Revolutionizing the Customer Experience

Dec 17, 2015

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.

Customer-scheduled reservations

Customer-Scheduled Reservations

U-Haul launched customer-scheduled reservations in 2009. Within a year, more than a million customers had scheduled their reservations online.

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

Roadside Mobile App

Customers can use the U-Haul Roadside Assistance mobile app to report equipment breakdowns or accidents and receive status updates via their smart phone.

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.

VoIP Phone

U-Haul installed a VoIP phone system that has made it possible to have a large contingent of team members who work from home.

“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.

More articles like this one…

What’s New

U-Haul Races for Tillman Scholars at 19th Annual Pat’s Run

U-Haul Races for Tillman Scholars at 19th Annual Pat’s Run

TEMPE, Ariz. — Pat Tillman once declared that “Passion is what makes life interesting, what ignites our soul, fuels our love … and pushes our limits.” Recently, U-Haul® Team Members, along with approximately 28,000 other individual supporters, pushed their limits for...

Carly Castillo Named Web Sales Program Manager

Carly Castillo Named Web Sales Program Manager

Carly Castillo has been appointed U-Haul Web Sales program manager, where she will apply 14-plus years of Company experience. Castillo began her U-Haul career in 2008 as an operations sales analyst for the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network. She went on to lead the...

Kristin Bailey Promoted to Director of Moving Help

Kristin Bailey Promoted to Director of Moving Help

Kristin Bailey has held several U-Haul titles during her seven years with the Company. They have included program manager for Moving Help and Risk Management. Now Bailey is taking on a new challenge at U-Haul headquarters in Phoenix: Director of Moving Help. “My...

All Smiles at the 2023 Guardian Games to Benefit Special Olympics

All Smiles at the 2023 Guardian Games to Benefit Special Olympics

Special-needs athletes gathered on April 7 to take part in the 2023 Guardian Games in Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District.  Longtime U-Haul partner Sanderson Ford founded the Guardian Games in 2017 to provide athletes the chance to compete through Special...

U-Haul Volunteers Pack Food Boxes to Address Hunger in Arizona

U-Haul Volunteers Pack Food Boxes to Address Hunger in Arizona

Twenty-four U-Haul volunteers recently spent a Saturday morning at St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix, where emergency food boxes were packed for people in need. At the end of the two-hour session, U-Haul volunteers had assembled 651 boxes full of nutritious,...

Hike for a Cause: U-Haul and ACS Climb to Conquer Cancer

Hike for a Cause: U-Haul and ACS Climb to Conquer Cancer

Hundreds of cancer survivors, as well as people honoring those lost to the disease, participate in the annual Climb to Conquer Cancer event. The Climb, which U-Haul has supported since 1993, takes place at South Mountain in Phoenix. Participants choose between a 5.5-...

U-Haul Provides Disaster Relief after Tornado Hits Shawnee, OK

U-Haul Provides Disaster Relief after Tornado Hits Shawnee, OK

U-Haul® is offering 30 days of free self-storage and U-Box® container usage to residents impacted by the tornado that struck Shawnee late Wednesday. Media reports have attributed at least three deaths to the storm, and a number of residences were leveled as part of...

U-Haul GM Experiences Hollywood in Montana on Set of 1923

U-Haul GM Experiences Hollywood in Montana on Set of 1923

Butte was recently transported 100 years into the past with the help of fun costumes and classic cars on the set of the Paramount+ hit TV show “1923” starring Harrison Ford and Helen Mirren. Nestled in the southwest corner of Montana, U-Haul Moving and Storage of...

U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Storage after Fort Lauderdale Flooding

U-Haul Offers 30 Days Free Storage after Fort Lauderdale Flooding

U-Haul® is offering 30 days of free self-storage at its Coconut Creek location to residents impacted by the record-breaking rainstorms that brought substantial flooding to parts of Broward County this week. An unprecedented spring storm dropped over 25 inches of rain...