Car Rental Service Replaces Desk Agents With People On Video Chat

A Nu Car Rentals office in Charlotte, North Carolina offers only "virtual assistance" to customers.
Car Rental Service Replaces Desk Agents With People On Video Chat
Images: Nu Car Rentals Charlotte NC via Google Reviews; Vinnie Worley via Google Reviews.

A car rental service in Charlotte, North Carolina has replaced its agents with virtual staffers on a monitor on video chat software. If a customer wishes to speak to a manager, they walk into an office and sit at a desk, upon which sits a computer monitor that also has a virtual staffer on a monitor on a video chat. This is the latest frontier in what appears to be a growing trend of virtual employees working at in-person offices.

The inside of the Nu Car Rentals building looks like a repurposed bank, with a counter over which agents typically assist customers. However, there are no people behind the counter, and there is instead one monitor bearing the Nu Car Rentals logo and the message, “Tap this screen to be connected with an agent.” Tapping the screen connects the customer with a representative whose background is the Nu logo. 

The Nu Car Rentals virtual assistant. Image: Claire M. via Yelp.

“There were one or two computer monitors with credit card readers on one side of the building,” David Ring, who rented from the location in December, told 404 Media in an online chat. “It makes me think of when I go to the bank and there is a side with tellers and often an office or two on another side. The other offices at NU had a similar setup. A table with a monitor and a credit card machine. We pressed the screen and a virtual agent showed up.” 

Sign up for free access to this post

Free members get access to posts like this one along with an email round-up of our week's stories.