera said.

“Car rental customers are by definition ‘on the move’ and designing services for a mobile platform provides us with unique opportunities to talk to customers at the right time,” she said.

“So this is one step along the path of creating a more seamless experience for our customers.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York