So, Budget Truck and I have put our bad experience to rest. I’m not totally satisfied, but hey, that’s life.
But being a user experience consultant, I’d be remiss if I didn’t offer some advice to Budget for the future. Because I’m not the only one having issues with them. And as nice as social media outreach is, it’s a band-aid if you’re not fixing the underlying problems, of which I think there are three.
1) Disjointed reservation system. Currently, it’s tough to compare quotes and figure out how and where to rent a truck. This is the customer’s first experience with Budget, and it should be an easy one.
Additionally, you can’t use their website to look up a reservation made at a local Budget Truck location or through the call center. But more importantly, once you make a reservation, it’s impossible to confirm and modify it online, which is not only bad for customers, but undoubtedly costs the company a lot of money for additional call center resources.
Also, even if you do call the reservation center to make a change, all further confirmations continue to reference your original reservation. I called Budget after every email because they were all inaccurate, and Budget admits as much.
2) System synchronization. From my experience, it’s clear that Budget runs at least two, and perhaps more, systems that track reservations and allocate trucks, and they are not synchronized correctly.
How else could the desk clerk quote me a reservation for $399 while the person on the phone at the same time confirmed my reservation for $185?
There’s a fix for that sort of synchronization issue – when prices and reservations don’t match for a particular customer or reservation number, flag those records for follow up by a customer service specialist so that the customer gets the right truck, at the right price, at the right time.
3) Resolution authority. Finally, shit happens. And when it does, it doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday, if some people aren’t in the office (or call center), etc. When there’s an acknowledged data error, call center representatives should have the authority to issue an override code to the desk clerks to resolve customer issues. Without that, everyone’s just going around in circles.
A system of randomly generated exception codes could allow call center reps to do right by the customer without increasing the risk of fraud. If the call center rep determined they should override something, they could give a desk clerk a short code, keyed to that particular reservation, that allowed edits to occur.
Conclusion. I’ve seen this sort of thing before in large organizations, and what it usually points to is a major disconnect between IT and the business units it supports. Why else would major IT systems be the root of customer dissatisfaction at every turn? It’s rare to see IT specialists and technologists in operating business units, but it often makes a lot of sense for companies looking to keep IT focused on best serving the business, rather than what’s right for engineering.