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The aim of this report was to gather an understanding of the key customer service processes used by Enterprise Rent-a-car and make suggestions as to how we could improve customer satisfaction. We utilized the DMAIC framework to analyse each process in the customer service cycle and discovered the main area of improvement within employees’ demotivation and lack of sufficient training before entering branch. From this we developed an integrated framework for performance management of the business.
The main focus placed on the development of its employees through implementing the Kaizen approach to management of employees, hosting monthly auditing checks, amongst quality circles to operational tasks such as a daily performance matrix.
Alongside establishment of a different, monthly team leader to review the front line service process. Design/methodology The framework will first define the customer service process, using a flow diagram and further will assess the success of the process using a CTQ (Critical Quality Tree).
The framework will then be used to measure how successful the process is through using a cause and effect diagram to assess the most likely causes of customer dissatisfaction, supported by a quantitative analysis of a self administered questionnaire to identify the most likely consequence of an unhappy customer.
Once we have now identified the key factors, we can develop our problem statement. Furthermore, this will lead to our analysis stage where we analyse the core processes and effectiveness of support activities through a value chain analysis.
From the key factors we have identified that are in need of improvement we can identify sources of development from mind mapping suggestions and consequently identify potential service upgrades.
Finally identify sources of implementation through a plan do check diagram (PDCA) to group steps to improvement in customer satisfaction, supported by concrete objectives and initiatives through a balanced scorecard. Enterprise rent-a-car revolutionised the car rental industry from offering competitive prices to excellent customer service.
Its mission statement, “customer service is our way of life,” illustrates a strong philosophy towards customer satisfaction and is inherited throughout the company hierarchy. Every employee is trained to appreciate its 8 core values, centred around its strong brand image and its promise to exceed customer’s expectations. It is the essence of this strong customer culture that is critical to its success and is apart of Enterprise’s competitive advantage to differentiate itself from its other low cost, national competitors, such as Hertz, Avis and Europ car.
Enterprise caters to 3 different types of customers, retail, insurance and corporate customers. We will be focusing solely on retail customers, as this particular type of customer is frequent, enters the business from perceived marketing campaigns, and most challenging to any employee as they are expected to establish a relationship with that customer from scratch and this therefore tests the employees ability to successful implement the company’s mission statement on a day to day basis. Also many of our corporate accounts are established from internal, customer recommendations.
Whilst insurance customers operate on a business to business context and therefore the insurance company at times operates as a mediator between customer and Enterprise. In a recession ridden economy, customer satisfaction has become all that more important and customers want to receive the perceived level of service illustrated in marketing campaigns. “Marketing capabilities represent the accumulated knowledge and skills of the firms marketing employees that are utilized to create customer satisfying outcomes and ultimately, firm performance” (Day cited in Orr et al 2011).
From a resource based view it is important to look at this from a marketing perspective, as Enterprise pride themselves and compete on customer satisfaction but still encounter customers that are dissatisfied. It is almost practically impossible to achieve zero defects in the customer service process, but achieving higher than the current average of 82% could increase Enterprises’ competitive advantage. Here the customer satisfaction rating is the benchmark of all marketing campaigns.
There is therefore a link between CRM processes, customer satisfaction and market effectiveness (Boulding et al cited in Orr el al, 2011). Consequently, it can only take one customer who receives the wrong class of car they ordered or the car being late to affect internal marketing campaigns, as much business is created by positive word of mouth experiences by customers. The issue to be addressed is within the management of employees, from inadequate pre branch training to employee demotivation and increased pressure to achieve remarkable sales scores amongst customer satisfaction ratings.
Managing internal resources can compliment these capabilities. (Orr et al, 2011). With effective quality management of these inputs to the service operation, Enterprise can increase their average Equity Service Quality Index (ESQI) score to further support their brand and reputation and increase their competitive advantage in a harsh market environment. The necessary information for the project was collected in a combination of primary and secondary data. Gathering primary data consisted of the team devising a questionnaire and handing it out to Enterprise Rent-a-Car customers.
The questions within it were formed by analysing previously stated project requirements and had the main purpose of finding out clients’ perception of quality and possible causes for dissatisfaction. Secondary data was gathered through two mediums. Firstly, the internet, which was used by researching the Enterprise Rent-a-Car’s own and its parent company’s website and reports. Other websites were further used to obtain financial information and articles regarding the external perception of the firm. Secondly, personal contacts with the business were used to obtain data on certain issues, for which the Internet did not suffice.
The limitations to the data and findings surround both primary and secondary data. In the case of primary data, the fact that qualitative data may be difficult to interpret in an objective manner, as well as the issue that the subjectiveness of respondents may develop conflicting views on what needs to be improved. In the case of secondary data found from the Internet and through personal contacts with the company, the findings may be overstated, because of the company’s efforts on promoting itself.
The choice of tools used concerns the project objectives and were chosen in a way they would aid the improvement programme and achieve the set goals. As quality is driven by internal capabilities, but perceived externally by customers all relevant company processes needed to be looked at. The questionnaire was used to understand to recognise, what consumers thought Enterprise Rent-a-Car’s strengths and weaknesses were. The flow diagram was chosen to realise the process of renting a car in order to identify critical activities.
The Critical to Quality (CQT) tree was utilised to provide knowledge on the essential output characteristics of the process. The fishbone diagram was employed to analyse the origins for the given problem with the Pareto chart examining the leading causes for customer dissatisfaction. The value chain was chosen, because it highlights the firm’s internal copetencies and capabilities, identifying possible areas of improvement. The affinity diagram was used to, again, understand root causes for problems, but also come up with solutions, using brainstorming.
For the control stage, two methods were used. Both the PDCA model and the balanced scorecard were taken aboard, because they provide information on both internal and external sources of quality issues, whilst giving clear indication of future action that could be used the address them. As the report aims to improve the issues surrounding customer satisfaction, as well as drive performance, using the abovementioned tools, the company is analysed methodically using the DMAIC framework, providing clear deliverables stated in each phase.
A Flow Diagram or process map is a critical tool in the Define stage of the DMAIC process. They show the sequence of all activities involved in the process and additionally, help identify where quality-related measurements should be taken (Evans & Lindsay, 2011). According to Basu (2004) the benefit of using this particular tool helps the team understand and agree upon the steps of the process and recognise improvement opportunities.
For the length of the customer service process, amongst the different process followed for different types of customer, to build a diagram to differentiate the initial customer service process and front line customer service process can assist us further on in the measure stage. Backline service isn’t insignificant, but more so it overlaps with the initial front line and in-house customer service process. Backline service is much to do with selecting, allocating and cleaning the customer’s car which is covered in both mentioned customer service processes.
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