What’s the Purpose of Data, if it Doesn’t Lead to Insights?

Let me start by noting that I rent a lot of cars each year for business. It is unlikely anyone rents many more cars than I do. Thus one would expect that I am a valuable customer to the rental car company I use most. That was Hertz. The operative word is … was.

For the second time in 20 years I have stopped renting any cars from Hertz, except to use up my points where I get the car effectively free. Several years ago I stopped the first time, for reasons that don’t matter for this post. Hertz never seemed to notice. Eventually a Hertz exec in an audience I was speaking to heard me tell the unbelievable customer service story that caused me to stop, and he came up to ask how he could make it right. That fixed things, until about 6 months ago when I stopped again. For a different reason, that again doesn’t matter for this post.

I continue to get a few e-mails a week from Hertz telling me about all the great promotions they have going on etc. However, I have yet to get an email asking me why I went from several rental car days a week to ZERO. You know Hertz has a mountain of data on rental frequency, locations, preferences etc. And yet, despite the fact that I am one of their better customers, they don’t seem to know, or care that I have left them.

What good is data on “loyal” customers if you don’t use it to get insights about changes in their behavior that might reflect needs on their part? Data collection may just be an exercise in math not for insights. At least at Hertz.


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