Many Penske rental agents use rental revenue to supplement their primary business and a business's reputation hinges on successful customer interaction.
Rental customers expect a positive experience from pickup to drop-off and any negatives could hurt an agent's principal business. With Penske, agents said the support they receive — along with the quality of equipment — help to keep customers happy.
Customer service starts with having equipment available when customers expect it. Gary Freeman of C&G Auto & Truck, an auto repair business in Myrtle Beach, S.C., said Penske's inventory management system ensures he has equipment when he needs it. "They have a dedicated person that makes sure the equipment is where it needs to be to service the reservations they have for that location," he said.
According to another agent, having the right equipment at the right time is critical. When big events (such as college move-in weekends) arrive, agents rely on Penske because it honors its reservations, while other companies may not have trucks available despite prior promises.
Freeman also sees frantic customers who are upset because a competitor didn't have a truck despite having a reservation.
"Most of the time, we can help them," he said. "If we have a piece of equipment on the yard that isn't reserved, we can offer an immediate rental. If there is a truck in the district, Penske will notify us and deliver the truck. Once we showcase that level of customer service, they become a Penske customer for life."
Customers also must have a positive experience while out on the road. "One of the best things about Penske is they have a better product," said Allen Friedlander of P.S.T.P., which operates three rental locations in New York. "They're constantly buying new trucks and they are well-maintained."
If a vehicle has problems while customers are en route, Penske has 24/7 roadside assistance to keep them going. "You're talking about trucks, so occasionally you're going to have problems no matter how much you care for them," said Scott Craft, general manager at Bill Dye Auto Sales, a used car dealership in Lynchburg, Va.
Freeman said the roadside service "is head and shoulders above the competition. They will do everything they can to get somebody out there to address the problem and do whatever is necessary to help the customer get on their way."
A quick response positively impacts customer satisfaction, especially for repeat business, which is a large part of Craft's operations. "If your customers are consistently having bad experiences, they won't keep doing business with you," he said. "But a timely, successful customer interaction goes a long way."
Friedlander said new rental software from Penske streamlines customer interactions and simplifies the process. "The rental process is quick and efficient. A process our customers will appreciate," he said.
Freeman agreed. "It doesn't take a lot of time since everything is online," he said. "A typical one-way contract takes less than 10 minutes and it takes about five minutes to check one in. The report takes about 15 minutes a week."
Steve Grebinar of Pak-N-Ship in Boynton Beach, Florida, said he sees Penske customers as his customers. "We want our customers to be satisfied because we're representing Penske and Penske is representing us," he said.
Stephanie McGathey of Bugs Bee-Ware, a pest control business in Sebring, Florida became a rental agent due to Penske's name brand and history of great customer service. "The reputation made us want to pick up a Penske franchise," she said. "They are a premier organization and we try to be a premium organization for our customers," she said.