As the self-storage industry continues to expand, so does the need for operators to strategically grow and retain customers while maintaining a healthy budget. For those in the self-storage industry who are looking to build, retrofit or expand a facility, investing in new technology can dramatically improve their operation and ensure the best customer service. From instantaneous rental orders via a smartphone to smart-locking systems, technological advances enable self-storage owners and managers to attract new customers while maintaining, or even decreasing, operational costs over time.
Of course, with new technology entering the market each day, it can be difficult to decide where to invest first to ensure the quickest return on your investment. What follows are key technologies—and resulting benefits—you should consider. The best technologies to invest in are those that offer seamless solutions to improve customer service and access, facility operation and security.
- Kiosks: Today’s customer expects unit access 24/7/365. Onsite kiosks grant customers secure access to their unit at any time, and some allow customers to rent a new unit without personnel support. These hubs offer a full menu of options for customers, including signing a rental agreement, making a payment and even obtaining a lock for their space.
- Software applications: As customers become more tech-savvy and tech-dependent, they expect businesses to do the same. Offering an application for customers to rent and manage their storage unit from an electronic device can help generate new renter interest, while also helping current customers pay their bills more easily.
- Security systems: Security continues to be a top priority for renters. These systems, such as property gates, access keypads and security cameras, improve property safety and customer ease-of-mind when deciding where and when to rent. Making these security systems known can also assist with deterring potential crime.
- Electronic locks: Securing the property is imperative, but securing each individual unit offers an additional level of assurance for renters. Electronic-lock systems secure units at all times and only open them when a password is entered into the keypad or an app by an authorized user.
- Lighting: Not only does property illumination increase safety for renters and staff by improving visibility, using occupancy sensors as well as removing dark spots or shadowed areas enhances security camera visibility.
Multiple factors are considered when a customer is looking for self-storage space. Staying ahead of customers’ needs and investing in technological facility improvements can help your business beat the competition.
Terry Campbell is general manager for the self-storage lending division of Live Oak Bank, which offers financing for facility acquisitions, construction, expansion, refinancing or renovation. He has more than 22 years of self-storage industry experience. For more information, call 910.202.6933; e-mail [email protected]; visit www.liveoakbank.com/self-storage.