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How to Deal with Rental Equipment Shortages and Never Say No to Customers

Author: Nathan Crossley August 17, 2023 · 3 Min read
How to Deal with Rental Equipment Shortages and Never Say No to Customers

As a rental business owner, you always want to accept a customer. While shortages and unexpected stock issues can be disheartening, you can turn these challenges into opportunities. So, what do you do when your inventory falls short of demand? This blog post will explore creative solutions to keep your customers satisfied and your business thriving.

Whether due to damage from previous customers, unexpected popularity, or planned maintenance, running out of rental equipment stock can be challenging for any rental business. There are many reasons shortages can happen, so it’s essential to have processes in place to deal with these situations when they arise.

Common reasons for shortages and what to do

Dealing with shortages may seem cut and dry; different situations require different solutions. This is why it is essential to set up processes so your team understands what they should do and how much leeway they have to ensure that saying no is never an option. Let’s dive into three common reasons for shortages and how you can keep your customers happy.

1. Damage incurred by previous customers

It’s common for rental equipment to experience wear and tear over time. While damaged rental equipment can be frustrating for your business and customers, it’s hard to avoid. However, taking a proactive approach is essential to ensure the damage is limited to the product and not your business’ reputation.

First, it’s essential to be upfront and transparent about unavailable stock due to damage from previous customers. You must communicate the situation to your customers, express your regret, and provide alternatives. You can soften the blow by offering them a similar item for a discounted rate or suggesting a later date when you have stock available.

2. Different availability online and in-store

You can encourage customers to book online when they see you have products available, but some will prefer to book in-store. This can create a situation where they see you have stock available online for their preferred dates, but it’s no longer available when they visit you. Of course, this isn’t avoidable when others make bookings in the meantime.

While this can be disheartening for customers, you must proactively resolve the situation. The first port of call is offering to check availability, suggest a date, and let them pre-book the equipment. However, if they need it that day, you can engage with customers to guide them through alternative options, demonstrating your commitment to their satisfaction.

3. Unexpected high demand for specific products

High demand for a specific product is great for your business, but issues can arise when you don’t have the stock to meet it. In an ideal world, you would have the time to bolster your stock, but this isn’t always an option since you don’t want to turn customers away and lose a sale, you can use this opportunity to leverage pricing strategies.

Consider whether offering a discount on a similar or upgraded item would be a viable solution. Some customers might be delighted to upgrade at a lower cost, while others may be willing to pay a premium to secure the item they desire. Carefully evaluate your pricing options and communicate them clearly to your customers to find a solution that works for them and your business.

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Additional creative strategies

Sometimes, thinking outside the box can yield surprising and positive results. If you have a rental item that won’t be utilized over a particular weekend, why not consider lending it to a customer for free during that time? This gesture shows your commitment to customer satisfaction and creates goodwill that may enhance loyalty, positive reviews, and repeat business.

Even if your core item is unavailable, you might have a surplus of lenses, attachments, or other accessories. You can bundle these accessories with rental to effectively provide value to your customers and encourage them to return when the desired item is back in stock. Small gestures like this can make you stand out from competitors and customers appreciate them.

The power of never saying no

While shortages and unexpected stock issues can be disheartening, adopting a “never saying no” mindset can turn challenges into opportunities. Instead of outright refusing a customer’s request, focus on finding alternatives and providing personalized solutions. This approach demonstrates your dedication to customer satisfaction.

By embracing creativity, transparency, and proactive communication, you can turn challenges into opportunities to strengthen customer relationships, generate positive reviews, and ultimately enhance your brand’s reputation. Remember, in the rental world, a little ingenuity can go a long way in keeping your customers and your business thriving.

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