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Should you consider Self-Service Portals for your Rental Customers?

By Sunette Carroll

Have you ever wondered how your rental business can provide more value-added services to those customers that have been a part of your growth for the longest time?  Have you combined that thinking with your own "customer experience" expectations?

 

Although the traditional “call to book” method has worked for many years, we see customers that have been primed to want more.  This is prevalent by the industry standard that has now also become the norm in many cases. 

 

From Utility providers to Telco companies, they are all providing their customers with access to their own customer online “nooks” so they can; pay their bills securely, re-order their favorite rental equipment and contact you regarding an Invoice that needs further investigation.  Your customers want to do this securely and consistently but they also expect to do this today.   

 

Clearly, self-service portals provide customers with instant access to information but as a double benefit to your rental operation, it also saves you valuable time and organizational resources.  Consequently, we see that 60% of businesses expect to implement self-service portals within the next 12–18 months.

 

So, what are the rules when it comes to providing your customer with self-service eCommerce options?  Let’s have a look and see what works well for the Rental Industry:

  1. Deliver what customers want: Do they want to change equipment returns easily without picking up the phone or request a service or do they want to access Invoices online?  Do they prefer paying online?
  2. Don't overwhelm your customers: Pick the self-service option that delivers good service back to your customers BUT one that also reduces admin time in your rental operation.  It’s called the double business benefit!
  3. Create a human experience: It needs to be a familiar online place where they still feel connected to you, this means you should make contact easy and accessible. 
  4. Integrate, Integrate, Integrate: To create value for your customer and gain value back for your business, ensure your portal can integrate to your Equipment Rental/Hire System.  This will make life much easier on both sides and prevent doubling up on admin tasks.
  5. Boost your Website Traffic: The easiest way to do this is to provide the portal access directly from your eCommerce page.  This way ads and promotions will automatically flow through to your audiences and boost website traffic!

Tags: E-commerce, GateWay