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Self-Serve

Amy Campbell

September 15, 2008

3 Min Read
Self-Serve

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 faves, 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. When 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 the bank owner believes ATMs take away the personal interaction with customers—so they don’t have one.
 
When an interesting tidbit about kiosks landed in my e-mail last week, I couldn’t help but make a comparison between ATM machines and kiosks.

According to the news release from OpenTech Alliance Inc.,  self-storage customers across the nation used the company’s INSOMINIAC kiosks to rent 3,925 storage units, make 31,984 payments and purchase 1,456 locks. The total sum: a whopping $3.7 million in self-service transactions.

Whether you’re pro-kiosk or prefer face-to-face customer interaction, you can’t argue with these numbers. There’s no doubt technology is permeating through every aspect of the self-storage industry, even in small towns.

Having grown up and still live 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. According to an article in the ISS May issue, the woman paid her bill in the office with a check for years. After the kiosk was installed, the manager showed her how to use it. Now she’s a kiosk regular.

Even if a kiosk wouldn’t suit your property, 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 self-storage kiosks, there’s no doubt self-service automation is here to stay. Here are a few more articles about kiosks from the ISS archives:
 
Remodeling Your Facility with Kiosks  
The 5 Ps of Self-Service Kiosks 
The Modern Storage Employee 
 
If you’re already using kiosks, please tell us about your experiences. Simply click on the leave comment button or e-mail me directly at [email protected].
 
 

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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