From the very first U-Haul trailer rental in 1945, Team U-Haul has operated under the principle that the customer is our only source of income. They pay our salaries and dealer commissions.
U-Haul always has lived by the Golden Rule when it comes to customer service: Treat others the way you want to be treated. While U-Haul has never wavered from this tenet, during the last 70 years we’ve continuously updated and enhanced the ways we serve our customers. Here are just some of the many ways U-Haul has revolutionized the customer experience.
A huge way U-Haul revolutionized the customer experience was by giving customers the ability to schedule their own reservations on uhaul.com. This program was launched over the busy Labor Day weekend in 2009.
“One of our programmers, Amy Henning, and I watched the first customer-scheduled reservations come in,” remembered Mike Kinealy, U-Haul Sales and Customer Service vice president. “It worked perfectly! In fact, you could say it went off without a hitch,” he laughed.
Within a year, more than a million customers had scheduled their reservations online.
Personal U-Haul Account
The U-Haul account was another major step towards improving the customer’s experience. This relatively new tool has become our customer’s hub to access, control and manage their past, present and future transactions, giving them the ability to enter their personal information online, which saves time during the dispatch and check-in processes. Customers can also manage their self-storage accounts.
During a rental, if a customer experiences any concerns with their equipment, their account provides a quick way to open a file so the customer can get back on the road fast. Other upgrades allow U-Haul to provide better communication between the customer and the service provider, GPS tools to pinpoint the customer’s location and the ability to send photos to help diagnose the problem.
“With advancing technology, customers now expect us to know who and where they are at every point along their journey, and remember them next time,” stressed Rachel Reed, U-Haul Contact Center senior program manager. “the personal account does all of that, and the possibilities for future advancements are virtually endless!”
Service Provider Network
U-Haul now has a network of close to 15,000 service providers stretching throughout North America. This is a huge increase from 2012, when there were less than 2,500 service providers in the network. Today, there are more service providers in more areas, which has dramatically reduced the amount of time customers spend waiting for help to arrive.
“Service providers also are much more empowered now,” emphasized Steve Berman, program manager for U-Haul Customer Service/Roadside Assistance. “For example, while a customer waits for a repair, service providers have the authority to buy the customer dinner on the spot. This is the type of service U-Haul customers expect when they need roadside assistance.”
U-Haul Contact Center
The U-Haul Contact Center was created in 2011 when Sales and Reservations, Customer Service and Hotline (now Roadside Assistance) merged under Kinealy’s leadership. This allowed the Contact Center to effectively answer calls for team members at all U-Haul Stores who are busy helping in-store customers.
The combined knowledge and tools of all groups under the same leadership has dramatically extended the level of service U-Haul is able to provide to customers, while simultaneously reducing the time it takes to resolve any customer situation.
VoIP phone system
In 2008, U-Haul installed a VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phone system that was a “real game changer,” according to Kinealy. With the VoIP system in place, U-Haul can better manage customer hold times by routing calls to available team members for faster help.
“The VoIP system is a valuable labor-saving tool that has allowed us to help customers better than ever before,” Kinealy cheered. “It gave the Contact Center the ability to better support U-Haul Stores and Dealerships and provide better service to our customers.”
The VoIP system also made it much easier to have a large contingent of team members who work from home. Today, the U-Haul Contact Center has a team of about 2,000 people who work from home.
“This group is made up of active military dependents who live on base, single parents or stay-at-home moms, and many others who want to make some extra money without having to leave home,” Kinealy observed. “This has had a huge impact on our success.”
The revolution will continue…
These advancements have been great for our customers, and U-Haul will continue to be on the forefront of new technologies and products that help us revolutionize the customer experience.
Kinealy summed it up by saying: “Everything we do is customer service.”
What types of things have you experienced with U-Haul, or any other company, that have impressed you in terms of customer service? Tell us about them in the comments section.