Coronavirus forced storage businesses to pivot to contactless, will it still be viable in a post-pandemic world?
Contactless self-storage features come in many shapes and forms, ranging from kiosks and valet services, to online payment solutions and integrated site systems. While it was already a growing trend before the global pandemic, the coronavirus outbreak only accelerated the implementation of incorporating contactless services within self-storage businesses. Even without a global health issue, consumers are more and more accustomed to extreme convenience and ease. This means doing as little as they need while getting the same service given to them. That said, there are still questions as to whether contactless only boomed during the pandemic, or if it’s here to stay. So let’s look into contactless options; whether they’re viable in a post-pandemic environment, and how to implement them in different sectors of your business.
Contactless services in a post-pandemic storage world
Obviously, the whole world was rocked in 2020, but as the finishing line draws ever nearer, businesses will again have to reconsider their operations, practices, and plans, ensuring that they are still suitable for their consumers when everything returns to any semblance of normal. When considering whether contactless storage services are here to stay, we can turn to some data, drawn from Sparefoot.
They introduced a ‘contactless’ badge that businesses could place on their listings, needing to offer contactless solutions in rentals, move-ins, and payments to earn the distinction. After introducing this feature, over half of the businesses earned the designation, showing that businesses recognised the potential of offering contactless services long-term. Their data also showed that customers are preferring to do most of their dealings with self storage companies exclusively online. Demand for generic keywords on search engines such as “storage near me” increases year after year, suggesting customers much prefer seeking out services online rather than through phone or physically going to a facility.
Furthermore, Sparefoot.com’s visitors have increased year after year, and reservations made through their followed that increase. Customers aren’t just looking for services online but also doing as much of their business online. All this suggests that contactless services won’t be going anywhere, as customers continue to look for and reserve units online as well. Not only do consumers expect a more convenient and streamlined experience anyway, but an increased awareness of hygiene and cleanliness as a result of the pandemic will likely shift them more towards digital solutions.
Implementing contactless solutions
Implementing contactless solutions for reservations and rentals is actually a lot easier than you might imagine, and it’s beneficial for both you and the customer. You’ll be able to offer a more seamless, and convenient service while reducing the time and cost needed to set up and follow up on reservations.
Contactless rental and reservation options can entail multiple different things. Optimising your web presence is key. The buyer journey starts long before your customer decides to go with your services. Make sure your webpages are search engine optimised for generic keywords, drawing more traffic (maybe start a self storage blog). Also make special attention to crafting an easy-to-follow customer journey on your website. When your customers do finally decide to take on your services, having the right technology will let them pick a unit, get a quote, and sign a lease. All without having to do it face-to-face.
Alternatively, kiosks are also a popular option for contactless rental solutions. Either way, having them both tied to a management software will allow you to pull rental rates, unit availability, and other important data at a moment’s notice.
With reservations and rentals out of the way, contactless payments are another simple way to improve your customer retention and create a cohesive, contactless self storage service. Technology that integrates autopay is ideal for customers who prefer to pay online, but you should also consider being flexible by allowing them to pay with cash. This might take the form of an online payment system or paying at a kiosk that accepts all payment types. You should also ensure that your chosen payment solution can integrate with your management software. This allows you to check payments in real-time, as well as have rent due dates in a single place, with some also letting you send notifications to past-due tenants.
Contactless solutions and automation often go hand in hand, and giving your customers’ site access without needing face-to-face interaction is an increasingly popular service. Going digital and integrating the internet of things (IoT) into your facility can make this much easier. Many self storage software providers allow for randomly generated access codes for tenants, while also letting you have greater control in monitoring site behavior. Look for solutions that offer real-time alerts that let you set custom environments that can include thermostats and various sensors to give you better access to your site for both you and your customers.
Contactless solutions are easily integrated into your current self storage model, and provide your business with a variety of benefits. As we move into a post-pandemic world, contactless services are still here to stay. Hopefully, this has given you some insight into how to implement them in your business.
Managing your self storage with Storeganise
Our software automates every aspect of your self storage service, this includes contactless online bookings and tenant management. Have a look at the list of features that covers all of the mentioned contactless features. Bonus tip: booking a customised demo gets you a free account and gives you a firsthand glimpse of superior self storage management.
Related Article: How to Easily Set Up Automated Billing