According to the stereotype of the typical Englishman we just don’t do complaining. We silently acquiesce at mediocre service whilst inwardly resolving to take our business elsewhere. In every sector of our economy the customer is now king but is the plant and tool hire industry doing everything it can to encourage loyalty from its patrons? One rental business is showing the way by adopting some of the tactics and technologies that the giants of global trade have been taking for granted for years. HSS Hire adopted the customer engagement solution Rant & Rave last February and has seen real benefits to its implementation.
“Everything is real time, so if you off-hire equipment today HSS would contact you tomorrow via email and we can have that feedback back in straight away,” explains Lisa Bartley, Customer Care Director at HSS. “It is certainly true that a lot of people don’t like to complain face-to-face but they may well be more comfortable doing it via a survey. We actually want to make it as easy as possible for customers to raise their concerns of the service they received so that we can get in touch with them directly and put it right and we call everyone who gives us a low score individually. In fact, some people are actually quite surprised when we do respond to the comments they’ve made on the survey but they just don’t expect us to. It also identifies which of our employees might need support or further training.
“Of course it’s not just about highlighting what has gone wrong but also acknowledging that we do fantastic things as a business. If a particular HSS staff member receives a very high score and positive comments, for example, then that is communicated to the individual concerned as recognition of a job well done.”
What more can plant hirers do to improve the experience of their customers? Construction Plant News Editor, Lee Jones talks to one company that’s going the extra mile.
Proactive communication, real-time feedback and employee engagement are the cornerstones of the Rant & Rave concept and if you want an indication of whether it works then consider that over half of the FTSE are now using it, including the likes of Sky, Vodafone, Debenhams and easyjet. Prior to using the new technology, HSS Hire’s processes of collecting customer feedback after hire involved making personal, individual calls to each customer. This was a laborious process that took a long time to record information and analyse effectively.Furthermore, by the time they got through to a lot of customers it was several days or weeks later, where they could no longer provide accurate sentiments for the time of hire.
Instead, by asking a single question; “How happy were you with your hire from HSS?”, customers can rank their experience from I to S. This not only helps HSS understand how well the company is performing, but also provides instant feedback as to what a customer is feeling directly after the hire or service from HSS. Instead of calling every customer, action can then be taken quickly where it’s most needed by contacting customers with the lowest scores directly. In addition, every HSS manager has access to Rant & Rave through their own individual dashboard, which means that they can be immediately aware of any issues that their area of the business might have.”
“Everyone wants to feel listened to,” continues Lisa, “and Rant & Rave gives our customers a voice, ensuring that we can resolve any issues quickly. That way the individual is more likely to come back and far less likely to articulate a negative experience to colleagues, friends and family.”
Any organisation that empowers its customers to complain will demand an ethos that eschews blame and it is that cultural shift that HSS has made, as Lisa explains: “We know that things do go wrong occasionally. What is important is that we find a way to resolve it because it’s how we put things right that counts. When we initiated our ‘Customer Delight’ programme we developed what we call our customer journey, which is a 12 point plan from first point of contact right through to invoicing and payment. The ideal is for a seamless transition through the process in every instance, and it’s crucial that our own colleagues understand what it is to be the person on the other side of the hire desk at each of those points.”
“It’s initatives like that which have seen significant increases in our scores through Rant & Rave. Our learning and development team has actually compiled an entire customer service course that’s unique to HSS and the particular requirements of our business and that’s been rolled out through the company over the course of the last twelve months.”
Improving the relationship with the customer can also reverberate around the business in unexpected ways. A small but not insignificant issue with a particular product, for instance, can be revealed that may otherwise have gone unnoticed, which can then be communicated back to suppliers and consistent issues with items of equipment can then be rectified.
From its extensive customer research HSS is able to identify product availability and support as its customers’ most pressing demands, and only through communicating with them can they hope to form a strategy to deliver on these. To effectively invite the paying public to raise issues takes bravery but in this instance it is a stance that fortune favours.
Our Case Study: HSS Hire
Watch our video below to find out how HSS Hire has captured more feedback since partnering with us and seen a 93% customer retention rate as a result of listening and taking action in real-time.