New data measuring the rate of satisfaction among car rental companies suggests that Enterprise Rent-A-Car ranks as most fulfilling program for customers in the industry. The company, which is part of St. Louis, Missouri-based, privately-held Enterprise Holdings, was ranked higher than National and Alamo, its two sister companies, in a new study published by J.D. Power last week.
Enterprise, Hertz and National were the top three carriers in the nation in the study. Budget was ranked last. Full scores out of 1000 on the study’s arbitrary scale were:
- Enterprise (862)
- Hertz (848)
- National (846)
- Avis (824)
- Alamo (822)
- Thrifty (819)
- Budget (811)
Though average vehicle age and variety of selection does matter, J.D. Power attributes Enterprise’s strong performance to a better app and superior customer service, saying “positive staff touch points in the reservation and return processes are associated with the highest levels of overall rental car customer satisfaction.” In particular, Enterprise’s strong customer service may have worked well to attract younger travelers, who frequently value customer service as more important than hard product.
In winning this year’s rankings, Enterprise extended its reign over the study to its fifth year straight. One standout in the rankings was Hertz. Last year, Hertz placed number four in the rankings behind Enterprise, National and Alamo – and below the national average. This year, however, Hertz surged past its competition to take the number two position. According to Skift, a turnaround plan now in the works at that carrier may be leading part of this charge and boosting consumer confidence in the operation.
The average satisfaction score for this year’s car rental experience was 830 points, which is four points higher than last year and suggests that overall, the car rental experience is improving for all travelers year-over-year – even if only very slightly. Curiously, according to the release that accompanied this years rankings, the car rental process is also among the most satisfying parts of the travel experience overall; other experiences like loyalty programs, on average, annually rank below 830 points (JetBlue’s True Blue loyalty program, which won this year’s rankings, only pulled in 812 points). This isn’t to say that renting a car and driving from Dallas to Chicago is necessarily more satisfactory than flying – instead, the study might suggest that the process of getting a car and dealing with customer service at Enterprise might be slightly less taxing than dealing with American, Delta and United as a whole. Perhaps on that point, many can agree.