Reengineering the Self-Storage Rental Process With Technology

By Robert Chiti Comments
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Kiosks are impacting self-storage much in the same way the ATM has modernized banking. Meeting with your neighborhood storage manager has taken on a whole new meaning at properties worldwide where a kiosk and two-way computer monitor are used to conduct business via video conferencing.

Call centers hosted by third-party vendors who specialize in the self-storage industry provide facility owners with a range of phone services. They can field all facility calls or just rollover and/or after-hours calls. They also assist with rentals, reservations, payments, inquiries, access and added customer convenience day and night.

Other phone-based self-service channels function as a filter for simple, recurring tasks that would otherwise end up with the manager at the counter. A pay-by-phone solution effectively routes callers through a custom-designed call flow based on facility needs and allows them to make a payment or balance inquiry using interactive prompts on the touch-tone keypad of any mobile device. This automated channel reduces collections by offering tenants a 24/7 option to make payments.

Website rental applications are another process-changer that gives operators the ability rent units from their facility website. Cloud-based software enables customers to rent a unit, purchase merchandise, get an access code and complete their rental paperwork, all online. Ultimately, the added technology allows them to complete the rental process from their mobile device or desktop computer.

Online chat technology is another tool that can be added to your website. It offers a unique way to engage customers you would not otherwise be able to reach. Most effective when using website rental software, an chat application gives your Web visitors round-the-clock access to a centralized team of storage specialists.

Getting Results

Your investment in change will need to provide almost immediate results to make a good trade. Any of the technology tools mentioned above represent an effective touch point that’s designed to compel potential customers to rent from your facility rather than a competitor's. They'll allow a you to generate incremental rental revenue, reduce costs, and improve customer convenience with additional rental and payment options.

Now that you've revamped your facility marketing, it’s time to improve your rental process. With a clear strategy of giving consumers what they want, you can leverage current technology to make your business more convenient, drive more profit, and allow your property to prevail over the competition.

Robert A. Chiti is president and CEO of Phoenix-based OpenTech Alliance Inc., a provider of INSOMNIAC self-storage kiosks as well as rental solutions including the INSOMNIAC Live! Call Center, INSOMNIAC Online Web and mobile applications, LiveAgent! software products, and the INSOMNIAC ILock Security System, all available through the company's Self-Storage Cloud. For more information, e-mail rchiti@opentechalliance.com; visit www.opentechalliance.com.

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