Going mobile: A must-have customer experience

United Rentals recently reported that more than 70% of the company’s revenues in Q1 came from customers using one or more digital tools, such as the United Rentals Mobile App and online marketplace.

Within the past year, United Rentals has launched a number of new capabilities and feature enhancements to the self-service digital experience.

United Rentals states it’s seeing strong adoption from customers who use the digital tools to support their safety, productivity and sustainability objectives. They’re using the platforms for a variety of tasks, including renting equipment, checking real-time status of deliveries, placing service calls and tracking status, taking equipment off rent and making payments, as well as monitoring usage remotely through telematics to right-size the fleet on projects, ensuring that the rented fleet is utilized effectively.

Within the past year, United Rentals has launched a number of new capabilities and feature enhancements to the self-service digital experience designed to “help customers streamline the rental process and make more informed decisions for their worksites.”

These include the ability to manage payments, with users able to view, share and pay invoices through the United Rentals Mobile App, in addition to Total Control.

“The industry is continuously evolving, and digital solutions have helped strengthen our partnership with customers,” said Paul Maddison, director of digital innovation, United Rentals. “Our team is focused on simplifying the customer experience, as well as providing relevant alerts and notifications throughout the rental process.”

We talked with Maddison about what United Rentals is doing with its mobile presence and how it’s helping customers. Following is what he had to say.

Rental Briefing: What challenges stand between customers and a mobile rental experience? How can they be overcome?

Maddison: Most reps in the industry are very knowledgeable and have a lot of context around specific job and customer needs. They can share their expertise, act as that single point of contact into rental companies and good reps are true partners to customers. Customers are right to value these relationships.

The barrier for customers to adopt digital ordering, especially from mobile, is for the experience to be as good as the experience is when picking up the phone to call the rep. That means digital experiences need not only to be quick and convenient - but also intelligent and personal. They should be aware of the customer’s specific needs and support them in making the right

Paul Maddison, director of digital innovation, United Rentals.

choices. And it should never be seen as digital versus non-digital; rather digital and the sales rep should be working together.

Mobile experiences that bring those elements together, like the United Rentals Mobile app, help even the least digitally forward customers to harness the power of digital.

Rental Briefing: Why is it important for equipment rental providers to enable customers to handle rental tasks right from their devices?

Maddison: Worksites are becoming rich with data. Telematics devices are reporting everything from usage, to fuel, to emissions, to how safe equipment is being operated. Worker tracking helps customers understand where their people are and more.

It’s critical that customers are able to harness that data in real time directly from the field. That’s where mobile apps like the United Rentals Mobile app come in. Those who harness this power see huge jumps in productivity and operate safer and greener worksites.

That tipping point has already happened.

At United Rentals, we’ve seen year-over-year growth in terms of mobile app users and for some years now, we’ve seen UnitedRentals.com get more rentals from mobile devices than from the desktop.

AI will play a bigger and bigger role. Tools like the United Rentals Benchmarking Service help customers see how they are performing against others in their industry. It enables them to understand where they are compared to an industry benchmark mark, quantifies that into a dollar opportunity and provides key actions they can take to grab that opportunity.

Rental Briefing: How have mobile rental capabilities evolved over the last few years?

Maddison: A few years back, most of the industry was offering poor mobile rental experiences via websites not optimized for mobile devices. In addition, some were offering basic equipment management apps. These capabilities were often divorced from one another.

In the field, it’s key that apps are intuitive and help you get the job done quickly. At United Rentals, we’ve brought the rental experience directly into our equipment management app. This means all the information is in one place. For example, entirely within the app, users can track the utilization of each asset, be notified of high utilization and quickly rent another one to ensure their project stays on track.

Rental Briefing: What mobile rental capabilities does United Rentals provide its customers?

Maddison: Via the United Rentals Mobile App, customers are able to rent, manage and pay. They can access the world’s largest online rental catalog 24/7, see their contract-specific pricing, access detailed equipment specifications, see real-time availability of our inventory and choose “green alternatives.” Customers can leverage existing jobsite details and payment methods to check out quickly and get instant reservation confirmations. They can track delivery of those assets to their jobsites. Once that equipment is put to work they can monitor equipment utilization and location, and quickly put in service requests, extend or request pickup and pay invoices.

Rental Briefing: How have these mobile capabilities improved the rental experience for customers?

Maddison: Customers can save time by ordering our Mobile App with just a few taps. And the rental experience is baked into the same app that they can use to manage their jobsite with all the information in one place.

Rental Briefing: Are customers looking for rental providers to offer a common experience across a provider’s entire online ordering system?

Maddison: Customers expect a consistent experience regardless of the device they use. Not only that, they expect to not have to re-enter the jobsite details or have to re-set up payment methods on each device. They also expect to be able to digitally track orders they placed offline. A consistent and intuitive user experience helps customers get the job done quickly and efficiently.


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Euan Youdale Editor Tel: +44 (0)1892 786 214 E-mail: [email protected]
Lindsey Anderson Editor Tel: +1 312 929 4409 E-mail: [email protected]
Tony Radke Sales Manager Tel: +1 480 478 6302 E-mail: [email protected]
Ollie Hodges Sales Manager Tel: +44 (0)1892 786253 E-mail: [email protected]