Oh, no! Your self-storage management software is doing something wonky, and it’s throwing your whole morning off-track. The phone is ringing, you have customers in the office, and you haven’t even completed your facility walk-through. Instead, you’re stuck on the computer, tasks are piling up, and you’re starting to panic. In the middle of all the chaos, you think how great it would be if you had a fairy godmother who could wave her magic wand and just fix it!
Thankfully, there are plenty of industry resources to help you get back on track. Technical support comes in many forms, from self-help options to vendor-based assistance. The next time you have a software glitch, don’t lose your cool. Instead, follow this advice and find a solution.
Set Up for Success
Before we get into where and how to find technical support for your self-storage software, let’s discuss a few ways to prevent problems from ever occurring. First, you need to choose a program that’s right for your facility. It’s vital to ensure it fits your business needs, so ask potential providers lots of questions before you commit to a purchase.
Next, make sure the software is set up for your business. No two owners run their facility the same way. You program should reflect your individual decisions, not the default settings. Communication during setup allows the vendor to better assist you in personalizing your application.
Trouble can be averted by simply discussing your requirements with your setup and support teams. If a function is critical to day-to-day operations, let them know. Discussing your priorities in the beginning means you won’t be surprised later by features that fall short of your expectations. Be up front about your needs and wishes, and you’ll get better customer support and software that fits.
When You Need Help
Software problems happen, and they aren’t always due to a malfunction. Sometimes it’s simple user ignorance or error. Thankfully, all providers offer resources to support their products. These might be accessible through the program itself (look for a “Help” link or question-mark icon in the navigation), or you might find them online. When you’re in a jam, you can often find easy-to-follow videos, blog posts and how-to articles that provide quick answers to simple questions. They can explain how change a setting, clarify how a feature works, or provide verification of how to accomplish a specific task. These should be your first go-to when troubleshooting.
However, there’ll be times when you need to reach out to your vendor’s tech-support team for assistance. For example, you might experience trouble with your gate integration, payment portal or website. Any loss of functionality might be the result of back-end settings you won’t know how to fix. You may not even have access to these tools. Fortunately, most providers have a dedicated support team to answer questions and resolve issues.
Each self-storage software company handles customer inquiries differently. Many use email and phone, but some also offer live chat or an online portal where you can submit a help ticket. If you can’t immediately get through by phone, some offer a callback system that places you in a queue and triggers an agent to respond when it’s your turn.
When choosing a program, think about your own communication style. Do you hate waiting on hold? Then consider a company with email and chat support. Are you more of a hands-on learner who benefits from one-on-one training? You might do better with phone support, so you can ask questions and get answers without the delay back-and-forth email. Whatever company you choose, its customer support should be compatible with your needs.
When you purchase your self-storage software, know the level and types of support your vendor offers and the days and times it’s available. Ask if there’s a cost to use them. Keep the phone number, email, website and other details in an easy-to-access location.
Before reaching out to technical support, gather all the necessary details of the software issue you’re experiencing, so you can give your provider a clear picture of what’s happening. Know the date and time the problem started (approximately if not specifically). Take screenshots of any error messages you receive. If you need to access an account, know the username and password. If your inquiry involves a tenant, know their name and unit number.
Being prepared can save time and streamline the vendor’s response. If you can provide a clear explanation of what you need, the agent will have a head start in helping you resolve your issue.
The Next Time
The goal of your software-support team will always be to find a solution to your problem, but the company should also teach you how to prevent future occurrences. You should never feel like an agent is making business decisions for you. Don’t ever just follow their instructions and close the communication without understanding how a setting was adjusted or the problem fixed.
The occasional problem will arise with your self-storage management software. You’ll face a situation in which you need a second set of eyes or helping hand to get your business up and running again. But with the many resources available, you can get the help you need. Remember, don’t panic! Take a deep breath and find a solution.
Kaitlin Nebeker is a support-team lead at Easy Storage Solutions, a provider of self-storage software and other technology. For more than three years, she’s helped facility operators successfully use their management programs. For more information, call 435.656.1990 or email [email protected].