JD Power and Associates has again stirred the debate over what rental car company is the “best” one. Like beauty, this answer lies in the eye of the beholder. Some prefer Hertz, while others gravitate to Avis. More and more people are accepting Enterprise as a player in the corporate car arena, and this newest entrant (if “new” can be defined as 6 years) has had positive affects for the corporate traveler. Why? Enterprise’s acquisitions of National and Alamo in 2007 have increased competition in the field and have prevented rental car companies from implementing the rate increases they have been striving for. Think of it like this; one can rent a new $45,000 car for a day for HALF the price of a $700 tux for the same time period. Makes one wonder…

J.D. Power: Best rental experience doesn't mean lowest price

By Jim Glab of Executive Travel

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In its latest annual survey of North American rental car customer satisfaction, J.D. Power and Associates finds that the happiest renters are not  those who secure the lowest rate.

Instead, the company said, the quality of customer service is a better predictor of how satisfied a renter will be with his overall experience.

Based on more than 12,000 responses, the company’s 2013 North American Rental Car Satisfaction Study — which uses a 1,000-point scale based on six aspects of the rental experience — gave the overall industry a score of 775, up six points from last year.

What affects satisfaction? J.D. Power said that customers who select a rental vendor based on price (just over one-third of respondents) reported an overall satisfaction score of 756, while those who pick a rental firm based on good customer service had a score of 828.

"Overall satisfaction among customers greeted with a smile from one member of a rental car company’s staff is 58 points higher than among those not greeted with a smile (693 vs. 635 respectively),” J.D. Power said. “Satisfaction among customers greeted with a smile by four staff members is 200 points higher than among those not greeted with a smile (835 vs. 635 respectively).”

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