A Case for Convenience: Customer Service Innovation in Self Storage

Convenience may be the key to self storage customer service success and savings

 

Estimated time to read: 4 min

The Digital Era has afforded us many modern luxuries. Now, most of us don’t think twice about scanning a QR code at a restaurant, chatting with a bot for customer service, or ordering our groceries online. Many of us have even helped the next generation learn the ropes, assisting with remote, online learning from the living room.

This technology has changed our lives for the better, introducing a new level of convenience that simply wasn’t there before. Now, it’s also changing the way we work.

If you manage a self storage facility, it’s time to consider how digital tech could optimize your workplace, improve employee morale, and completely transform the customer experience. In this realm, full-service kiosks are becoming rapidly more popular, allowing operators to relieve common pain points while improving their overall level of service and support.

Modern kiosks offer tools to facilitate client transactions, simplify operations, alleviate administrative burdens, and cut costs. Is it time to install them throughout your facilities?

Let’s take a look at what today’s self storage customers expect, and how you can leverage innovative technology to give them the convenience they crave.

Why Virtual Customer Service in Self Storage?

In years past, when your clients needed to rent a unit or make a payment, they’d walk into your office and speak to a support representative.

While this is still a viable option now, today’s self storage managers are already stretched thin, and not always in the office. To add to that, it’s become even more difficult to keep facilities fully staffed, and across the board, staffing costs are on the rise.

With fewer people onsite, each member of your team must perform multiple roles. There might not always be someone with the available time and bandwidth to field a customer request. These staffing challenges place a strain on your teams to support customers during normal business hours. Plus, if you’re only open for business when your office is staffed, you may be missing out on critical revenue. This is where self storage kiosks come in.Secrets to self storage kiosk success proven by operators over 20 years

When someone enters your facility, they can use the kiosks to access answers to basic questions and perform transactions, such as paying a bill. They can even speak to a storage expert via real-time video chat to walk through the entire rental process. You can also place your kiosk in a secure location where it’s accessible 24/7, so customers can rent or pay even when your office doors are closed. This one machine does the work of an entire team of employees and frees up your critical staff members to focus on more value-driven tasks.

To learn more about how digital kiosks work and get proven practices to help you add self-service to your self storage business, we encourage you to check out our updated Kiosk Success Guide.

The Expectation of Convenience: Catering to Self Storage Tenant Demands

Aside from making operations more efficient, kiosks also serve another important purpose: They cater to the modern customer’s preferences, demands and expectations.

We’ve all grown accustomed to getting nearly everything we need with the push of a button or the swipe of a screen. We order sofas from our smartphones in seconds and use the same device to send food to our doorsteps in minutes.

Thus, lines have grown increasingly frustrating. Put simply, no one likes to wait. Expecting your customers to line up and stand patiently or wait on hold on the phone while one manager assists each person at a time is a pipe dream. Even worse, expecting someone to drive back to your facility if you were closed. Your customers expect a seamless, streamlined experience with every business they interface with, and that includes your self storage facility. When a customer needs storage, they typically need it now.

Unfortunately, they’re often met with scenarios that fail to live up to those expectations.

In a study by Harvard Business Review, researchers found that 81% of all customers will attempt to self-serve themselves before reaching out to a live representative. Another report cites that 73% of consumers want self-service technology and prefer to use these systems over engaging with associates.

Your customers don’t just want easier, faster service. They also want service that accommodates their tech-heavy lifestyle, with digital payment methods and options for self-service.

By installing a kiosk at your self storage facility, you not only meet this need for autonomous support. You also provide customers with a bevy of benefits they can’t always get from an in-person manager, such as:

Benefits of Self-Service Kiosks for Self Storage Managers

When you put the customer experience front and center, you not only make life easier for your customers. You also remove a great deal of stress from your facility managers.

Instead of positioning kiosks as their personal replacements, it’s important to view them instead as invaluable assistants. These systems will not replace all of the work that an in-house staff member must perform on a daily basis. Rather, they will simply reduce the amount of rote, administrative work they must perform. While customer support is critical to the success of any team, it can also take team members away from other essential tasks, which stretches their time and morale to the limit.

With a kiosk on-site, managers can become more productive and efficient. They’ll also be able to focus on more profitable tasks, such as:

  • Marketing the self storage facility
  • Improving the condition of the facility
  • Assisting new, prospective tenants

 

For some self storage companies, kiosks alone aren’t enough to offset the costs or challenges associated with maintaining an in-house customer service team. In these cases, remote management solutions offer an additional option to enhance your operation.

Companies can choose to hire fully remote frontline teams to handle all of their support requests or they can use these experts to supplement their in-house employees. In either case, this can lead to many benefits, such as:

  • Lower personnel costs
  • Reduced turnover
  • Increased productivity
  • Contactless, flexible service offerings

Enhance the Self Storage Customer Experience With Digital Kiosks

Companies that meet and exceed customer expectations are destined to outperform and out-last their competitors. The customer experience has already turned digital. Is your self storage facility ready to keep pace?

Kiosks can transform your facility and revolutionize your approach to customer service. However, we understand that for many facilities, this technology may seem new and intimidating. It not only changes the status quo but will require additional training as your team learns to navigate the new tools.

We get it, and we’re here to help. We’ve created a free, seven-part course that dives into best practices for optimizing your self storage business with virtual service tools. We’ve also developed a comprehensive webinar that covers the main highlights so you start learning right away!

Get best practices for self storage kiosk use

When you’re ready to take the next step, you can enroll in the course here. You can also view and download the webinar here.

 

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
3 Mile Storage Management Saves with Remote Managers

3 Mile Storage Management Saves $4K Per Month in Payroll with Remote Manager

OpenTech Alliance expanded its partnership with 3 Mile Storage Management to help the company save an average of $4,000 per month in payroll costs with Remote Manager. In July 2022, after trying for over a year to manage customer calls internally, 3 Mile transitioned all managed sites to Remote Manager to save on customer service costs, improve the tenant experience and free internal staff to focus on other revenue-driving activities.

Read More »

OpenTech Integrates INSOMNIAC® CIA Access Control with Syrasoft Self Storage Software

OpenTech Alliance announced a new integration with Syrasoft Self Storage Software, a leading provider of self storage management software. The integration connects Syrasoft to INSOMNIAC CIA cloud-based access control to enable unique features such as such as Text Me My Code or automated links to make a payment on delinquent accounts. The integration makes it easier for operators to manage facility access through real-time account updates.

Read More »
REIT Chooses CIA Access Control for all managed brands

National Storage Affiliates Upgrades 600+ Facilities to INSOMNIAC® CIA Access Control

OpenTech Alliance announced self-managed REIT National Storage Affiliates (NSA) has chosen INSOMNIAC CIA as the preferred access control solution for their portfolio across all corporate managed brands. New systems are already in place at 240+ iStorage and SecurCare Self Storage properties, with upgrades slated for an additional 350+ properties, including Northwest Self Storage, in 2023.

Read More »