Remote working isn’t going anywhere. How can self storage managers effectively oversee their facilities from afar?
Entering 2022, we can reflect on how the pandemic has changed working conditions all over the world and throughout many different sectors. With so many of us working from home since the pandemic began, as well as the fluctuations that have happened since, you might wonder whether it’s worth working from home entirely, even after the pandemic ends. When considering that, you’ll have to think about what it takes to remotely manage a self-storage facility from home, including questions such as whether it’s feasible, what it entails, what technology needs to be put in place for it to be possible, among others.
In FEDESSA’s annual 2021 report, 7% of self-storage facilities were entirely unmanned, and it seems like this trend will continue in 2022. 71% of workers reported moving to work from home since the pandemic, according to a study by the Pew Research Centre, and more than half would choose to continue working from home if given the choice. Given these statistics, it would seem as if working from home is here to stay, and with that in mind, we’ll consider how you can effectively manage your self storage facility remotely.
Remote management is essentially having a system in place at your facility which allows you to manage all aspects of your business from a remote location. While more and more things are being shifted online, remote management means you also employ a large variety of technological tools to help you deliver the service that your customers expect from a normal, physical store. In trying to achieve this, you’ll have to consider various stages of the customer experience and tailor your technological ecosystem to suit their needs. Both pre-rental and onsite visitation experiences will be vital to allowing your facility to function while you manage it remotely.
As most businesses have transitioned to online for marketing and advertising anyway, you shouldn’t need to adjust much in terms of your customers pre-rental experience being online. There are still some best practices though. Making sure all your information on Google and your social media are accurate. This means having the right phone number, email, physical address all in one place, and all up to date. You also have to make sure your points of contact are responsive, otherwise potential contacts will be turned off and look towards other facilities. A final point is to have an effective marketing campaign and SEO strategy. This won’t be covered in depth here, but all of this is to say that remote management likely incorporates methods you probably already employ.
When it comes to onsite visitations, it is arguably the hardest part of remote management. After successfully landing a customer, you’ll have to make sure everything is set for them to visit their unit and finalise their lease. Communication is key here, the customer needs to know how their visit will go, and what to expect when they get there. Brief them on how they can access their unit, how you will finalise the lease, where to pick up a lock if needed etc. Of course, using further technology here can help. Two-way video feeds, kiosks, and electronic locks all help with communication and the process. Using these will help you give the customer a more traditional experience, as if there were a physical employee there. Having these technologies in place will also be essential for your continuing remote management strategy as customers can enter and access their unit in their own time.
The biggest benefit on your end is added flexibility to both your work arrangements as a manager to your employees. With the right technology, you’ll be able to oversee and perform the key functions that your customers expect, but all through the internet and at a remote location. Getting integrated access control and property management software will only grant you more oversight to ensure your facility is running efficiently. A second benefit lies for the customer. With consumer trends increasingly being drawn towards technological solutions and less physical interaction, pivoting to a remote management style can be appealing to a certain demographic, especially the younger generations.
The primary challenge you’ll face when moving towards a remote management system is also the most obvious. The more you incorporate elements that are not directly in your control, i.e. employing technologies that aren’t created by yourself, the more it opens up to the opportunity of malfunction and other surprises that can affect your service. Customer service then becomes a major point of focus. Ensure that you have solutions to when your automated solutions fall short, whether that be a call centre, rapid response through video, or even a member of staff getting onsite quickly. Managing remotely will also require a high level of web connection. You’ll need high quality internet to run your cloud-based softwares, and to provide the quality customer service that might be required.
Remote working is not going away soon, and it might be favourable for you to consider managing your self-storage facility remotely. Thankfully, the industry has adapted well to recent challenges, and you are able to take advantage of various technological solutions to help you. Overall, it’s a beneficial method of managing your facility, even if it has certain risks.
With Storeganise, you can manage your business from anywhere. Our modern, super intuitive software works on any device, enabling you and your team to monitor and manage your business remotely.
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