Exploring technology for your self storage business
We live in the age of technology – here are five ways you can use technology to give your customers a more modern experience.
Technology is everywhere, and it touches every aspect of our life. Self storage is no exception. Here are the top 5 ways of using technology to benefit your self storage.
Best ways of using technology for self storage
A modern self storage business sees digital transformation as a necessity and the central enabler of all interactions. A well-managed listing on Google My Business, Yelp or Facebook is a great (and free) marketing tool to gain new customers and establish yourself in the local community. Appealing photos and detailed information about the business will help establish trust.
Reviews from other users add social proof. Use even negative reviews to your advantage by responding to them in a nice way. Every review that gets a response is a sign that a person who cares about customers is behind the company profile page. Each answer is also an opportunity to mention your strengths as a business. There’s a huge variety of different digital marketing channels, from organic to email marketing or paid ads. Intensify your digital marketing game and start scoring new customers.
Automated customer interactions
Many are familiar with self service kiosks at the grocery store and the airport. These terminals are taking over the front desks of self storage facilities. The benefits are multiple:
· Reduce your office footprint, staff overhead and administration costs
· Faster check-in/booking turnover
· Multiple customers served simultaneously
· Less waiting times
A technological novelty for these kiosks is voice control. Familiar to most from Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, voice control can do much more than tell you jokes and ‘call mum’. For users with impaired vision, this can mean greater accessibility; giving your business an edge over the competition. Automated language translation is another benefit of voice control.
Improve customer communication
How do you get in touch with your customers? Text messaging is an easy and low-cost way to engage customers. SMS has an eight times higher engagement and response rate than Email. If you want to notify the customer about an upcoming campaign or an overdue invoice – SMS might be the better channel to accomplish this than Email or snail mail.
Pretty much everyone owns a smartphone and an overwhelming 80% of consumers in the US manage their finances through their smartphone. A text message usually gets opened within 90 seconds (90 minutes for Email) and is guaranteed to get you the customer’s attention.
Software backed access control
Access control of the facility is a must-have feature of any self storage management software. With a potential supplier lock-in, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Navigating the various suppliers and solutions can be difficult. Keep in mind these considerations:
Smart lock placement
The smart lock should not only be at the door of the unit. The purpose of smart locks is to reduce staff presence and increase self-servicing. Chances are the customer will have to navigate gates, lifts and other doors before eventually reaching the storage unit.
Improved facility security
Self Storage security is crucial in any access control solution. This includes the cameras and sensors, such as temperature sensors and smoke detectors. Up-scale locks have open door detectors and sound an alarm after a certain time — a premium feature that you can easily monetize. Customers will gladly pay for the peace of mind of knowing that their door is locked correctly.
What if the key gets lost
Keys can be lost – this is true for old-fashioned lock-and-key and access-authorization to a smart lock door. A mechanical defect can also prevent the door from opening. It is crucial to be prepared for this eventuality and have a contingency plan to open a door in such an event. Some locks work with a phone and a card. Others have a mechanical cylinder that can be picked.
Additional revenue streams
A smart lock is not only going to cost you money. As mentioned before, you can monetize certain features for an additional revenue stream. For example, how about charging for each additional key for more users of the same unit. 24/7 access is another premium feature that you can offer to customers.
Self storage of the future
Automated storage & retrieval of storage containers are slowly making their way from large warehouses to self storage. In such facilities, a user’s storage unit is automatically picked and delivered to a loading bay. The customer can then access the unit, move items in or out and have them collected and returned to their storage location in the warehouse. It works similar to an automated parking system and has equal benefits - saving space and reduced costs. Manufacturers of these systems promise up to 50% savings in operating costs and 25% more net rentable area.
Managing your self storage with Storeganise
With self storage software your customers can book and manage storage automatically, anywhere and from any device. This drastically reduces the manpower needed on-site and even allows you to upgrade your facility to an unmanned site. Integrations with numerous systems including access control, accounting, payments and more further enhance your business while automating more processes.