Chris Davies, CEO of HSS Hire, giving the keynote speech at the 2015 IRC conference in Beijing.

Chris Davies, CEO of HSS Hire, giving the keynote speech at the 2015 IRC conference in Beijing.

Rental is a customer service business and rental managers should not view themselves as ‘asset managers’ or ‘product engineers’, said Chris Davies, CEO of HSS Hire, in his keynote address to the International Rental Conference (IRC).

Mr Davies, who company is one of the largest equipment rental businesses in Europe, said rental businesses could avoid commoditisation in rental “by thinking about customer service rather than product management...I think customer focus is what leads rental companies away from commoditisation and the spiral downwards of prices and returns.”

He said this service mentality meant that rental companies should speak to their customers and find out what is important to them, then develop services and solutions that respond to their needs.

In the case of HSS, he said customers had highlighted product availability as a key benefit, which had prompted HSS to invest in a “retail-like” logistics system to transport equipment overnight to where it was needed.

Another example was customers’ desire for ‘value for money’, rather than simply getting a low price. Here, Mr Davies said HSS had provided its customers with control over rental costs and transparency, giving them the capability to off-hire equipment online and providing detailed account information online.

“Just because you work in rental” concluded Mr Davies, “doesn’t mean you need to think like the traditional rental industry.”

IRC is being sponsored by the following companies: Gold sponsor is Genie/Terex AWP; Silver sponsors are JLG and Sany; and Supporting sponsors are Dingli, Haulotte, Ritchie Bros Auctioneers, Skyjack and Sinoboom.

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