Non-Salespeople – Assets or Liabilities When They Face Customers?


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Customer Facing Non-SalespeopleNearly 18 months ago, I posted an article about my experience with National Car Rental. Please read that for background before reading this article. Pay particular attention to the comments where Elizabeth, from National Car Rental, reached out to me and provided me with a free rental day. That changed my impression of National!

I didn’t have an opportunity to use that free day until this weekend when, following the instructions on the email they sent prior to arrival, we entered their area of the garage in Orlando. This time, there wasn’t a man in a green booth who didn’t want to wait on me. This time, while browsing the cars from which to choose in the Emerald Club aisle, a miserable lady chased us down and demanded to know what we were doing. I told her. She pointed to three cars and started to walk away. I said, “Thanks, but I reserved a luxury car.” She said, “Why didn’t you say so? Those are in the next row.” and she walked away.

On our way out of the garage, I wasn’t smart enough to follow all of their exit signs and the twists and turns that went along with them. I ended up in another rental car’s exit lane. The guy in that booth nicely explained that I was in the wrong place, got out of his booth, helped me back up without injuring anyone, led me back to the correct path and made sure I was headed in the right direction. Then, I came across another National employee, who should have been directling me to the exit lane, but instead asked, “What do you want?” I told him I was exiting and he nodded. Nice touch.

In the end, just like 18 months ago, the man inside the exit booth and the lady, who received my car when we returned it, were both wonderful.

I never would have used National again if they hadn’t provided me with a free day. After another unacceptable experience, I don’t plan to use them again even if they provide me with another free day.

This is a tremendous example, and not the least bit unusual, of how non-selling, customer-facing employees, sell. Despite two effective customer-facing people doing their part on selling us to return, one was horrible and not so subtley sold us on not returning.

Companies must be certain that ALL of their customer-facing employees, not only salespeople, always create favorable impressions that sell their customers on returning. National Car Rental still fails to do this.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


  1. We’ve taken note of your complaint and we’d like to look into this concern for you. Please send us a detailed email with as much information as possible to care[at] with the exact address to the location involved, individuals you spoke with, your rental agreement number and any further details regarding your experience with us. Thank you!

  2. I did send the details to Gillian and received this back from our email server:

    —– The following addresses had permanent fatal errors —–
    (reason: 550 cuda_nsu 5.1.1 : Recipient address rejected: User unknown in virtual mailbox table)

    —– Transcript of session follows —– … while talking to
    >>> DATA
    <<< 550 cuda_nsu 5.1.1 : Recipient address rejected: User unknown in virtual mailbox table
    550 5.1.1 … User unknown <<< 503 Bad sequence of commands Looks like they can't even accomodate explanations!

  3. Dave, I just tried that email address and got the same error.

    It’s incredible that a major company doesn’t have a catch-all email address that will end up somewhere, or perhaps use email customer service technology to support inbound emails.

    The good news is that National is monitoring social media. But that’s just the band aide on top of a broken system.

  4. A lousy band-aid at that. You can bet that if the email did go through they would simply apologize again, provide another free rental day, but continue the ineffective hiring, on boarding and training of these people who are the first impressions of the company. They seem to be doing fine with the people who make the final impressions but don’t seem to be placing enough importance on training these “guides” who play a much greater role than the company seems to realize.


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