“The most damaging phrase in the language is: It’s always been done this way.” — Grace Hopper, Computer Scientist and US Navy Rear Admiral
Looking back over the last 10-15 years, business people transacting with other businesses simply had lower expectations than what they experienced as consumers. During the 9-5 workweek, transactions were done over the phone and in person. Documents were faxed and sent back and forth over a several-week period. Forget one-click digital transactions. The process wasn’t smooth, but this was work, right?
On weekends, these same business people would click two buttons and order Amazon packages delivered to their doorstep. If the package was (God forbid) delivered in three days, instead of two — it was time for a Twitter tweet-storm at the company.
Why is it that these same people had vastly different expectations for B2B transactions at work than their own B2C transactions at home?
Well, that’s changing. Research from Deloitte Digital indicates that 34% of buyers are more likely to buy from companies that master customer experience than from those that do not. Even more, 80% of B2B buyers now expect real-time interaction. Expectations for business transactions now equal expectations for consumer transactions and companies that don’t acknowledge that will be left behind.
In rental, that means companies need to enable their business to accept rental requests 24/7. Renters want to sign digital agreements, pay their invoices, and manage their rentals on their time — not when your sales reps happen to be available.
To achieve this, rental companies need to lean into online reservations and offer self-serve rental transactions. Online transactions aren’t right for 100% of customers, but there is a growing population who wants and expects to engage with your rental store digitally.
What got you here, won’t get you there. It’s now time to strike the terms B2B and B2C from our vocabularies.