ISS Blog

Self-Served

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].

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