How do you keep your rental customers informed when your equipment changes?
I was reading an article in the ConstructonPro Rental magazine recently on the ANSI changes that will be coming in later this year in the US equipment market. It got me thinking about the different ways that you can communicate with your customers to make sure that they actually pay attention to changes when they perhaps are used to renting similar pieces of equipment regularly.
It’s the same issue that we face as a business, we can send out emails, newsletters, information on social media but all of those options require our customers to be actively interested in finding out information and to have the time to read what we send. The reality, of course, is that half the time the things that turn up in your inbox or in the notifications aren’t directly relevant to you are interested in at that moment so they get deleted, ignored or simply forgotten.
To go back to those ANSI changes, there are some very practical issues that will have a direct effect on the customer: active load sensing devices will become standard on certain sizes of machines. That means the customer needs to be very clear on exactly what size platform they need. They won’t be able to make a mistake by a couple of pounds because the access platform will simply stop and the customer won’t be able to override the unit.
Changes in tire testing rules mean that platforms are more likely to be fitted with foam filled tires, which matters if you need to go onto soft ground and need to easily deflate the tires. That could make it more difficult to find the right type of platform at short notice. Railings are going to be slightly higher, making it more likely that the customer will have to remember to fold them down to go through a standard door.
These are all very real issues, and the customer will need to be more accurate about what they want. They will also likely need to plan further ahead than they are used to and need to work differently with the platform. If the rental company can’t pass this information on to customers effectively, then the likely outcome will be damaged units, unnecessary swap outs, and frustrated customers.
So how do you communicate this type of information to your customers?
Here are 5 easy ways to use your rental software to communicate the relevant info to the relevant customers:
- Switch on warning messages for your sales team. When the customer asks for X, and X has a new safety procedure or feature that the customer should know about, have it pop up on screen and remind them to mention it to the customer the moment they select the product
- Special text on your document prints: Use the standard documents that go out to your customers (quotes, contracts, dispatch documentation, invoices) to print product specific text on them to let customers know what’s new. You should be able to highlight the changes with color or fonts to make it more noticeable.
- Don’t ignore your off-rent paperwork. If a customer is off-renting the same type of equipment, print notifications on their off-rent invoices and paperwork to tell them what will change next time they rent this specific item.
- Use your rental history to send out notification emails to customers who regularly rent the specific products that you know are going to have new features your customers know about. Your reporting software should help you identify the right group of customers quickly and easily.
- If you are using mobile devices for signature capture at the point of delivery, display warning messages that the customer needs to acknowledge before the driver leaves.
Technology can help you get messages out there, don’t rely purely on social media and “aware” customers who are up to date with equipment changes. Be pro-active, make sure you make use of all the communication options available to you in your core rental systems as well.