October 10, 2020

4 Tips to create a seamless customer experience in your rental business

Are you feeling lost sometimes between excel sheets, 893 different Chargebee plans, and Asana tasks? No worries, we got ya! We present you 4 tips that you can use to make your rental business run like Forrest Gump!

If you have started a rental business - no matter what you offer: baby clothes, leisure equipment, bicycles or electronic devices - then you surely found yourself in at least one of the following situations:

  • I am using spreadsheets to track my products.
  • I have to do a lot of manual work.
  • I am using many different plugins for my E-commerce shop.
  • The software I am using is not made for the online rental of physical products.
  • Damn - do I have to program my own software for this?

The good news is: you are not alone out there. The majority of rental businesses operate just like that - or to be specific, like you.

During the early launch of your rental business, you do just fine with your workarounds and the tools that are out there in the market. But after a while, you encounter limitations that all of your industry colleagues have to cope with.

I have spoken to many of them and here I’m revealing the 4 tips to successful product rentals:

1. Allow your customers to easily check out from your online rental store - just like they are used to from the past 20 years of buying in traditional E-commerce.

Do you remember the first time you bought something online? It was probably a while ago. Since then, buyers have become accustomed to the fact that after just a few clicks your product of choice is ordered and will arrive at your home within the next few days.

How would you feel when you feel the desire for a product online and instead of ordering you have to ask the vendor first for what price and in which conditions or worse: if it is available at all?

Customers have developed a zero-tolerance attitude when it comes to the online shopping experience. Consider that when making your products available for online rentals. Make access to your products as easy as possible, and by the way, even scientific research says that the ease of access positively influences customer satisfaction.


2. Better safe than sorry - consider whom you want as a customer and why credit checks up-front are worth the penny

Despite making your rental offerings as easily accessible as possible you might want to consider whom you are renting it to. As rentals offer a cheap alternative to use a product, fraud is a common topic - especially in the electronics rental industry. By running up-front credit checks of your customers you will save yourself big trouble afterward.

Be aware to create as little friction in the customer journey as possible. If the customer has to proactively fill out other forms or answer to another email that does not come from you but the credit check institution, you might lose your customer on the way. So, make sure you design a customer journey that is as frictionless as possible.


3. Customers want a seamless rental experience - and they won’t be satisfied with anything less

The thing about rental customers is very two-sided: on the one hand, you have a constant relationship with your customers that you can leverage, and on the other hand, you have a constant relationship with your customers that you need to manage. Having active rental customers or subscribers lowers the burden to get in contact with them, leverage cross- and upsell potential, and gives you some great insights into their needs.

But at the same time, these subscribers have questions and problems, which they are more likely to voice directly to you because you have that great relationship. The key is to provide as many customer service functions as possible.

Yes, there will be damages that need to be reported - so, create an online process for that. Yes, there will be inquiries about purchasing the product after all - so, create a frictionless way that makes it easy for the customer to do so.

And yes, there will also be customers who want to upgrade or downgrade their subscription - so, make it easy for them to do so (because unsatisfied customers are never good for business).


4. Know your business - your orders, your customer, your revenues, your products...

You have to keep track of your products somewhere. In the early days, a well-structured spreadsheet can do the job for you. But once you have this customer inquiry that requires specific information on her rental … well, that information is somewhere.  Indeed, somewhere in the deepest depth of that spreadsheet - or worse, deleted by accident.

Spreadsheets are tough. You can edit and change them - even use fabulous templates, but you cannot scale a serious business on them. At the latest, when multiple users have access to it, critical information will get lost or entries can be deleted (by accident). Time to say goodbye to valuable business insights - ouch.


Some of these key success factors might sound impossible to implement at first sight as rental businesses follow a very complex logic that normal E-commerce shops do not cover. To build a successful rental business around these key factors can seem like a challenge as hard as climbing Mount Everest in a single run. But it doesn’t have to be. If you wonder how that’s possible, you can reach out to us for a free consultation call.

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