Hertz :  Answering service

Extra twists in the route to contact information.


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The feature

Hertz, an international vehicle rental company, obliges enquirers seeking contact details to take a detour. Hertz groups links for all content not related to reservations in a rich footer below the main display, which is given over to a car hire tool and menus. Contact Us is included under About Hertz, but clicking the link opens a tabbed FAQs (frequently asked questions) page on its Find an Answer setting. The contents are headed by options for telephone numbers for reservations or customer services, and for rental locations, followed by a list of enquiry topics (for example, Rental Deposits, Minimum age for car rental). The telephone number answers give respectively a link to a directory listing and search tool. The alternate tab, Contact Us, launches an online contact form which, after completion, is greyed out when its Continue button is clicked. An overlay panel advises that the question “hasn’t been submitted yet” and offers a set of links leading to answers that “might help you immediately” to find the desired information. The enquiry can still be sent using a Finish Submitting Question button. The arrangement is essentially the same across the group’s country-based sites.

The takeaway

Hertz’s effort to muscle up its site as a self-service alternative to direct enquiry handling is determinedly thorough. Witness both the initial defaulting of the Contact Us link to the FAQs setting and the second invitation to try the FAQs list, interposed between completion and submission of the Contact Us form. The latter is particularly notable in that it is positioned to deflect enquiry forms and not just telephone calls. There are, however, a couple of potential weak spots. First, the inclusion of two telephone number options at the head of the Find an Answer list appears at odds with the resource-management benefit of FAQs, which is to minimise the volume of routine questions being dealt with through the switchboard. (In this respect it also goes against the logic of diverting Contact Us enquiries to Find an Answer.) Second, there is no obvious provision for enquirers needing corporate or business contact details; they must click around the various other footer links in the absence of immediate help.

http://www.hertz.com
First published 15 August, 2013
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