How asset tagging is transforming the rental industry
When people ask me about typical applications of our technology, I often take the conversation to equipment rental. Indeed, very few other use cases count so many opportunities for leveraging all the different angles and capabilities of our Product-Led Communication approach and the Twintag platform. When scanned with a regular smartphone, a QR code tag applied to the equipment will trigger all digital flows and experiences to better serve users, customers, inspectors or other personas.
Obviously, a very straightforward thing to do is to attach all kinds of relevant information associated with the rental asset. Documents like user manuals or checklists that are generic for the same equipment type and model would first come to mind. But more importantly in terms of relevance and productivity, there might also be documents that are bound to the specific asset instance, such as rental documents, repair history, safety inspection certificates or calibration reports. Depending on requirements, these documents might be manually introduced and attached to the equipment, but in most cases there will already be back-end systems for content management, and documents will be sourced from there, automatically.
Videos and tutorials
No need to limit ourselves to simple text documents, either. Detailed electrical schematics and installation drawings are important, as are illustrating pictures and tutorial videos to support proper and safe use of the equipment by occasional users or renters. Often, YouTube is a first recourse when trying to learn how to operate unfamiliar tooling, but time is lost in finding correct quality information, when at all available. Having everything at the user’s fingertips is a clear win-win between rental company and renter as it substantially reduces the frustrations, safety risks, and costs associated with misuse or lengthy phone support sessions.
Product Led Communication definitely is no one-way street. When useful, the tag can enable and establish two-way communication of any desired kind. For example, activate an instant chat or voice channel from the user to the proper product support specialist, who will get all the contextual information available like product model and serial no, rental conditions, name of the customer, problem context etc. This immediately drops both parties into a focused conversation about the issue at hand, rather than having to enquire about all the contextual details, to eventually end up transferring the call to the proper party, then repeating the exercise. Potentially picking up the same conversation again from a saved context would be easy, as opposed to the same kind of exercise in a regular call center.
Support and handholding
In some cases, it may actually help to go even one step further, by introducing imaging into the support channel. When posting a support request on a web page, it may help both sides greatly if a series of pictures or a small commented video can be included as a link in the post. This will assist the support agent to scope and understand the issue by viewing it repeatedly, then escalate without a problem if that makes sense. Keeping the video for later reference during service development and training may be invaluable.
Rental management and CRM integration
Another extremely logical application would be a simple rental customer UI, interfacing to whatever rental management system is used. Quickly checking the rental agreement and updating it on the fly - to extend the rental term for a bobcat by a week, for instance - is a very desirable capability from both the company’s and the renter’s point of view. As the transactions that make sense in this context tend to be few in number and simple in nature, there is substantial value in empowering your customer by tying him/her directly into your back-end systems this way.
For any service organization, it is important to keep its customers close. Making sure that you know in detail what drives their choice for your business is essential, yet traditionally not many tools are available and they don’t tend to be particularly attractive or motivating from a customer perspective. Product-Led Communication offers unique, integrated and low-threshold opportunities to collect deep feedback from your renters, just as they are in the process of renting or using your equipment. Whether delighted or dissatisfied, if you give your customers a rich communication channel - rather than an anemic multiple choice form - they will often spend the time and energy to explain what drives their experience with you. A simple button on the landing page you get when scanning the twintag may let them record a selfie video which is less of a chore and much more expressive. Give them the assurance that top management will view and consider their advice and you may be surprised with the outcomes.
Fully dynamic evolution
At this time, you may ask yourself “when and where do I start with this process”. The answer is simple. Start as simple and as quickly as possible - you may be up and running in a couple weeks - and evolve the system based on customer feedback. Because if experience in these projects here at Twintag has taught us anything, then it most certainly is that actual feedback brings new and unpredicted insights and priorities, mostly very pragmatic and actionable. Showing that another course of action would likely have been suboptimal in its use of time and money, to put it mildly.
Not every QR code is the same
If - after making it through this paper - you end up thinking that maybe one QR code is not necessarily the same as another after all, you would be right. While the QR code itself is just a physical coding of a character string, it is the unique identifier into the platform underneath that counts. Twintag is a platform built around those unique identifiers , whether surfaced through QR codes, NFC or RFID tags. Rental tagging has good use for all of the advanced capabilities they trigger.