Editorial by Fred Hoot - Google+
Ever since Kermit the Frog started singing “It’s Not Easy Being Green” that song has remained with me. It also applies to the Green Movement.
Nobody wants dirty water or air, but sometimes there are hardships and obstacles you may have to overcome. This is particularly when you are trying to steer customers (no pun intended) toward “green” vehicle rentals.
Remember that not all customers have the same definition of green. If you want more customers going green, you have to play it smart.
All Electric May Not Fit the Customer’s Use
A friend of mine had some electrical work being performed on their automobile and it was going to be in the shop for at least a week waiting on a computer module. They went down to a car rental agency and asked to rent a car for a week. They preferred a small car which was easy to park — they drove 72 miles to work and parked on a street near their job.
The agent tried for 15 minutes to rent them a totally electric vehicle which met their need for size. However, the driving distance of 73 miles before charging (calculated by the manufacturer) was too close for comfort. As it turns out, consumer experiences with this particular electric vehicle were averaging 62 miles before needing a charge.
If you customer travels 50 miles or less before they have the ability to charge the batteries, this would be a perfect car for them. Remember, not every place they park will have a charging station or a power outlet.
Hybrid May Be the Answer
A hybrid vehicle will probably be a good choice for those people who cannot charge the vehicles while they are at work. Hybrids have the most widespread appeal with the green crowd. Knowing how and where your customers drive will allow you to be able to suggest the appropriate green vehicle best suited to their needs.
They provide the best green operation when running on electric to save on emissions from fossil fuel usage. When more power is needed or when the batteries need charging, the internal combustion engine starts up and charges the batteries.
Other hybrids use the gasoline engine to both power the car and charge the batteries. These types of hybrids, disconnect the gasoline engine from the drive train when not needed and the electric motors take over the operation, particularly when coasting along at highway speeds. Your customers that like the available power along with the electric operation will like this variation of the hybrid.
Gas Prices Are an Incentive to Be Green
While it may not always be easy being green, as gasoline prices become more expensive customers may be more receptive towards getting a green vehicle.
Reminding customers of filling up the gasoline tank before returning the car is a way to bring up the advantages of a hybrid vehicle.
Generally, rental agencies will have higher prices for gasoline to encourage customers to return the automobiles with full tanks. Any time you can subtly suggest green financial benefits to the customer, they should like it and it will increase your chances of getting them as good customers.
Be Sensitive to Your Customers
A heightened awareness to your customers’ needs and wants is paramount to attracting and keeping customers. Take another look at the example I gave earlier of the agent trying desperately to convince my friend of getting an all-electric car.
That rental agency permanently lost a customer. Had they provided an eco-friendly hybrid or even a compact, high mileage gasoline-powered car, they would have retained a customer. The customer might have even rented an all-electric, zero emissions vehicle in the future for a holiday trip to the beach.
Remember, a happy customer can become a loyal repeat customer.