Self-Storage Call Centers: Weighing the Pros and Cons of In-House Vs. External
By Joel Little
Everyone seems to have a different opinion when it comes using a call center. Some love them, some dislike them very much. Some pay for the service while others try to reinvent the wheel and open their own call center.
Self-storage owners and managers who believe they should open their own in-house call center need to think about several facets of running one on a daily basis. When conducting your annual or quarterly budget meetings, you might find you have the budget to start your own call center, but you really need to think about the whole picture. There are several pros and cons to consider when using your own call center and you should consider each important part.
What are the pros to opening your own call center? First, you can absolutely control the sales process. The training would be totally in house and how the call center performs is squarely placed on your shoulders. Your IT department develops the software being used or finds something on the market to use instead. The costs would be under control because you know exactly where every dollar is going and you can cut here and there to make the budget work.
One of the most important pros is you’re in charge of hiring everyone in the call center. You’re the one who knows what you’re looking for so you’ll, of course, select the best people as well as the best person to run the show. With these kind of pros, why even look at the cons?
We should consider the cons because if you look at the paragraph above, everything that’s a pro could very well be a con. Not every business wants to invest the amount of time and effort it takes to manage a call center. Trying to figure out the costs, the hiring and firing, the performance management, finding the right software, and also dealing with the ups and downs of call volume could be hard for anyone’s shoulders to bear.
For these reasons, among others, many storage owners decide it would be in their best interest to employ an outside call center that has mastered the craft to handle their call flow. You can set up a point of contact, view reports, listen to calls, and make inquires about your business. Most owners are very happy with the amount of leads and reservations that come from an outside call center and feel they’ve made a good choice. It’s a lot easier letting someone else manage a call center while you focus on the bigger picture for your company.
Every storage owner will at some point consider using a call center—whether internal or external. Truly sit down and consider each facet of the decision before you decide to go either way. Ultimately, it’s your business and you will decide what’s best for its long-term success. Having a call center as part of your sales team is always a great decision. Just consider the above pros and cons carefully to determine which avenue is best for your self-storage business.
Joel Little is the head sales coach at PhoneSmart, a self-storage call center and marketing firm. He's been in the self-storage industry for more than five years, and has been in retail management for more than a decade. He strives daily to help improve the self-storage industry one call at a time, gaining insight from each customer.