ON THE RECORD

Ian Thomas Comments
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Today’s business challenges mean we can never sit still, not even for a second. We’ve all heard the expression: “Snooze—you lose.” It couldn’t be any truer than now. Customers demand more but seem to want to pay less. In truth, they don’t necessarily want to pay less—they’re just looking for a greater return on investments. They want value added to their business dollar. Self-storage is perfectly positioned to meet this need by augmenting services. In many cases, the potential already lies within your facility; you just have to take the challenge.

Old as the Hills

Records management is truly one of the world’s oldest occupations, older than literacy itself! Mankind has always kept some form of rudimentary records, whether it be on the sides of a cave or within a computer.

Customers may already store business records in your facility. The goal is to move them from basic storage-space fees to service costs associated with commercial records-storage management. You need to motivate them.

They’ll be buying better service. You’ll be reaping greater margins with a dedicated records-storage area. Service revenues can typically add 50 percent to your bottom line.

Interested in learning more now about how these specialized services can pad your bank account? I’ll break down the challenge into three parts.

1. Selling Records Management 

First, you don’t have to do anything different. Want to see if your customer base is interested? Simply start selling the service. Your sales pitch should stress the importance and advantages of records-storage management. It’s a specialized service allowing tenants to locate and retrieve records faster so they can make better business decisions. Effective management of record content transforms companies into knowledgeable enterprises. Informed organizations are agile, able to seize new business opportunities when they present themselves and prevent disasters before they happen. Who can argue with that?

Of course, you have to be prepared to back up your promises, so don’t oversell at first. Don’t be afraid to test the waters either. Existing customers may be entrenched in their ways, but new customers should be asked if they’re storing business records. If so, talk to them about your “specialized service,” rather than simple storage space.

2. Providing the Service 

What exactly is your “specialized service?” This is really up to you. The minimum is to provide storage space along with assisted services. For example, instead of customers coming to a facility and hunting for a business records, you can take and retrieve records for them, saving them time. You can take phone orders and have records available for pickup, or you can offer a delivery option.

In several articles by ISS contributor Cary McGovern, (www.fileman.com), the option of “Records Storage Lite” has been discussed. This is a great start because it simplifies service into manageable chunks and keeps administration and billing controllable.

3. Delivering on Your Promise 

Should you decide to expand and provide records-storage management services, be prepared to deliver optimum results. Creating a secure, custom records management area will not only show you’re serious about your business, but also provides storage capacities at lower costs.

Bear in mind that security covers more than door locks. Fire protection needs to be a consideration, and sprinkler systems are a necessity. The importance of secure software can’t be overemphasized either; it enables you to track customers’ records and offer more services. These aspects give clients a greater level of peace. Remember, you’re no longer just selling storage space, but a value-added service. And, as you know, peace of mind is priceless.

Using your current infrastructure, you can transition into records-storage management and start to realize the potential almost immediately. As your client base grows, add more specialized services.

Records storage is a necessity for so many businesses. Storage facilities have a great opportunity to step up services as well as profits. Are you up to the challenge? 

Ian Thomas is vice president of business development for O’Neil Software. For 25 years, O’Neil has provided software and hardware solutions for more than 850 records centers in more than 60 countries, ranging from startups to multinationals. O’Neil’s software solutions manage multiple types of data including traditional storage boxes, file folders, documents and tapes. O’Neil also provides barcode tracking, portable printers, laser scanners, wireless handhelds and web technology featuring RSMobile software. For more information, visit www.oneilsoft.com

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