Service Recovery in 5 Seconds

Service Recovery in 5 Seconds

Service Recovery

Over the weekend, I was visiting Denver and rented a car through Firefly.  When I picked up my car at Denver International Airport, I was offered the option of prepaying for my fuel, which would allow me to return my car with an empty tank.  I declined, indicating that I was unsure how much I would be driving, and I didn’t feel that it would be worth paying for a full tank of gas.  The associate noted the choice, advised me to return the tank full, and specifically assured me that the vehicle’s tank was full at the time of rental.

It never crossed my mind to check the fuel gauge upon entering my vehicle, especially after hearing a verbal confirmation.  Out of the countless times I’ve rented a car throughout the country, the tank has always been full.  Sure enough, after pulling out of the airport and onto the freeway, the gas light came on, and I was nearing empty.  I called customer service and spoke with an agent in a remote corporate office, who advised me that she would make a note on my file.  I immediately filled the tank at the nearest location, and topped it off again at the end of the weekend (I only actually used about a 1/4th of a tank during my trip).

I returned the car at 9:45 PM on Saturday night, just 15 minutes before the Firefly office was scheduled to close.  One staff member was present, and two parties were in front of me returning their vehicles.  After waiting for approximately 10 minutes, I was greeted by the associate and began the rental car return.  When the associate confirmed the credit card on file, I mentioned to him that there was a matter that needed to be taken care of first.  I handed him my rental car agreement, and placed two fuel receipts on the counter.  I noted that one receipt equated the amount of a full tank, and the timestamp was just 31 minutes after the rental car agreement was printed.  I requested to be refunded for that tank of gas.

The associate looked at the rental agreement and both receipts, and then did not do any of the following:

  • Tell me he needed to find his manager
  • Look puzzled and scratch his head
  • Tell me to call back in the morning so I could discuss it with the opening manager
  • Give me a phone number and/or email address to make the request through the corporate office
  • Ask me to prove that the receipt I gave him was my own

Rather, he did this:

  • Noted that indeed, the car was filled with a full tank of gas just 31 minutes after the rental began
  • Refunded me the cost of the full tank
  • Showed me on my receipt that it was refunded

WOW!  Not only was this employee proficient in taking care of a customer’s needs, he did it so efficiently that I didn’t even time to think if I should be frustrated or not.  It took about 5 seconds.  And it guaranteed that I’ll be renting with Firefly again.

Joshua Liebman
As the Founder of BackLooper, a consumer insights tool, Joshua not only helps attractions generate higher volumes of customer feedback, but provides them with the intelligence needed to correct the most pressing concerns that detract from the guest experience.  Joshua’s passion for guest experience comes from his background in hospitality and tourism, serving visitors from all around the world and specializing in complex service failure resolution.  BackLooper has proven to help attractions optimize their feedback loop and foster guest loyalty.

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