“Self-storage operators are choosing call centers because of the vast amount of technology these vendors possess. Because equipment and technology upgrades are so pricy, many operators will find that call-center contracting offers a better fit financially,” Ochi says.
Since 2009, SKS has continued to grow an empire of facilities and managed properties. Still, Ochi considers SKS a boutique operation, perhaps a philosophy attributed to its success. By design, the individualized attention every caller and onsite visitor receives gives the company a unique competitive advantage.
As planned, the call center has allowed managers to focus on clients at the counter, develop new business and deal with more significant operational tasks. Upon launching the service, SKS began to receive a steady average of 500-plus account payments monthly via the call center. The latest modification included an interactive voice-response installation, a phone tool that routes payments and general inquiries to the call center and automatically sends sales opportunities to the managers. Today, SKS move-ins continue to rise while the call center processes more than 1,200 account payments monthly, provides numerous first-touch resolutions and closes a few after-hour rentals to boot—a plan well executed!
Secure Self-Storage employed its call center with a goal of providing each client with individualized attention, onsite and by phone. Drake, also a full-time CPA, now has more free time to focus on sales and operational duties while the call center covers the phones to make reservations, collect money and assist with general questions day and night. This small-business owner has also pulled off a perfect plan to focus on new-tenant rentals, save labor costs, lift the corporate image and showcase an impressive tradition of customer care.
Modern-Day Call Centers
Leading call-center models have been specialized with software applications designed specifically for the self-storage industry to perform as a remote sales and service assistant. Today’s technology positions agents with real-time unit inventory, pricing and facility information, allowing them to process real-time rentals, reservations and payments into the property-management system at each facility on the network.
“It is a big decision to let a third party get between you and your customers,” says Robert A. Chiti, president and CEO at OpenTech Alliance Inc., a Phoenix-based company that operates a call center and offers self-storage kiosks. “While facility managers are always the best bet in servicing tenants or sealing the deal on rental calls, there’s still a big need for backup. Custom call centers have been proven to make a significant impact on the financial performance of each and every self-storage operation.”Michael Sawyer is the director of marketing for OpenTech Alliance. The Phoenix-based company is a developer of self-service solutions for the self-storage industry, including self-service kiosks, Web and mobile rentals, and a self-storage call center. The company also offers a host of self-storage cloud services. For more information, call 602.749.9370; e-mail email@example.com; visit www.opentechalliance.com.