Q: How can our rental operation benefit from becoming a paperless office?
- Gary Fulena, Advantage Rent A Car
A: For some, the paperless office is all about conservation and protecting the environment. There are many reasons conservation and protection is a great idea; therefore so are paperless offices and paperless document management. A paperless rental operation can benefit from the bottom line as much as the environment.
Organize and Streamline Tasks
One major inter-office advantage of a paperless office is the ease with which documents can be found. In addition to being simple to find, documents in a paperless rental office are easier to retrieve — you don’t have to leave your desk! Storing your documents online with a company like TSD, for example, allows you to retrieve them from any computer with an Internet connection. Finally, you can recover a document even if someone else has already retrieved it.
In a paperless office, there is an ease with which documents can be combined, faxed, duplicated or otherwise manipulated.
Consider a common office task: making a copy. Likely, making a copy is no longer necessary because now everyone has every document at their fingertips, but for this discussion consider that someone outside the office requests a copy. In a paperless office you have the ability to email a copy directly to the person.
But maybe this person also wants a hard copy. Before the paperless rental office, the document had to be retrieved from the paper file system, copied on a copier and returned to the paper file system, where it has the potential to be misfiled.
In a paperless office, the document is pulled up on the computer and sent to the printer without getting misfiled. The copier, expensive to buy, use and maintain is no longer necessary and same goes for the paper file system. Add the increase in productivity and this can help a rental office streamline tasks.
Create a Positive Customer Experience
Consider another common office task: sending a rental receipt, reservation confirmation or direct bill invoice. In a paperless rental office these documents are sent directly from the PC over the Internet. This means everyone in the office can send required documents at the same time, and all this without a copier, mail man or fax machine. The documents sent over the Internet are more presentable since the document is not being scanned as it rolls through a fax machine or copier.
Offering the opportunity to email your contract also cuts down on the inconvenience of a paper contract for the customer. Months after their rental experience ends, your customers likely find crumpled contracts in a purse, briefcase or glove compartment. Should they ever need to refer to the contract again, imagine how much easier it would be if it is stored in their email.
Secure Your Documents
Contemplate the added security a paperless office provides as well. Maintaining a rental fleet can mean maintaining a lot of paperwork. Rental contracts, typically with personal customer information, are in files and drawers, in bins and stacked on counters. Having these private documents out in the open at your location exposes you to liability.
In the ever growing need to protect your customer’s privacy and personal data, even a locked file cabinet is vulnerable to being broken into by someone with prying eyes. In a paperless rental office, you can add several levels of security to keep unauthorized individuals from accessing sensitive renter information. A good security system also includes a tracking history so you can see when the document was last accessed, who has been accessing it and whether they printed or emailed it to someone.
Use It as Marketing
One other advantage common to all paperless offices is public relations. Think of your rental operation and how many contracts you print daily or weekly. Then multiply that to come up with your monthly or yearly paper usage. By providing customers with the emailed contract, you reduce the amount of paper they need to carry while greening your rental operation.
Showing off your paperless office to current or potential clients is a great way to impress. It tells that client or prospect that you are looking for ways to keep your business lean and mean and that you leverage technology to do that.
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More articles in the 2013 How-To Issue from Auto Rental News can be found here.