How many commercial landlords incorrectly consider themselves tobe in the real estate business? How many real estate brokersassume they're in the business of leasing or sellingproperties? They're all wrong! From a customer serviceperspective, both parts of the commercial real estate industrycould take direction from the car rental business!

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Recently, I flew to Oklahoma on business. Prior to myflight, I arranged for a rental car to be available. Since Ihad combined two business trips into one, I flew in from anothercity that required indirect flights. So, after traveling allday long, when I finally landed late that night, the last thing Iwanted was anything more that would keep me from getting somesleep.

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As I got off the place, I walked through the terminal andarrived at the car rental area. When I approached the carrental counter, I found a young man sitting behind the desk quietlywith a smile on his face. It was almost midnight, so the carrental area, and the airport itself, were both pretty quiet. I dropped my bags and said: "I'm Andrew Zezas...I believe you havea car waiting for me?" The smiley service representativestood up, said: "Good evening, Mr. Zezas. Your car is ready!" He proceeded to give me very precise directions to the elevatorthat would take me to my car. I picked up my bags, followedhis directions, and when the elevators opened, I stepped off andsaw the their booth just a few step in front of me. I walkedup to the booth and opened my mouth to speak, when the attendantsaid: "You must be Mr. Zezas! Your car is right here." 13 feet away from where I was standing was a just cleaned sparklingsedan with the engine idling, ready to take me to my hotel. The attendant handed me my paperwork, and in what seemed likelittle more than 30 second, my bags were in the trunk, I met upwith my colleague, and we were driving out of the airport. How cool was that? Sleep was only a short drive away!

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Before I pulled off the airport property, a sensor on thedashboard told me that pressure in one of the tires was verylow. So, my colleague and I immediately returned to therental booth. I figured, sleep might have to wait awhile. The attendant saw us pull in and, before he even knewwhat the problem was, he couldn't apologize enough. He askedme how he could make up to us the terrible inconvenience hiscompany had caused us. Was he kidding? Terribleinconvenience? We drove for all of 87 seconds! Whatterrible inconvenience? This guy really meant it! Hecouldn't stop apologizing.

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The attendant walked into his booth, and in under 3 minutes cameout with keys to a brand spankin' new SUV. He said: "We'veupgraded you two levels, as our way of apologizing. Your caris right over there". Wow! I walked over to theSUV, threw my bags in the back, and was overwhelmed with that newcar smell that I can never get enough of. When my colleagueand I looked down at the dash, we both saw something neither of ushad ever seen before. Now, mind you, we each have beendriving for more than 30 years. What we saw amazed us. The odometer read....3! Not 300, not 3,000....just 3, littleold miles. This shiny, wonderful smelling, free upgraded SUV,had only been driven out of the factory, onto the trailer, and intothe rental parking lot. It had basically never been driven byanyone else other than the guys who built it and deliveredit. And, I would be the first! Now, that was cool!

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So, let's count the surprises:

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1. Smiley greeting at the counter

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2. Greeting at the booth, which wseasy to find and close by

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3. Car waiting next to the booth

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4. 10 or 20 apologies

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5. Under 3 minute car replacement

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6. Free upgrade to a much larger andmore comfortable vehicle

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7. And, a vehicle that, if it was anynewer, it would still be still steel ingots and petroleum!

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Now, that's what I call customer service! You think I'llrent from that company again? You think I've told this storya bunch of times, and have encouraged my colleagues, clients,family, and friends to rent from them? You think word ofmouth travels fast? You bet!

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Landlords and brokers, errors happen in transactions and whenproviding service all the time. Some are simple, honestmistakes, and others are major screw-ups, or worse. When wasthe last time you provided seven surprises as a way of making yourtenants and clients feel like they wouldn't want to do businesswith anyone else ever again?

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Send me your thoughts.

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Follow me at: http://Twitter.com/RealStrat

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Where is AndrewZezas?

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Check out '2010: More Business,Now!'

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Copyright Real Estate Strategies Corporation 2010. AllRights Reserved.

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