Examples of outstanding customer service, where an organization truly puts the customer first and it’s not just marketing rhetoric, are rare these days. Often, a company’s complicated automated phone system is what they try to pass for a commitment to the customer. So when I was given “royal Enterprise image treatment” by an Enterprise Rent-A-Car company employee this week, I was taken aback. This employee managed to keep my day from turning into what could have been a disaster.

It all began with a car in my garage that wouldn’t start. AAA sent a tow truck driver to my house. He arrived promptly and, knowing the peculiarities of my 2000 Volvo, got the engine going in a matter of minutes. So far, so good. Not wanting to take a chance on the battery dying again, I immediately drove the car to my dealership, expecting to replace the battery and be on my way in a short time and back to my office for a full day of work. But once the car was up on the rack, the mechanic found a number of other serious problems (all legitimate) and he said that he needed to keep it for the whole day. The dealership offered to arrange a car for me to use. I accepted the offer but I was thinking that this was going to set me back hours. Within a few minutes, Tom Cosgrove showed up with a van to take this frustrated car owner to the Ann Arbor office of Enterprise. Once in the office, Tom immediately began to do the paperwork to set me up with a car and get me on my way as quickly as possible. The only problem was, I couldn’t find my driver’s license which was missing from my wallet. I was a bit frantic thinking about the legal implications of this situation. “No problem,” Tom said. He would drive me to my house to look for my license. All of the other employees at Enterprise looked like this was normal operating procedure. So back into the van we went, drove across town, and arrived at my house only to discover that I didn’t have my house key with me. “No problem,” Tom said. “I’ll wait while you get a key from your neighbor.” Fortunately my neighbor was home, found the spare key, and I got into my house.

After a frantic house search, going through the pockets of anything I had worn in the past several weeks, I failed to find my license. I went back to the waiting van, expecting to see annoyance in Tom’s face. To the contrary, he couldn’t have been more understanding. “No problem,” Tom said. “This isn’t the first time this has happened. I’ll drive you to the Secretary of State’s office and you can get a duplicate license.” At this point, I didn't want to ask him to waste any more of his valuable time due to my mistakes, so I said that I would stay where I was. “No problem," Tom said, and back to his office he went. He couldn’t have been more cooperative and gracious the whole morning. I don’t know if Enterprise hires well, or trains well; it’s probably both. Enterprise lost money on me that day, but gained a loyal fan. (My driver’s license turned up the next day in my fax machine. Don’t ask.)