Zipcar Listens to Customers / by Chel Wolverton

Wednesday I rented a Zipcar to get to a meeting. To those of you who haven't heard of Zipcar they are an awesome rental car company that includes insurance, free gas and a bit of mileage with each rental. For $50 a year and the cost of the rental I can rent a car, pick it up at the T station nearby and be ready to drive. It's an awesome deal and I even have favorite cars.

I reserved the car, took the T to pick it up, and drove toward my destination. Once I got nearby I stopped to get lunch because I hadn't eaten when I left the house. I took my cell, credit card, ID and Zipcard in with me and locked my computer and other items into the vehicle.

After lunch I came back out of the restaurant and when to unlock the door but the card wouldn't work. I try again and again out of hopes that it'll work once and I can get in but no. I called Zipcar's customer service and report the problem. The rep isn't able to unlock the car remotely nor is there a key on the undercarriage like she had hoped.

She informs me that she'll have to call in an unlock and that I need to stay with the car until she gets someone there. In the end I waited through my meeting, until the tow truck came and then made my way back across down in disappointment. I wasn't angry, just deeply disappointed that I hadn't got to have the conversation I was looking for and that my reason for renting the car was to get to that meeting and it hadn't been reliable as times before.

I called the Zipcar when I returned home. I spoke to a different representative. She told me that they had refunded the last hour they added on for me. She was polite but dismissive of the issues I had. After the call, I pondered what would make me feel valued as a customer. I wanted Zipcar to understand that my frustration was because that I had used relied on their service to get me where I needed to go. I did so in order to do my business more efficiently that day.

I wrote a letter to a senior exec at Zipcar explaining what had happened, much like this blog post, emphasizing the reliance on their service. How important it was to me as a business and how it failed this time around. Within 45 minutes, Member Services apologized and sent a full refund to my account. This was an awesome response time. Zipcar has shown that they aren't afraid to take care of their customers when an unforeseeable issue happens. With the ease they present in renting cars, I'm happy to still be a customer.