Technology and the Customer Experience

In April 2016, Discount Car and Truck Rentals introduced the QuickCar™ Rental Kiosk in partnership with VIA Rail. Providing VIA Rail customers with a “last mile” solution, the Kiosks give customers a seamless travel connection option when they arrive at train stations. Here, Al Nanji describes how this technology has allowed them to put customers at the forefront.

When VIA Rail went to market to identify an on-demand service that would allow their customers to easily and efficiently get to their final destination from the train station, we were excited. We viewed it as an opportunity to further enhance our customer service offering and provide our customers with a growingly important self-service option. As the organization decided to support this endeavor, our in-house developers built the infrastructure to create a seamless one-stop solution for VIA Rail customers.


First, our developers researched alternative innovations that were in the market, then decided on a solution that surpassed any other available at that time. The first Kiosks were installed in April 2016, and we now have 21 Kiosks operating in Canada — 8 at VIA Rail stations, and 13 more throughout Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Alberta.

How it works

Each QuickCar™ Rental Kiosk is equipped with a credit card reader and driver's license scanner. Once customers initiate the vehicle rental process, they are quickly connected to a live Discount agent, trained to guide them through a fast and easy rental process. The live interactive video link lets the customer, and agent, confirm the rental agreement details, mobilize the car using a smartphone and get the customer on the road without delay. Once the rental is processed, an instructional email is generated explaining to our customers how they can access their rental vehicle from the parking lot. Discount's new system also allows customers to return their rental vehicle using their smartphone or at the Kiosk any time they choose — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In practice

The QuickCar™ Rental Kiosks work exceptionally well when a customer needs a flexible car rental arrangement. For example, if a customer’s train is delayed or arrives after typical branch hours, we will still be able to give the customer access to the rental vehicle, no matter what time of day it is.

Of course, demand can fluctuate in the car rental business. To address these fluctuations in instances of increased demand with prior notification, Discount representatives are on standby to deliver vehicles to the VIA Rail station providing parking space permits. This level of responsiveness demonstrates how we can meet customers’ needs quickly, and how our employees continue to be central to our delivery of customer service.

Improvements in customer service

This has all happened without any loss in jobs, and, as we grow our presence of Kiosks in the market, we’ll be bringing installation and maintenance roles in-house.

While the technology exists to automate reservations — eliminating much of the human element in the process — we’re convinced that customer service is a human endeavor. We believe that having real people on the other side of the desk — both literally and figuratively — is essential to maintaining a successful relationship with our customers. So, while we will continue to leverage technology to make our service more efficient, we know that we can’t lose sight of who keeps our customers coming back: our employees.

We know that we can’t lose sight of who keeps our customers coming back: our employees.

This human-centric approach is borne out by our Net Promoter Score. It measures whether our customer loyalty and our Kiosk locations have either met or exceeded the benchmark scores. We are confident that our ability to offer the convenience of an automated reservation service with the friendly presence of a live Discount employee provides our customers with an efficient and enjoyable user experience.

Productivity and efficiency

Best of all, the Discount QuickCar™ Rental Kiosk has made our staff more productive while they continue to provide outstanding service. Now, just one representative in our national call centre can service rentals across Canada. By maximizing each representative’s productivity, the Discount organization is strongly positioned to provide a high level of customer service 24/7. Whether it’s Ottawa or Windsor, Calgary or Toronto, we’re able to leverage our staff where and when needed, all without having our staff physically present — which would have made the solution cost prohibitive.

Over the past two years, we have been privileged to serve over 5,000 customers from our Kiosk locations. The Kiosks have allowed us to expand our product offering to better serve our customers — all while retaining our employees and maintaining our high customer service standards.

Al Nanji, Senior Vice President, Operations, Discount Car and Truck Rentals

Al Nanji

Senior Vice President, Operations, Discount Car and Truck Rentals

Al Nanji is Senior Vice President, Operations of Discount Car and Truck Rentals. He joined the organization in 1997, and has been a leader in the growth of the business and in the maintenance of proper standards by virtue of his strategic thinking and commitment to service excellence. Mr Nanji specializes in performance improvement, operational effectiveness, strategic planning, Net Promoter Score (NPS) leadership and strategy, and has lead technology and business innovation projects for the organization.

Discount Car and Truck Rentals

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