Everyone knows that in a service business like ours you need to invest in your people, but some of the most useful advice I ever received was from Glen van Heerden, co-founder of Avis Rent-A-Car, who told me, “Invest more in your people than you think you have to”. At Avis, cars are not our business – our business is about exceeding customer expectations and people are the differentiator on that score.
Glen gave me that advice about ten to 15 years ago and it was also something I had seen him implement in the business. In those days investing in people meant investing in training, but today we extend it to all parts of the business. Every aspect of the customers’ experience is about having the right people, who are well-trained, doing a job in the most professional and empathetic way. Investing in people starts with recruitment.
We also invest a great deal in training and developing our employees. This training includes technical aspects of the business, but we also place a strong emphasis on training our people to develop a connection based on empathy with customers. This is extremely important to ensure that we exceed their expectations. Finally, investing in people means investing in leadership and creating an inspiring leadership climate.
When people are inspired by what leadership is doing, they are more likely to believe in the vision of the business and go the extra mile.
Wayne Duvenage is the CEO, Avis Rent-A-Car