Small Business Advice | Customer Service for hire

My background is very much of a retail nature, where customers and customer service are the very heart of the business. But traditionally, hire has been quite outdated in this respect – it’s an industry that’s been focused on products and the mechanics of the hire process more so than on the customer. And I think that’s been a mistake.

When I joined HSS, there had already been some progress in addressing this and over the past few years, we’ve been resolute in building on this. We have been leading the way in bringing a more customer-centric focus to hire, aligning our business model to the needs of our customers and making sure we are best placed to work with them, wherever and whenever they need us.

We’ve been busy opening new branches to consolidate our nationwide network and we’ve also invested heavily in expanding and updating our equipment fleet to ensure that it is easy for our customers to find us and to get what they need from us.

But it’s no longer good enough to just be a ‘supplier’; it’s got to be about becoming an indispensible part of your customer’s supply chain. Our customers are why we do what we do and we work hard to deliver what they need from us – I don’t think you can or should do anything else; even during the tough times of a recession. And yes, the current market conditions mean a big part of that will focus on costs, both your own and those of your customer. But for real success, it’s equally essential not to only take a cost reducing approach. Service and compliance must be maintained and, even more than that, innovation must be embraced. We’ve pioneered some great initiatives and hire related services that are all about putting the customer at the very heart of what we do and in making hire easy for them and all of this has helped us to outperform the market despite some very challenging times.

As part of this dedication to customer care, we developed and launched our award-winning online business management system, HSS LiveHire to give our customers better visibility and control of the equipment they have on hire. Saving time and money are always important factors for any business but, now more than ever, our customers need us to help identify efficiencies and drive out unnecessary costs and LiveHire helps deliver against those needs in a way that no other system can do.

I readily admit that our customer-centric approach has led to other hire companies looking over the fence at HSS and thinking that we’re somewhat mad. But to be honest, if we’re going to stand out from the crowd in our industry, I’m very proud that it’s because we put our customers first.

Tips for SMEs |37 ways to beat your competitors

You don’t necessarily have to be the cheapest  to win customers, according to Smarta but you do have to find a way to make you stand out amongst your competitors. So, whether the competition is Tesco’s or a local shop, a successful business needs to be better than its rivals in at least three ways if it wants to thrive. Suggestions include, offering a better product, or perhaps more unusual or innovative alternatives, great customer service and, essential to most modern businesses, a great website. The key thing is just being a SMALL business is already a big advantage, as it means you’re adaptable; therefore you’re already better than big brands in dozens of ways. To read all 37 top tips, please visit Smarta website