It was 25 years ago this month that I began my career as an operations manager with the Hertz Corporation at the Seattle airport. Only 22 years old and fresh from Orlando, Florida with my college degree, it was quite an exciting opportunity. And what an adventure it turned out to be.

Today, as a speaker, author, trainer, and consultant on Customer Service, I know my roots came from the training and leadership I received from those five years I spent with Hertz. The training was continuous, both in terms of job knowledge and job position, as I moved from being a manager to ending up as a regional trainer for the southeast United States and Carribbean. Hertz knew they could never rest on their laurels and so they invested in their frontline through constant training.

I also learned that most products are commodity products; in other words, “a car is a car”, whether you get it from Hertz or a competitor. And so the competitive edge comes from the experience you deliver to the customer. A lesson I have never forgotten and teach to others today.

As employees we thought of ourselves as a team and many of those friendships with colleagues that were formed back then, are still in existence today. I am forever grateful to all my leaders who each taught me something about people that I could take away and use as a basis for my own leadership style.

There are few organizations that have withstood the test of time with their branding and image, but Hertz has. Sure, the industry has changed and there have been bumps in the road, but they are still considered #1 in most markets and an innovator in the customer experience.

So, thank you Hertz for the wonderful memories, friendships made, and lessons learned.

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