Larger facilities or multiple self-service facilities can be managed from a centralized location. An owner can arrange to have staff answer the phone in a central office, where managers will also process contracts, payments and direct customer-service issues. Some operators have created their own in-house call centers, even if that means only two or three people working the phones; others contract with established call centers to manage the telephone and the data-entry portion of the transactions.
In this way, owners can spread labor costs out over time and across several properties. But since one of the goals of remote management is to take labor cost to an absolute minimum, a call center is not always the best option for remote management. If the revenue at the property is sufficient, then the incremental cost of the phone agents can be very small and, hence, can make a lot of sense.
I realize you cannot eliminate labor altogether. Someone has to go to the site now and again to do cleaning, maintenance, lock checks, unit inventory and so on. But depending on the size of the facility and the traffic, this doesn’t have to be done very often.
The introduction of kiosks in self-storage has changed the game even more. Kiosks enable customers to complete transactions completely using self-service technology installed right at the facility.
The systems are easy to use, can take payments, print contracts, dispense locks and manage gate access—all done remotely and virtually with no labor. The kiosks even have animated characters on the screen to help walk customers through various transactions.
The kiosk concept marries the self-service concept with no-staff operations, using the most advanced tech, highest customer-touch applications. These are an attractive solution for self-storage owners and customers.