On most Sunday evenings, you’ll find me finishing up laundry, wrapping up the weekend cleaning and preparing for the long week ahead. But last night, everything was miraculously done, and I was parked in front of the TV by 9 p.m. (A rare occurrence, I assure you.)
Flipping through the channels, I stopped on one of my favorite movies, Sweet Home Alabama, with the charming Reese Witherspoon and dashing Josh Lucas. Reese’s character returns to her roots to strong-arm her one-time love into a divorce so she can once and for all shake the small-town dust off her Pradas. At one point, she walks into a bank and asks the teller, a high-school chum, the location of the bank’s ATM. The teller matter-of-factly informs her that the bank owner believes ATMs take away the personal interaction with customers, so they don’t have one.
Having recently wrapped up the Inside Self-Storage Annual Software & Technology Issue (May 2008), in which we have a story about kiosks, I couldn’t help but make a comparison to ATM machines. Now, whether you’re pro-kiosk or prefer face-to-face customer interaction, there’s no doubt technology is permeating every aspect of the self-storage industry, even in small towns.
Having grown up—and still living—in the suburbs of Phoenix, which has always topped fastest-growing city lists, I don’t have much experience with small towns. But you gotta admit that, sometimes, it’s nice to visit a place where not everyone knows your name. Drug dealers, terrorists and just plain baddies aside, I imagine there are quite a few people who find the convenience and anonymity of kiosks wonderful.
Case in point: an 80-year-old customer of Kentucky Avenue Self-Storage in Indianapolis, Ind. For years, the woman paid her bill in the office with a check. After the kiosk was installed, the manager showed her how to use it. Now she’s a kiosk regular.
Once the May issue hits subscriber mailboxes and the "Featured Articles" section of our website, I encourage you to read the article written by Russ Norris titled "Self-Service Kiosks: Increase revenue with this easy-to-use technology." Even if you’re not interested in installing kiosks, it’s important to learn about the different types of automation available in the industry.
Whether it’s pay-at-the-pump gas stations, self-serve checkouts at grocery stores or kiosks, there’s no doubt self-service automation is here to stay. Here are a few more articles about kiosks from the ISS archives:
If you’re already using kiosks, please tell us about your experiences. Simply click on the "Leave a Comment" link below or e-mail me directly at [email protected].