Somewhere along the way, the self-storage industry started to view security as a hardwired, inflexible system designed only to keep nefarious burglars at bay. Basic locks were put on units without much further thought, and access systems were designed to really only serve facility management. Why complicate things, right?
This outdated mindset hasn’t evolved, but the rest of the world sure did! Anyone who rents a storage unit today also uses online tools to perform everyday tasks like making medical appointments, booking a dog-walker or ordering a pizza. The list of things they can accomplish with technology is practically endless. There’s no need to call anyone and be put on hold, and no requirements to visit a store in person to do whatever they need to do.
This is where the storage industry can up its game. An access-control system that delights rather than frustrates your customers is important to creating and maintaining a happy client base. Here are three ways to upgrade your facility access and please tenants.
1. Bring the rental process online.
There are many self-storage operators who have a website but don’t provide a way for potential customers to rent a unit online. Others allow users to start the rental process but then leave them hanging with a screen message such as, “Call us to complete your rental.” Did you know it’s possible to streamline the whole rental process into a 90-second online activity? It’s true! By investing in a more sophisticated access-control system, this can become the reality for your business.
2. Eliminate gate codes.
No two customers are the same, yet they all tend to have one thing in common—they’re overwhelmingly busy. Whether they’ve got their van packed with kids on the way to soccer practice, in a hurry to get to a dinner date, or in the throes of a stressful moving weekend, tenants have tight schedules. The last thing they need is to remember a string of numbers just to get into your gate.
Consider implementing an access-control system that allows customers to enter the property without having to interact with an outdated keypad. It’s possible for them to pull up to the facility and tap a button in a phone app to open the gate. Not having to open the car door to reach the keypad, especially when it’s pouring rain? Well, that’s an added perk.
3. Make your units smart.
Traditional padlocks just don’t cut it anymore. Unfortunately, they’re still widely used at self-storage facilities. When an intruder easily cuts a lock, it can be a serious black eye for the business in terms of public image, not to mention the damage and loss incurred by the theft itself.
By making your facility “smart” with Bluetooth-enabled locks, you’ll not only give tenants the freedom to open their units through a mobile app, you’ll provide site managers the ability to monitor any unauthorized entry attempts at your store. Customers gain ease of entry, and your operation benefits from insight and security monitoring that was previously unavailable on the market.
Keeping these three suggestions in mind can help you as you navigate your storage business into a mindset that’s focused on making customers’ lives easier through technology. Going above and beyond when it comes to providing an exceptional experience will foster a culture of respect and happiness at your store.
Rachael Wheeler is a copywriter for Janus International Group, a global manufacturer of turnkey self-storage building and security solutions, including roll-up and swing doors, hallway systems, portable-storage solutions, door-replacement programs, and the SecurGuard mobile-entry system. To reach her, call 770.562.2850; visit www.janusintl.com.