ST. LOUIS – Representatives from more than 85 countries and territories are convening in St. Louis tomorrow to participate in a global franchise meeting hosted by the world’s largest car rental company, Enterprise Holdings Inc., which operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands.
“This event is specifically designed to provide a place for our franchise partners to come together and share best practices,” said Pete Smith, vice president of global franchising at Enterprise Holdings. “And since St. Louis is our hometown and world headquarters, we think it is an ideal place for business partners from all over the world to find some ‘middle ground’ and discuss a variety of issues, from operational procedures and employee recruitment strategies to urban mobility concepts and ethics and compliance policies.”
Customer service, however, remains the No. 1 priority for Enterprise Holdings’ integrated global network of regional subsidiaries and franchise locations. “As we’ve continued to expand our global footprint, we’ve learned that good customer service translates well in any language or culture,” stated Smith, who was a keynote speaker at the 2016 International Car Rental Show.
For years, the company’s footprint outside of North America was limited to several major markets in Western Europe, until the company’s 2007 acquisition of the National and Alamo brands, which included franchise markets in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2012, Enterprise Holdings acquired car rental operations in France and Spain, and made an investment in a leading car rental business in China. Later that same year, the company also announced it was franchising, for the first time in its history, its flagship Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand.
The company then launched an aggressive globalization initiative and international franchising campaign, and today the Enterprise, National and Alamo brands operate in more than 85 countries and territories, including North America, Central America, South America, the Caribbean and Europe, as well as parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In total, the annual revenues of Enterprise Holdings and its affiliate, Enterprise Fleet Management, rank near the top of the global travel industry, ahead of many airlines and most cruise lines, hotels, tour operators and online travel agencies.
Enterprise Holdings has exported the power of its renowned Service Quality index (SQi) measurement program through its global expansion efforts. Every month, hundreds of thousands of customers are contacted and asked to rate the service they received, with each location earning a score based on the percentage of customers who say they were “completely satisfied” with their last rental experience. That “top box” ranking is the Enterprise gold standard for customer service excellence.
All franchises are evaluated through the SQi, ensuring that customers receive a consistently excellent car rental experience no matter where they are traveling in the world. Enterprise rolled out the SQi measurement program to its European franchise partners in October 2015. The widespread adoption of SQi allows every country to benchmark its service against a companywide, global standard.
“We have a very clear vision of how Enterprise, National and Alamo customers should be treated. As a result, we have developed a strong international network of exceptional franchise partners who share our passion for excellence across the board,” Smith noted.
“Some have already exceeded our company average – which is absolutely phenomenal when you consider that they have been participating in our SQi program such a short time,” he continued. “Yet that core competency of customer service is always balanced with an intuitive understanding of local cultures and characteristics, which means we are learning as much from our franchise partners as they are from us. It’s definitely a two-way street.”