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Solving Your Self-Storage Management Software Snafus

By Jonathan Fesmire Comments

Today’s self-storage management software makes it easier than ever to run a facility. We now have applications that allow us to document property and lock checks on our tablets and smartphones, manage customer accounts and payments, and legally conduct auctions. Our programs work in tandem with customer communication, security features and other add-ons, such as self-service kiosks, to make life easier for facility operators.

All these solutions work great—once you know how to use them. Sometimes you’re going to need a little help. That’s when good planning and technical support are critical.

Getting Trained

Purchasing a management software for your storage business starts with comparing options and talking to sales representatives at different companies. Once you’ve chosen a package that’s right for you, what’s next?

That depends in part on how the software works. You may need to install applications on your work tablets and computers, or you may just have to log into a website. A representative may come out to set up the software for you, or you may receive instructions.

Whatever the case, before you buy, talk to your vendor about training. It’s fine to read manuals and do online tutorials, but having someone from the company teach a class—onsite or off—for you and your employees is a powerful way to get everyone up to speed. An orientation will teach you how to navigate the software and use its major functions, and where to get help when you’re stuck.

Finding Answers

Most of the time, you shouldn’t need to contact your software provider. When you want to know how to do a specific function, such as sort tenants by payment due dates, first check your self-help resources. These include the software manual, the company’s online FAQs (frequently asked questions) and user forums. There’s a good chance you’ll find the answer you need in one of these places.

Many software companies also offer free online training videos. Set aside time for employees to view these and increase their expertise. Even if the company doesn’t provide its own videos, you may still be able to find some online created by other users of the software. Did you know 60 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute? It’s not all cats and comedy. You can learn a lot of practical stuff.

Getting Updates

Competitive software companies constantly work to improve their applications. They patch security holes, make usability improvements, add new functionality and more. If you’re using a cloud-based solution, most of these improvements will appear on the back end. In other words, the company will update the software on its own servers, and you’ll immediately have access to the upgrades.

However, some updates might be on the front end, meaning on your company’s computers. Check for updates periodically, and set up your system to automatically download and install them whenever possible. If you have an in-house information-technology manager, let him decide the best way to handle this important task.

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