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How Technology Is Changing Customer Service in Self-Storage: Product Quality, Communication and Information

By Matthew Van Horn Comments
Continued from page 1

Information Storage: Stay Organized

Increased data storage also has a huge impact on customer service. On the surface, this sounds like an odd component, but think of it in terms of being better organized.

A self-storage operator often has things coming at him from all directions. For example, the customer in Unit 101 has an issue with his bill, a landscaping bill is due to be paid, a vendor is supposed to come by and give a bid to repair an AC unit, the facility gate has come off track, and you need to pick up milk on the way home. On top of this, a potential customer would like a tour of your facility. How do you handle it all? Technology can help.

First, start by installing Web-based management software. With online software, the accounting for Unit 101 be checked quickly and accurately and from any Internet-based device. An electronic calendar syncs to your smartphone, helping you keep track of due dates. It will also track vendors appointments and allow you to schedule facility tours. An online contact list will allow you to immediately contact the gate vendor for repairs.

Also consider using a cloud-based storage system for invoices. When that landscaping invoice comes, scan it into the system. It will never be lost and will always be accessible online.

Finally, download an online note-taking program such as Evernote, which can be accessible from your smartphone. Evernote is great for lists. That milk you need will be on your grocery list, so you don’t have to remember it.

Technology will never replace good customer service. No piece of technology can take the place of having great self-storage managers. Technology can't automatically keep a facility clean or bring a cup of coffee to a tenant on a cold day. What technology can do is supplement customer service so it can be provided in an accurate and timely manner. Take the time to streamline some of your operations with technology and it will only increase the level of customer service you provide.

Matthew Van Horn is vice president of Cutting Edge Self-Storage Management, which specializes in self-storage management, feasibility studies, consulting and joint ventures. Mr. Van Horn is well-known for finding hidden profit centers in self-storage operations. For a complimentary copy of “Hidden Profit Discovery Session,” e-mail . For more information, call 866.970.EDGE or visit . Follow the company on Twitter, @Cuttingedgemgt, and on Facebook at Cutting Edge Self-Storage Management.

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