No matter what industry you work in, you must understand the customer experience starts online, not when a prospect walks through your door. The hard truth is companies without a Web presence don’t exist in the eyes of many consumers. For that reason, it’s imperative that your self-storage business offers a seamless, consistent online experience.
If you’re hesitant to invest time and money into your Web presence, remember that prospective customers spend just as much—if not more—time interacting with you online as they do at your facility. You wouldn’t want them to communicate with a lousy manager, so why would you be satisfied to have them interact with a bad website? Here are five online tools you can use to provide a better experience.
Tool 1: Volume Calculator
Moving can be an exciting time for your customers, but also an incredibly stressful one. As a self-storage operator, it’s up to you to make the process as straightforward as possible. Offering a volume calculator on your website allows prospects to quickly visualize how much stuff they have and how much room they’ll need to rent at your facility.
The process of filling out the calculator will already be a tremendous step in the customer’s journey, but it also gives your team an accurate assessment of the job. Ask for the user’s e-mail address so you can send him a copy of his results; and remember to include a “proceed to book” button so he can rent from you afterward.
Tool 2: Instant Quote
Offering an instant-quote tool on your website brings massive benefits to you and prospective customers. For you, a real-time quoting engine is more efficient and accurate than any manual process.
It also means you’re available for potential renters 24/7. No matter what time of day, once customers begin to consider self-storage, your quote tool can give them the chance to see what you offer and how you can help them. Hopefully, it will also allow them to immediately start the rental process. Finally, it also provides customers with instant gratification and initiates their relationship with you.
Tool 3: Downloadable Guides or Checklists
Offering downloadable guides or checklists on your website helps diminish the overwhelming feeling that’s often involved in a move. Even if you’re already known as the best storage company in town, providing prospects with something free and useful, such as a moving-day checklist, shows you go above and beyond to provide the best experience possible. They’ll remember that when a friend asks, “What self-storage company do you use?”
Tool 4: Customer Portal
Each business will have different offerings in its customer portal, but the general idea is to allow the user to see business records, transactions and requests. Think of it as his personalized dashboard.
Going paperless and offering documents online is a necessity these days. In addition to environmental reasons, customers expect businesses to be digitally savvy and efficient. They want to review records and communicate with your team from their smartphone screen. On the other side, make sure your staff has the resources to go digital.
Tool 5: Live Chat
Many e-commerce websites have added live-chat features to provide real-time answers to customers rather than risk them going elsewhere. Allowing them to chat with your help desk builds their confidence in your brand while improving your conversion rates. Live chat provides real-time convenience for them, and gives you a competitive advantage.
If you decide to implement this, make sure your chat agents have enough knowledge about your storage facility to answer queries and that they speak like humans. Robotic chat isn’t what customers want!
All these tools are geared toward providing a better customer experience, but they also give your storage business greater analytics. In the Internet age, everything you do as a company is trackable with data and reporting. You can use the wealth of information from these online tools to learn and grow your operation.
Chris Humphrey is the founder and general manager of Easytruck Storage & Moving, which operates more than 700 mobile-storage units in 30,000 square feet of air-conditioned warehouse space, with three locations in Dubai. Chris and his wife, Natalie, launched their professional moving company in 2009, branching into storage in 2011. They began offering mobile storage in 2013. For more information, visit www.easytruck.ae.