Update 9/9/14 – OpenTech Alliance has completed its acquisition of the TXTCollector SMS (short media messaging) solution from Hub Media Marketing and subsequently launched XpressCollect, a text-messaging cloud service that automates collections for self-storage operators, company officials said in a press release.
"Nobody likes making collection calls, and now managers don't have to,” said Chiti. “Our plan over the next few months is to invest heavily in development resources to integrate the texting technology into our Self-Storage Cloud platform and create several new features that will deliver even more value to self-storage managers.”
Chiti acknowledged the company’s kiosk products have not always made OpenTech a favorite among self-storage managers, “but we are hoping XpressCollect will reinforce our mission of helping them to be more productive and not trying to take their job," he said. To launch the product, the company is offering current customers a free XpressCollect trial until 2015.
"Tenants are not always in a place where they can talk by phone, especially during the awkward setting of a collection call,” said Jim Mooney, director of operations at Devon Self Storage, which has locations in 15 states and is using the new product. “The service lets the tenant control directly how and when the message interaction occurs without feeling hassled or judged during the process."
7/17/14 – OpenTech Alliance Inc., a Phoenix-based provider of self-serve kiosks, call-center services and other technology for self-storage businesses, has entered an agreement with Hub Media Marketing to acquire its TXTCollector SMS (short media messaging) solution, which automates the collection of past-due storage rent via text-messaging software. The transaction—OpenTech’s second acquisition in 2014—is expected to close by the end of the third quarter.
According to an OpenTech press release, SMS is at the forefront in technology when transmitting payment reminders, past-due notices and/or auction alerts to self-storage tenants. “With eight times the response rate of e-mail and a much less disruptive experience for the recipient than robo-calls, the collections service has proven to be one of the most reliable and productive methods of communication with tenants,” the release stated.
"Our strategy is to grow our company through internal development, acquisition and partnerships. TXTCollector has a rapidly growing user base because it does not require any manager intervention. It is easily customizable and, in many ways, performs better than a collections agency,” said Robert Chiti, OpenTech president and CEO. “We are excited to add it to our platform and integrate it with the rest of our services. We feel it will be a solid foundation from which to develop new SMS services outside of just collections for the self-storage industry."
Earlier this year, OpenTech acquired the call-center customer base previously serviced by online self-storage directory USStoragesearch.com (USSS). The companies entered an agreement in December and worked together to transition USSS customers to OpenTech's customized service, Live! XpressRes. OpenTech also opened a second call center this spring, in Dayton, Ohio, to better serve customers in the Eastern time zone.
Based in Vienna, Va., Hub Media Marketing (HMM) was formed in 2011 to address the online marketing needs of businesses that deliver products and services to local markets. The company’s central service, Hub Content Pages, has delivered thousands of page-one search rankings and increased in Web traffic to clients, according to HMM’s LinkedIn page. It also offers website design, development, hosting and support as well as social media and video-marketing solutions.
OpenTech provides several models of INSOMNIAC self-serve kiosks as well as a range of self-storage 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.