Canadian Rental Service

At Your Service: P is for profit

By Russ Dantu   

Features Business Intelligence

If you want to take your customer service to the next level, it’s important to understand the “Four Ps” for any purchase to happen. They are: product, price, people and policies/procedures.

Let’s start with product, shall we?

There is no point trying to push a customer into buying or renting your product if they are looking for something different than what you offer. What if you have a regular customer in the construction business who rents portable toilets from you for all their jobsites, but this time they want to rent the fancy trailer-type portable washrooms for a funeral on an acreage? Would you try to push the standard porta-potties on him if you didn’t carry the fancy ones? That would lead to the customer just being unhappy in the end because they didn’t have the product they wanted. What’s the best thing to do here? I say, either sub-rent them from someone who does have them, or send your customer directly over to them. If it’s a long-standing customer, they will appreciate this gesture and it will solidify your relationship even more.

How about price? Some people just want the product and will pay whatever the asking price is, no questions asked. Most people do their homework to find a reasonable price and some dig hard to get the absolute best price. Some of us pay for the convenience of shopping at stores close by. Some of us travel across the city to get the best deal (or best service) depending on the product we are looking for.

Case in point: I recently filled up at a Shell gas station. As I pulled up to the pump, the news on the radio had just said that gas prices in Calgary should be between 89 and 94 cents per litre and that if you are paying more than that, they are gouging you (these prices were in November 2016 – pretty low!). The price on the pump at the Shell station was 99 cents per litre. I shook my head but gassed up and went inside to pay. I mentioned what was just said on the radio and the owner thanked me and said they were going to make a call and get it changed right away. I believe this owner left his prices up on purpose until someone complained because I have insider information that all owners are notified at the same time when to adjust their prices. This wasn’t the first time that they seemed to be higher than other gas stations. Be careful with your pricing. It might come back to bite you if you aren’t being competitive.


The next two Ps are the most important: people and policies/procedures. We’ll deal with them together.

Let’s face it, people like dealing with people they like. If you have employees that are rude, lack in common sense, are slow, dress poorly, smell bad (yes, this happens) or a combination of several of these, chances are you are losing customers or will be shortly. The same goes with your policies and procedures for dealing with returns or complaints. If you don’t handle customers in a fast, professional and friendly manner, please take a look and see what you can do to make changes. If your policies and procedures make it difficult for a customer to return or exchange something, they will start looking for a new supplier who is easier to deal with. Having clean, knowledgeable and friendly employees along with easy, common sense policies and procedures will ensure the customers keep coming through your doors. A simple survey may be in order to find out from your current customer base what they like and dislike about the way you do things.

Understanding the Four Ps for any purchase will help give you the edge over your competition and keep your customers happy.

Russ Dantu is a 30-year veteran of the rental industry and has been delivering workshops, seminars and keynotes on customer service for over 15 years. For more information, visit or email

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