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Avis sees wireless benefit

Nick Huber
Avis has used wireless technology to cut the time it takes to check in millions of rental cars being returned by customers.

Avis, one of the biggest car rental companies in Europe, said the number of customer complaints about returning rental cars has fallen by about 20% since the introduction of the wireless technology, which was installed by IT services company Sapient.

Avis staff conduct vehicle inspections using a handheld device, incorporating Bluetooth technology, to calculate any additional charges and print a receipt for the customer.

The device scans the barcode of the vehicle and links to back-office systems based in the US via a wireless network.

Returned cars can now be signed off in less than a minute, compared to 15 minutes under the old system.

In the past, Avis employees had to return to their computer to process the transaction after checking the mileage, fuel levels and condition of the vehicle.

Avis is currently using the system at 100 locations across Europe. By the end of March the company plans to use the wireless technology across 140 rental offices to process 60% of its total returned cars.

"This is a major customer service initiative for us," said Dave Russell, director of group operations at Avis Europe.

"The wireless technology will be able to process about 3.5 million checks per annum."

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