Customer Service Case Study – Rent-A-Car Company and High Pressure Up-Selling for Add-On Insurance

Is your company destroying customer service because of in-house sales contests? Many companies have sales contest between their company representatives and employees on the sales floor. It doesn’t just happen in retail environment, it also happens in the service sector too. In fact, it’s so serious, that if it isn’t handled right, you can destroy your brand name, and your company’s reputation in a single quarter by attempting to up-sell all your customers into buying things they really don’t want, can’t afford, and are not interested in. Indeed, I would like to talk to you for a few moments about this if I might.

You see, before retirement I was in the mobile oil change business, and we did okay and it was great to get business from the fixed site locations who had tried to up-sell their female customers into buying and purchasing more services than they needed. Perhaps because they felt as if women didn’t know enough about their cars, and were more apt to fall for these high pressure sales tactics. Surely, it worked for them, someone might come in for a $19.99 oil change, and go out spending $175 for all sorts of services that they may or may not have actually needed.

Yes, the auto industry unfortunately has gotten a bad rap because of strategies like this, although those companies who are engaged in that did have a decent run in the market for a few years, but now their brand names have collapsed. Still, some bad habits never die in the business world, and I was recently told by an auto body repair shop owner about how his customers were bullied into buying extra insurance at the local car rental company where he had been sending all of his clients. Now then, listen to this trickery sales tactic for a moment;

“It’s going to be really windy this weekend, and it gets quite dusty around here out in the desert, so the sand will be blowing. You need to buy the extra insurance, so I don’t charge you or your credit card that you left on file for wind damage from the sandblasting effect which might ruin the paint job of this rent-a-car that I just rented you Limousine Rental Houston .”

Then the customer would feel obligated to buy the additional insurance for another $10 per day. Since the salesperson at the car rental agency was trying to boost the numbers of that local office, he would be rewarded for up-selling the customer. Of course, this high-pressure tactic also met with resistance from those knowledgeable customers who rent cars all the time, and have never heard of such nonsense. In this case, when they went back to the auto body shop owner who was fixing their car, while they were renting a temporary loaner, they complained, which also made the auto body shop owner look bad for referring them to that particular rent-a-car agency.

Now, he won’t refer them anymore clients, so that rent-a-car agency may have made extra money in sales that month, but they won’t be getting any more business or referrals from this gentleman ever again. Be careful, customer service matters, and it is not good customer service to gouge your customers, feed them full of BS, or use high-pressure sales tactics. There’s really no place for that, certainly not if you want to maintain a strong brand image and solid reputation in the community. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on.


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