Awards and Rewards Can Make All the Difference

Anyone who shops online can tell you they didn’t base their purchase entirely on a product’s description, photo or even brand name. Lots of Internet-based businesses have discovered that customers appreciate hearing what other customers think of products before they hit the electronic checkout. Which really makes you wonder — why can’t we do the same in person?

It’s no stretch of the imagination that a customer will look at your inventory in terms of saving money, renting the cheapest product they can get their project done with. And customers certainly can interpret the recommendations from you and your staff as sales pitches intended to get them to spend more. A testimonial from another customer, however, is a hard thing to ignore.

Even an informal, “What did you think of the product?” will give you something useful to tell future customers – and to know for yourself.

All reviews – good and bad – can be helpful. Don’t be afraid of telling a customer what others think of the product they’re looking to rent. Happy customers come back, so it’s better for them to know the limitations or outstanding features of a product before renting than for them to learn on their own.

There’s also no reason you can’t do your own “customers’ choice awards” with this information. If you have a product which routinely comes back with rave reviews, put it on a pedestal with a big “customers’ choice” sticker and recommend it to customers on the phone.

In addition to what customers think of your inventory, make sure to find out what they think of your company. Whether good or bad, knowing what people think of your business and your employees can be extremely valuable. That knowledge, paired with individual performance records, is a great place to work with your employees.

Be sure to give enough verbal positive reinforcement. Even if you have a program in place to reward employees, the occasional, “nice job” goes a long way. Use far more positive reinforcement than corrections.

Remember that recognizing an employee for going above and beyond the call of duty in an effective means of fostering job satisfaction. Also, don’t discount the importance of an enhanced job title to those deserving one. We all have egos – and even humble and deserving people often have this need go unfulfilled.

We all need recognition and rewards. Few of those who read this publication are doing so because they are satisfied with the status quo. I’d bet that many of you are reading this after hours. You aren’t a clock puncher. You are looking for ways to grow and become great through reading about products, services and ideas.

Remember the “major award” (a unique lamp) earned by Ralphie’s father in the movie “The Christmas Story”? Sometimes it doesn’t matter what form the award takes – it is a work of art, beautiful and tremendously meaningful to the recipient.

In addition to presenting awards for products and rewarding your staff, it is so important to reward deserving suppliers with the lion’s share of your purchases. Some suppliers are indeed partners in your mutual success.

Finally, many of you are truly deserving of grand awards for bravery and perseverance in the face of overwhelming odds during the past few years. You deserve to be recognized for your great humor in what can be a pretty stressful business at times.

Dick Detmer is a nationally recognized consultant, lecturer and writer and has 35 years of experience in the equipment rental industry. He is the author of “The Guide to Great Customer Service” as well as “A Practical Guide to Working in an Equipment Rental Business.” For consulting, on-site employee training or to order books, visit Dick can be contacted at or (309) 781-3451.