Feeling the need to provide customers with greater convenience while reducing their own workload, resident owners Gene and Jane Mitchell of Store Oronogo Self Storage in Webb City, Mo., decided an infusion of business automation was in order. The couple installed an INSOMNIAC 900 self-serve kiosk from OpenTech Alliance Inc. that they say has helped them provide better customer service and strengthen their relationship with tenants.
"Developing personal relationships is our top philosophy, and the strength of that value is more important now than ever before,” says Jane Mitchell. “We go above and beyond to earn business, and at full capacity, we needed a better way to service new and existing clients, during and outside normal business hours."
Living onsite in their 70s, the Mitchells say the kiosk has brought peace of mind, and the couple no longer feels obligated to leave their grandchildren, cut dinner short or get dressed in the middle of the night to assist a customers. Instead, the kiosk can automatically handle rentals, payments, facility access and two-way video support during busy periods or off hours.
"We are very satisfied with the kiosk and what it's done,” says Gene Mitchell. “The investment does a lot for our small facility (200 units), and the technology makes our business more streamlined and easier to manage."
It may also have made Store Oronogo more appealing to investors and larger self-storage operators looking to expand their portfolios through acquisitions. The Mitchells say they are approached monthly with inquiries to buy their business; but with good cash flow on hand and renewed confidence in their operation, they are moving full steam ahead as owners and even planning to expand. “You can sell the eggs, but never sell the goose,” Gene asserts.
OpenTech President Robert A. Chiti believes the Mitchells are indicative of small storage operators who successfully build their businesses based on strong customer-service principles but can still benefit from adding automated services. "Independent owners like Gene and Jane are at full capacity because they invested in their business to give customers what they want, the ultimate convenience," he says.
OpenTech is a Phoenix-based provider of self-serve kiosks, call-center services and other technology solutions for the self-storage industry. The company is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.