Communication: Why it’s Important for Rental Businesses to Get Right

Before the internet, personal connections and communication were easy for brick and mortar stores. Customers had to come and see you if they wanted to rent something or talk to you directly...

Before the internet, personal connections and communication were easy for brick and mortar stores. Customers had to come and see you if they wanted to rent something or talk to you directly on the phone. However, communication can be much harder to maintain with so many different channels to focus on with the internet. Far too many to cover in a concise guide.

Today, we are going to discuss emails, documents, and effective post-sales communication. There is the misconception that once a customer has paid for a product or service, you do not need to continue communicating with them. You’ve made the sale, so why bother, right? Well, communicating post-sales is, in fact, just as important as pre-sales and can turn a one-time customer into a returning one if it’s done effectively.

Post-sales communication can come in the form of an invoice, booking confirmation, quotes, contracts, digital manuals, quick-start guides, delivery updates, and answering any questions people may have about what they’re renting. This follow-up service is something that rental customers like to see and will help build loyalty with them and ensure they will return in the future and recommend you to others.

Before we start

Within Booqable there are two different types of email templates: automatic and manual. Automatic email templates are sent to customers when they complete a certain action like placing a reservation on your online store - e.g. order confirmation. Manual email templates can be used to fill out an email that you are choosing to send to a customer yourself - e.g. delivery updates.

Making an impression after a customer has made a booking

Typically, the first communication your customer will receive when booking on your online store is the ‘Webshop Confirmation,’ which is sent automatically in Booqable. By default, this will include a short message and a summary of their order, including what they booked, the rental duration, pickup and return dates, and how much they paid.

Of course, you can leave it like this and not face any issues with customers. However, this is your first chance to make an impression on your customer after making a reservation. So, it is the perfect time to introduce some personalization that makes it feel like it’s come from someone who cares about their customers.

This can be edited in email templates within your Booqable settings and could be anything from adding your logo to personalizing the confirmation message. An example of a customized message for, say, a bike rental business could be a guide to the best routes for cycling in your local area. You could also use this opportunity to upsell something like a tire repair kit.

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Following up on a customer’s order

Sometimes it’s unnecessary to follow up on a customer’s order, but it can be a nice touch that distinguishes your services from others in your area. These will usually be manual emails where you can set up templates for individual items that you offer. For example, this could be a digital manual or quick start guide for a camera or an expanded guide to the best local cycling routes if your customer rents out a bike.

Another case for follow-up emails can be for longer-term rentals where you’re checking up on a customer and asking if they need any help with the product they have offered. Again, this can be a manual email template, but it shows the customer that you care about them, and you’re there if they need any help with their rentals.

Finally, another less common case for follow-up emails is delivery confirmation and updates. Usually, these cannot be achieved with a template and will need to be created individually for each customer. However, they help to provide reassurance that their order is on its way and when they should expect it.

Sending quotes, contracts and invoices

If you work in the event sector, it’s likely that you don’t accept direct bookings but allow clients to request a quote for the items they want to rent. In this case, customers will certainly be expecting an email from you to confirm their order and pay online. Therefore, you must personalize these emails as they often feel stale and impersonal.

It is possible to achieve this through manual email templates as you’re likely to send a similar message to customers each time. However, if there are any extra details you need to add, this is easy to do within the email editor. For example, these could be helpful tips for setting things up, other recommendations you may have, or notes about items that may be unavailable.

Some rental store owners like to have their customers sign a contract. This could be because the item is of high value, it’s rented for an extended period or for legal reasons. In this case, it is crucial to clarify what the customer should look out for and what they need to pay attention to. Again, this can be done with a manual email template that you can set up in advance.

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