We asked leaders of some of the most prominent software suppliers in the rental industry how management software innovations will change the customer's experience in the future. Here's what they had to say:
Rob Ross, Alert Management Systems: Rental businesses continue to expand the services available to their customers through their websites, including customer portal capabilities, offering direct access to customer accounts and rental documents via secure credentials.
Over time, rental companies will offer more and more customer-facing services via mobile devices, or delivered through private web portals and public websites. Mobile devices are being developed in an ever-expanding array of formats. When you think of the possibilities of products that are just around the corner, such as Google Glass, it is truly mind-boggling.
Michael Saint, Corporate Services: Customers of rental equipment providers will experience better service from ordering, dispatching, condition of equipment and accuracy in billing.
J.J. Shea, Solutions by Computer: Customers will continue to benefit from innovations that bring them closer to the rental business. Rental customers are no different than any other consumers: they measure progress by how quickly they’re served and how efficiently they can complete a transaction to get a desired result. Rental software advancements reflect this by tying rental functions to mobile devices and e-access. Internet portals are becoming the norm as a way to do business. A lot of functions that could be considered operational – such as online payment capabilities – are actually customer service improvements.
Rod Theoret, Texada Software: It's all about mobility and self-service. Customers can request equipment, contract and complete return processes all through their smart phone. It's faster, more accurate, and results in overall better service throughout the entire rental process. The process is in real-time, with less paper. It's more of a pull, rather than a push sort of process.
Wayne Harris, Point-of-Rental: The world continues to go more mobile and also self-service. You can't go into a major retail store these days without seeing self-checkout stations. For the rental industry, this will be implemented as self service via the Internet. A customer wants to be able to make a reservation at midnight. They want to be able to get instructions on the floor sander at 11 p.m. They want to accomplish the task on their timetable and not the rental store's operating hours.
Patrice Boivin, Orion Software: Customers will see much faster response from rental companies. As new solutions offer more proactive functions to react to any changes, the fastest and more reliable companies will gain market share. Technological innovations offer online chat between employees, proactive alarms of action required, real-time location and user-friendly interfaces to improve efficiency at all levels.
Ray Bonestroo, Genisys Software: Customers will more towards doing more of the business via the web so that rental stores can do more business with less staffing costs (saving on phone staff that are answering routine questions that can be taken care of with better websites) and taking orders via the web on sales items, doing reservations, etc.
Clark Haley, BCS ProSoft: A customer wants to know that we will have the equipment when they need it. They need to know that it is the right tool for the job. A customer wants to know that it is in good working order. They also want to have multiple methods of accessing this information. Technology will assist in providing this information via the channels available. Instant access to information will be required.