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There’s a lot of fuss lately about how important online reviews are, but it makes sense. These posts shape the perception customers have of your self-storage facility, which means they can make or break your business. Read how you can cultivate and use them to your marketing advantage, plus how to respond appropriately.

Robert Priester

August 23, 2023

6 Min Read
Online Reviews in Self-Storage

Online reviews are so important to consumers today that they can make or break your self-storage business. That may sound dramatic, but it’s true.

First, your current and future tenants genuinely care about them. Not only do most shoppers highly regard reviews as a way to decide if it’s worth doing business with you, their reliance on other people’s opinions continues to grow. In fact, the number and quality of reviews your facility has will boost the chance that a prospect will choose you.

These posts also play an integral role in driving traffic to your website and helping you secure valuable rentals. How? They improve where you appear in Google searches, particularly with respect to local results, thereby increasing your online visibility.

Consider these statistics:

  • 93% of customers have made purchasing decisions based on online reviews. (Podium.com)

  • Only 2% of consumers have never read an online review. (BrightLocal)

  • 60% of consumers believe the number of reviews a business has is important. (Search Engine Journal)

  • 3.4 stars out of five is about as low a score as most customers will tolerate and still patronize a business. (Podium.com)

More Reasons Why

While these numbers illustrate the importance of online reviews, there are other reasons why you should go out of your way to cultivate more of them for our self-storage business. First, while a satisfied tenant may move out without ever thinking to leave a review (unless prompted), a customer who feels somehow wronged or otherwise unhappy with your service may be motivated to leave a bad review impulsively. This is problematic when you consider that Google favors business listings with more and better reviews.

No matter how good your customer service is, eventually, someone will be upset. But you can get ahead of potential damage to your business reputation by actively requesting strong reviews from loyal, happy tenants. We’ll get into how to do this in just a moment, but the key takeaway for now is that cultivating reviews helps ensure you receive more positive comments than negative.

The other key reason why you want online reviews is to improve your search results on Google. If you’ve ever listened to a seminar on SEO, been marketed to by an SEO company or read articles about how to get more visitors to your website, you’ve probably been sold on the idea that the No. 1 organic rank should be your ultimate goal. Well, that isn’t entirely true.

Yes, the first position in organic results is definitely the best … for organic results. After all, this nets around 30% to 39% of the clicks when looking at searches across different industries. But that isn’t the whole story. The truth is that 44% of clicks go to the Google 3-Pack, the three local Google Business Profile (GBP) listings that show up near the top of the search engine results page.

This is particularly important for self-storage operators because virtually all online searches for storage units are local. Thus, it’s essential to show up in the 3-pack. In fact, some searchers will use Google Maps directly to find a local or nearby business, which eliminates organic listings and relies only on GBP. Thus, if you’re in an area with a lot of competition, the more reviews you have and the better your review score is, the more likely you are to show up in that 3-pack.

Encourage Positive Comments

So, how do you earn more online reviews—good ones—for your self-storage business? Believe it or not, it’s as simple as asking for them and making the process as short and easy as possible. Here are four strategies:

Text your customers. Texting is one of the best ways to request reviews because messages received via a smartphone have an incredibly high open rate. When a customer opens a text, they’re already on a mobile device and should need only to tap a link and fill out your submission form.

Feature a review link on your website. If a customer is on your website, they’re already on an internet-connected device, so giving them a link with a few simple steps to submit a review will increase the likelihood that they will.

Ask for reviews during key communications. Whether via email, text, a phone conversation or in-person visit, don’t be shy about requesting reviews. If you’ve just helped a customer solve a problem, it’s a great time to ask! New-tenant move-in is another good opportunity. Remember, if you don’t ask, customers may never do it. Situations in which you’re already communicating are excellent times to make the appeal without seeming intrusive.

Post QR codes with your review link. Generate a QR code with your Google review link and make it readily accessible to tenants via signage and marketing collateral. Place it on your office door, in the hallways, and on any brochures or mail pieces you send out.

Respond to All Reviews

You should answer every online review your self-storage business receives, good or bad. First, customers are more likely to trust your business if you respond. Second, responding to negative comments helps mitigate some of the damage they do. Third, reviewers are able to update their post, so a stellar response from you can help reframe the conversation and make someone more likely to amend their original comment.

When reviews are positive, responding is pretty straightforward. Be gracious and polite. Thank the customer for the post as well as for doing business with you, and leave them with some encouragement to reach out if they ever need anything.

If a review is negative, it can be less obvious how to proceed. Still, it’s critical. In most situations, I recommend the following:

  • Respond as quickly as possible, but not until you understand the issue, even if takes some research.

  • Be professional, courteous, empathetic and helpful.

  • Do your best to be genuine.

  • Express regret and apologize, but don’t claim responsibility for anything for which you aren’t at fault.

  • Leave the customer your email or phone number, and invite them to discuss the issue with you offline.

Use Your Stellar Reviews

When your self-storage facility receives genuinely awesome online reviews—especially those with five stars—show them off! This is a great way to build trust with prospective tenants and bolster goodwill toward your business. Showcase them in multiple places, such as your facility website, any marketing or promotional emails you send out, and your social media platforms. You can even print them on interior signs or printed marketing materials such as direct-mail pieces, fliers, door hangers, etc.

By showing prospects all the wonderful things past and current self-storage tenants are saying about you, you’ll encourage others to do the same. No matter where you display reviews for people to see, the important thing is to generate as many as possible and respond to them. This will ultimately help you grow your business by generating leads and securing rentals.

Robert Priester is a content writer at StoragePug, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based software company that helps self-storage operators attract new leads, convert them to paying tenants and rent units online. He enjoys creative problem-solving and writing content that’s informative and interesting. For more information, call 865.240.0295.

About the Author(s)

Robert Priester

Content Writer, StoragePug

Robert Priester is a content writer at StoragePug, a Knoxville, Tennessee-based software company that helps self-storage operators attract new leads, convert them to paying tenants and rent units online. He enjoys creative problem-solving and writing content that’s informative and interesting. For more information, call 865.240.0295.

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