When RSC merged with Prime Service Inc. in January of 2001 the company, Rental Service, was divided into three distinct niches — Prime Industrial, Prime Energy and RSC — to better serve its customers. Though the company's Web site served each of these brands from that point forward, its relaunch in January 2003 further distinguished the three brands on its homepage, simplifying navigation for the user.
Rental Service also went the extra mile to complete a heuristic analysis of its typical Web site users. During the study, cameras examined the eye movements of users when they sat down before the Rental Service site. The cameras analyzed what was confusing to the user based on these eye movements. The idea was to simplify the navigation process by eliminating unnecessary page views and keystrokes.
“Our goal was to provide a new, easier-to-follow navigation system for our customers visiting rentalservice.com as well as to update the information to be more in line with our current service efforts,” said Ellen Steck, vice president of eBusiness and Marketing. “Rentalservice.com is completely designed to best serve our customers. We want to continually provide them with technology resources that make doing business with us simple.”
To simplify the site's navigation system the company condensed many of the areas into more general categories. Now there are only six options to select from on the navigation bar as opposed to 10. The company tried to narrow the focus to help users better understand quickly where they want to go within the site. Using results of the heuristic analysis, Rental Service studied users' traffic patterns to further eliminate unnecessary page views and keystrokes.
Customer feedback about the site has been positive, Steck says. Not surprisingly, customers from the Prime Energy and Prime Industrial businesses have been the most pleased because those businesses are now prominently displayed on the homepage. Those users immediately narrow their options by selecting the branch of the company that best serves their needs.
“What we've tried to do is stay specific in trying to meet the needs of those people who work with us,” says Steck. “What we've found is that our customers are willing to forego the glitz and the bells and whistles for the fast access to the information they are really looking for.”
One section of the site that users have been impressed with is the Chat section. Here, users can get answers to their questions on a real time basis 24 hours a day. The company also has the ability to do screen sharing within this section. For example, a customer recently logged in to find out if there was an area within the site to apply for a credit account. The customer service representative used the screen-sharing tool to show the customer on his own screen how to navigate to that section of the site. Once there, the customer successfully applied for credit and opened his account shortly thereafter.
“The site is always a work in progress,” Steck says. And the company has planned several technical enhancements to the site by the end of the second quarter. Among them a tool and supply catalog; an enhanced used equipment section that includes more than 30,000 pieces of equipment that is updated daily; as well as an online rental catalog complete with photos and specifications to help guide customers in choosing the right equipment for every job.
The site has several other enhancements planned beyond the second quarter as well, and all with the customer in mind. Thus far, Rental Service has moved forward very prudently with its technology offerings and plans to continue on this path. “Listening to customers has been so good for us!” says Steck.