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Rental: Innovate like the 'superbrands'

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By Gareth Jones, managing director at Dawsonrentals Vans

We live in an age of market disrupters, of industry giants who dominate competitors by never being afraid to expand and innovate.

We see this with the likes of Amazon, which started life as a secondhand bookseller and this year won a Golden Globe for its own original TV series. We see it with Tesco, which has transcended the supermarket tag to offer everything from petrol to phone networks, financial services to film production.

Regardless of its beginnings, a business can reap enormous rewards if it is not afraid to diversify. The major players in each industry owe their achievements to extending their USPs, understanding that catering to the full scope of customer needs is the key to long-term success.

This therefore raises the question of why the commercial vehicle sector is still failing to take its offering to the next level. As an industry with high quality, good value products and helpful, efficient staff, we have to wonder why so many are choosing to remain in their comfort zones.

There is still evidence that much more could be done to produce a broader range of customer services. In particular, downtime continues to pose a threat to the industry’s reputation, as breakdowns and off-road time blight an otherwise excellent record.

If a vehicle rental provider were to be truly entrepreneurial, it would be on the frontline with customers, ready to solve problems before they arise. It would present itself as an authority on every aspect of the industry.

You don’t have to be one of the superbrands to follow their lead, so businesses should be open to expanding and offering a varied, dynamic selection of supporting services. This could mean offering repairs, partnering with other businesses that can support roadside service, or perhaps positioning a base somewhere that lets customers get a cup of coffee while they discuss the services they require.

We live in a world where customers are encouraged to expect more. Quality should be standard now, so it’s up to the innovators to get creative and deliver something that goes beyond the call of duty.


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