Exposure and Visibility
Many self-storage operators are increasing their online advertising while decreasing their investment in traditional marketing methods. Like all other industries that serve customers in a dynamic and demanding market, self-storage should be accommodating to the ever-changing ways consumers search for services and products.
Management software should support real-time access to a facility’s call center and Internet marketing, reservations and payments. Experienced call-center agents with real-time information can take payments, rent units, give driving directions and sell specials to customers. Offering the ability for customers to make reservations online or via a call center keeps them from going to the competition while also providing superior customer service.
Flexibility and Scalability
Your self-storage management software should be flexible and scalable. Operators are constantly seeking ways to enhance the customer experience while boosting the bottom line. This is only possible if the software has that business mentality built in. Your management program should be structured in a way that provides the ability to develop and implement business rules at any time.
The software should also enable you to manage rental rates, gate and security access details, move-in and move-out rules, invoicing and billing details, and marketing-related information. This allows you to be more proactive than reactive to changing customer demand.
In addition, management software should be scalable to add additional revenue streams. These may include retail sales, mobile operations, additional buildings or units, tenant insurance, use of a call center or kiosk, online payments, and mailing services. Many operators who have multiple facilities desire software with the ability to manage and monitor their locations remotely. This allows them to view the daily details of their operations and remain influential in the business.
While many software programs offer an abundance of useful reports and functionality, you should research the programs in the market before jumping to a new platform. Determine your facility’s needs, and then talk to the various software vendors to uncover which program will meet your requirements. Your objective is to choose software that will help you reach and maintain your operational goals.
Sam Celaya is the director of the eMove Storage Affiliate Network and has worked within the self-storage industry for 17 years. eMove Inc. offers WebSelfStorage Management Software, a Web-based platform for the self-storage industry. For more information, call 866.693.6683; visit www.emove.com/storageaffiliate .