CRA President's Message: Think service

The CRA offers tools to improve your service across the board.
Mike Maltby
April 17, 2018
By Mike Maltby
According to the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, customers will tell an average of nine people about good experiences and nearly twice as many (16 people) about poor ones.  


The reality is that your customers are talking about you. Are they speaking highly of you? Are they recommending you to their friends? Or are they telling their friends that you are the Antichrist? In our melodramatic society, there’s almost no limit to how far the hyperbole might go.

I know what you’re thinking: “Here we go again, another lecture about providing excellent customer service.” Yes, you’ve heard this a thousand times before, and you, as the business owner, already provide great service to your customers. That goes without saying. But let me ask you this: is everyone on your team doing the same?  

If you can’t immediately answer “Yes, absolutely!” you should check out the Learning Center at ararental.org. The Learning Center offers a mix of stand-alone courses and educational tracks for owners, managers and employees. The blend of free and affordable training options will not only help improve overall efficiency, but also boost employee confidence when assisting your customers.

The Learning Center is full of general business information as well as rental-specific courses, such as:
  • Introduction to customer service in the equipment rental industry
  • Compact communications – texting, email, voicemail
  • Professionalism in the equipment rental industry
  • Telephone skills in the equipment rental industry
...and many, many more.

As a company administrator you can also assign courses to your employees and track their progress as they complete assigned learning courses.

Ongoing training is vital to your company’s success.  Studies show that 90 per cent of customers will not willingly do business again with a company that they feel has treated them unfairly. The same studies also show that if you can resolve a complaint in the customer’s favour, people are more willing to accept an error and 70 per cent of them will return. The way you handle a less-than-positive experience can turn these people into some of your most loyal (and profitable) customers.  

The opposite, unfortunately, is also true. If a customer issue is not handled well, it can escalate. For example, I recently had a conversation with an industry professional about his experience with Flair Airlines, a new discount airline. He booked a flight from Hamilton, Ont., to Edmonton to attend the CRA Prairie regional trade show. After getting to the Hamilton airport, he was informed by the airline that his flight had been cancelled and this was the only flight from Hamilton that day. He was re-booked on a new flight but would now have to depart from Toronto.  Traffic and airport security caused this traveler to miss the re-booked flight and he had to book at the airport with another airline in order to make it to Edmonton in time to attend the show.

After all this hassle and inconvenience, it wasn’t the cancellation or having to leave from another airport that made him upset. It wasn’t even that his return flight was still to Hamilton when his car was now in Toronto. The thing that upset him the most was that when he called Flair to try to work out compensation for his now-useless re-booked ticket, they kept him on hold for an hour and forty minutes before he gave up and ended the call. This fiasco could have been turned around with the customer feeling like his issue was resolved properly if this company had better customer service practices.Instead, not only will this customer not return to the airline, but numerous people have now heard of his struggles, which may make them think twice before doing business with this company themselves. The Learning Center can help you train your team to provide the same excellent customer service you do, and will give them the tools to prevent a problem from escalating.


Mike Maltby is vice-president of Ingersoll Rent-All in Ingersoll, Ont. Mike has been a fixture at CRA Ontario events since beginning his time with the association in 2006, and looks forward to connecting with CRA members nationally in the coming years.

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