By Jim DiNardo
Your management software needs to meet the specific needs of your self-storage operation, but in today’s competitive environment, your entire business must be customer-focused, including your software. Whether you own one store or 100, all of your operations must work toward the same goal: to serve as many customers as possible and maximize the value of every customer relationship.
You may not think customers care about the management software you use. After all, it functions in the background, and your employees are the only ones really using it. Well, that’s not the case.
Customers may not know exactly what you’re doing behind the counter, but think about your own experiences when out shopping or doing business with a company over the phone or online. Don’t you recognize almost immediately which ones seem to have smooth, efficient operating procedures and instant, accurate information at their fingertips? Aren’t you frustrated when an agent can’t answer your questions promptly or accurately because he’s “waiting for the computer” or “needs to get back to you”? Will you even do business with a company that’s not online?
What makes self-storage any different? Nothing! With this in mind, here are four important considerations when addressing your management-software needs and the effectiveness of the program you’re using or evaluating for purchase.
Ease of Use
Regardless how sophisticated your management software is, it must be easy to use as a point-of-sale tool. If renting a unit or selling a box with a roll of tape is more complicated than buying a house, customers aren’t going to enjoy doing business with you. Sure, it’s nice that your computer program will allow you to handle move-in and move-out transactions and calculate the money due, but if it takes a long time to get through all the screens, bogs down the transaction and frustrates your employees, customers will be aggravated, too.
Remember, customers must enjoy doing business with you if you want them to stay a long time, rent with you again and tell their friends about you. Make sure your software is easy to use, processes transactions efficiently, and generates comprehensive receipts, invoices and notices.