Canadian Rental Service

Features Business Intelligence
Take a walk on the profit side

The rental service industry could benefit a lot from new website tools available to site owners.


January 29, 2013
By Rafi Sweary

Topics

The rental service industry could benefit a lot from new website tools available to site owners. Think about the times you visited a vendor’s site to look for information or to order something, and didn’t know where to go, what to do or how to get things done quickly. If it happens to you on websites designed by large marketing firms with hefty budgets, it is probably happening to customers visiting your site, as well. 

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Help and support balloons can reduce the load on your counter staff by answering common questions online. These balloons can also give users the option to transfer to live chat support, enhancing customer experience and increasing loyalty. 


 

A new web tool called WalkMe aims to take the confusion out of your website. The software makes it easier for your users to understand. The service creates little pop-up bubbles over various points in order to lead your users through a typical interaction, such as renting the right product, making payments or finding the correct specification for a product. You can think of it as the GPS of the web. 

Another available feature is the online chat support tool. Most popular ones include Live Person. They enable you to speak to your customers as they are on your site, assisting with any needs they may have and solving them as they occur. This kind of service can ensure brand loyalty, increase sales and get you more action per visit. 

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Walkthrough software can be a tool for you business in other ways. It can be used as a simple training tool to give users safety reminders or tips on the best applications for equipment. Walkthroughs can be used to create aggressive calls to action or an advance shopping cart that allows rental requests to be managed and processed within minutes. These online functions can save time and labour, and bring a slick, technological veneer to your business.  

Using walkthrough or live support software can boost your efficiency and lead to better fulfilment on your site, and not using them can cost you. Most users will want to find what they want within three clicks. If they cannot find your pricing charts or store locations immediately, they may leave your site. The walkthrough’s job is to make them stay by improving customer service, leading to greater customer retention. It is also a great way to differentiate yourself and your online presence from your competition.


Tips for improving web experience

First and foremost, make it quick and easy for the customer. We live in an instant gratification world, and nowhere is that more true than online, especially B2B online transactions. People want efficiency, because time means money. They want it now. The whole idea of online shopping revolves around the notion that customers can go online on their own time, 24/7, and order what they need and have it ready for pickup whenever it is desired. Any delay, any barrier to the experience will drive them away from the site because they are there for convenience. Customers need to be able to browse and make decisions with easy access to advice and tips given by your team, and feel secure in the process. Timely e-mail notification boosts that experience of instant gratification, and this can create the brand loyalty that is so important in today’s world. If users have a good experience, they will tell seven people of their great experience, and that is something you cannot buy. Using walkthrough and live support tools helps your users feel sure they are in the right place getting the best service available.

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 Mousing over or clicking on a product on
the website can call up an interactive balloon that lets users choose
from different product options, add the product to a shopping cart or
select ordering options such as rental period. The interface takes all
the guesswork out of how to order and what the options are.
 

Next, a great website should provide instant support. Online shoppers want everything now. If customers need help or support when ordering, you being there immediately will make them happy. There are many tools out there to help you create an easy navigation through your website so that you can have fewer support staff, but more support actions taking place for every unique visitor on your site. For instance, the WalkMe Step-By-Step guide steers users to helpful information based on what they are interacting with on the site. This lowers the costs of a support team, because many of the simple “FAQ” issues can be solved before the user has a chance to call for help. The Live Person tool allows customers to engage with your support team over a chat connection. 

Finally, do not ignore the cool factor. Your online presence should communicate that you are tech savvy, moving forward into the new era and taking your younger customers into consideration. The design of your walkthrough can be very brand-focused and user-focused. If you create an interesting and different experience for your user, the customer will remember your site and return.

Creating walkthroughs using software like WalkMe is easy. You just bring up your target website or HTML program in your main browser window, select each user interaction element that you want to include, type the text that you want to show in its associated balloon hint (including foreign languages and character sets), and define the balloon positioning, timing, and other parameters.

For maximum flexibility, you can set individual balloon hint attributes, including display visibility, triggers and timing, and even define different paths or branches after an action has been completed. Once you’ve finished creating your walkthrough, publishing it to your target website or HTML program is usually as easy as inserting a short line of Javascript code to the master or template page on your site or software host server (similar to the process for Google Analytics).

Walkthrough tools can deliver multiple walkthroughs throughout your website or HTML program. The walkthrough programs themselves are hosted on Amazon CloudFront or similar servers for maximum security, speed and up-time; but for clients who require it, a self-hosted option is also available.

Advanced users have access to a full API versions of the walkthrough program, which allows them to modify every aspect of walkthrough creation and playback functionality, design and display to match their specific requirements.

There is so much potential in the rental industry for online commerce and customer support, yet many companies languish with websites that do not look like they have been updated since the ’90s. The Internet is a powerful tool that has been relatively unexploited in your business niche. Rental operators who use these tips can have a chance to move forward and grow their businesses in new ways.

About the author
Rafi Sweary is a co-founder of WalkMe.com, the world’s first interactive online guidance system. To learn more about WalkMe, visit www.walkme.com.