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Marketing Fall 2010

Individual Assignment 1

Date of Submission
Friday 8th October 2010
Time
5:00 pm

Marketing Fall 2010

Individual Assignment 1

SURVEYING CUSTOMERS
Kevin Kirkman wheeled his shiny blue BMW coupe into his driveway, put the gear shift into park, set the parking brake, and got out to check his mailbox as he did every day when he returned home. As he, flipped through the deluge of catalogs and credit card offers, he noticed a letter from Enterprise Rent-A-Car. He wondered why Enterprise would be writing him.

THE WRECK
Then he remembered. Earlier that month, Kevin had been involved in a wreck. As he was driving to work one rainy morning, another car had been unable to stop on the slick pavement and had plowed into his car as he waited at a stoplight. Thankfully, neither he nor the other driver was hurt but both cars had sustained considerable damage. In fact, he was not able to drive his car.

Kevin had used his cell phone to call the police, and while he was waiting for the officers to come, he had called his auto insurance agent. The agent had assured Kevin that his policy included coverage to pay for a rental car while he was having his car repaired. He told Kevin to have the car towed to a nearby auto repair shop and gave him the telephone number for the Enterprise Rent-A-Car office that served cars his area. The agent noted that his company recommended using Enterprise for replacement rentals and that Kevin’s policy would cover up to $20 per day of the rental fee.

Once Kevin had checked his car in at the body shop and made the necessary arrangements, he telephoned the Enterprise office. Within 10 minutes, an Enterprise employee had driven to the repair shop and picked him up. They drove back to the Enterprise office, where Kevin completed the paperwork and rented a Ford Taurus. He drove the rental car for 12 days before the repair shop completed work on his car.

“Don’t know why Enterprise would be writing me.” Kevin thought. “The insurance company paid the $20 per day and I paid the extra because the Taurus cost more than that. Wonder what the problem could be?”

TRACKING SATISFACTION
Kevin tossed the mail on the passenger’s seat and drove up the driveway. Once inside the house, he opened the Enterprise letter to find that it was a survey to determine how satisfied he was with his rental. The survey itself only one page long and consisted of 13 questions. Enterprise’s executives believed that the company had become the largest rent-a-car company in the US (in terms of the number of cars, rental locations, and revenue) because of its laser like focus on customer satisfaction and because of its concentration on serving the home-city replacement market. It aimed to serve customers like Kevin who were involved in wrecks and suddenly found themselves without a car. While the more well known companies like Hertz and Avis battled for business in the cutthroat airport market, Enterprise quietly built its business by cultivating insurance agents and body-shop managers as referral agents so that when one of their clients or customers needed a replacement vehicle, they would recommend Enterprise. Although such replacement rentals accounted for about 80% of the company’s business, it also served the discretionary market (leisure/vacation rentals), and the business market (renting cars to businesses for their short-term needs). It had begun to provide on-site and off-site service at some airports.

Throughout its history, Enterprise had followed founder Jack Taylor’s advice. Taylor believed that if the company could take care of its customers and employees first, profits would follow. So the company was careful to track customer satisfaction. About one in 20 randomly selected customers received a letter like Kevin’s. An independent company mailed the letter and postage-paid envelope to the selected customers. Customers who...
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