The business of car rental is not without its challenges; in line with Hertz Rent a Car’s progressive strategy however, the brand’s value-add product and service savvy is proving the perfect accompaniment to its core business – the Hertz Emergency Rescue Option (HERO) for example.
In recent years Hertz Rent a Car has made strides in an industry regarded as one of the most challenging and competitive in South Africa. Together with a fleet that’s upsized significantly in just three years to meet growing customer demand, Hertz now offers a choice of 19 vehicle groups spread across 18 manufacturers and 121 models.
With a fleet complement that is currently more representative and diverse than ever, the brand has significantly expanded its customer base, corporate, leisure and government alike.
In line with its customer-centric focus, Hertz is the first car rental company in South Africa to offer air conditioning in every one of its vehicles, a tangible comfort-add says Kenneth Naicker, GM Fleet at Hertz Rent a Car.
“As a safety minimum our vehicles have airbags and ABS. Bluetooth connectivity is standard on 70% of the fleet while enviro-conscious vehicle selection has seen carbon emissions reduced by 18% across the fleet.”
Traffic congestion and time delays on South Africa’s roads are often a deterrent for the self-drive market. For corporate customers in particular travelling in unfamiliar cities, the demand for Hertz’s personal and professional ‘here to there’ transfer service is on the increase.
“More than a cut above the average taxi-type ride, key is the fact that the customer is advised of the cost at the outset thus avoiding any unpleasant surprises,” explains Deon Ragunath, GM Ops at Hertz.
Of course, for customers requiring a more luxurious and dedicated service for the day or for special occasions and events, there’s Hertz’s long-established Chauffeur Drive service with the requisite fleet continually expanding to meet the growing demand.
QUALITY CUSTOMER SERVICE THROUGH UPSKILLING
“In 2013 – and in line with our Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) strategic objectives to develop the employment scope for our junior, middle and senior tiers of management – Hertz embarked on its inaugural Learnership programme,” says Sherl Camera, GM Business Development at Hertz. “A resounding success, by May 2014 the original complement of 20 learners had successfully completed the programme.
“Since then a further two programmes in Johannesburg and Cape Town (National Certificate: Business Administration Services and National Certificate: Hospitality Reception) have concluded and a fourth is currently underway in KwaZulu-Natal. The implementation of a Graduate programme is our next step.”
The nexus between the launch of Hertz’s Learnership programme and its B-BBEE status is indisputable. “Hertz’s contributor status improved from Level Four in 2013 to Level Three 12 months on,” says Hertz CEO Wils Raubenheimer. “We’re extremely proud to say that since October 1 2015, Hertz has escalated to Level Two Contributor B-BBEE status.”
HERTZ EMERGENCY RESCUE OPTION
An imminent addition to Hertz’s value-add product and service portfolio, is the Hertz Emergency Rescue Option or HERO. An acronym that perfectly sums up the ethos underpinning this innovative service, HERO is an optional and nominally priced bolt-on to the brand’s rental agreement.
Life is unpredictable and when things happen suddenly and unexpectedly, we all hold out for a hero to come to our rescue. “When renting a car for business or leisure it’s important to ensure that you’re prepared for any eventuality you might face on or off the road,” says Camera.
“In the event of a serious road accident or the sudden onset of a life-threatening illness, a heart attack or stroke for example, the difference between life and death can be minutes.
“It’s at times like these that one needs an emergency medical service that can react quickly, provide our customers with on-site medical attention and transport them safely and efficiently to a suitable medical facility.”
24-HOUR ROADSIDE ASSIST
A Gauteng-based 24-hour Roadside Assist programme is underway and covers adjacent provinces and towns as far afield as Sasolburg in the Free State and Mpumalanga’s Emalahleni (Witbank) and Secunda. According to Malin Fransch who heads up the programme, the services offered to Hertz customers will primarily be accident or breakdown assistance whereby the damaged vehicle will be towed away and the customer will be supplied another rental vehicle.
“We don’t want customers to be stranded on the side of the road and the idea is to offer assistance as quickly as possible.”
He adds that there is also a risk management element to this service. “We are also undertaking after hour deliveries and collections to and from those Hertz branches closed over weekends and, in this way, minimising the risk of vehicles being vulnerable to theft or damage.”
The free wi-fi service piloted in August 2015 in Hertz locations at O.R. Tambo and Cape Town International Airports has proven so popular with local and international customers that it is now being rolled out at King Shaka International Airport with other major locations soon to follow. Hertz is currently the only car rental company in South Africa offering customers this value-add service and reports show that customers are making full use of it.
SIGNATURE SCENT SAVVY
It’s a proven fact that our brain recognises smell long before other sensory impressions. With this in mind and after months of investigation and evaluation, Hertz is rolling out its signature smell throughout the fleet.
“A signature smell can arouse emotions and memories even after many years and is something that I was first exposed to during my time with Hertz in the UAE,” says Sherl Camera. “One hotel group in particular had implemented a signature scent and when we partnered with them on a big international event, we expanded the use of this fragrance into our chauffeur driven vehicles making the two entities synonymous and memorable.
“A scent composition can become a distinct point of reference and make selected emotions and brand values visible – not at first sight, but rather at ‘first smell’,“ she concludes. “This is another car rental first in South Africa and we are excited about the positive feedback we’re receiving from customers.”
*This article was paid for by client