Technology has become a cornerstone for business success. Its integration into self-storage operation is now a key competitive advantage that can unlock critical benefits for facility owners, staff and customers. It creates opportunities to increase revenue, save time and money, enhance the customer experience, and reduce risk.
To effectively implement any new technology at your self-storage facility, even if you think it’s simple, it’s critical to ensure your team is comfortable and proficient in using it. From management software and security components to revenue-management tools and reporting platforms, everyone must get on board. More than that, they must believe in its ability to streamline operation and provide superior service, or they won’t be committed to its use.
Ultimately, you need to encourage user adoption. This can be achieved through training, incentives, documentation, standardization, leadership engagement, resistance response, discipline and—perhaps most important—a willingness to change. The following will help you ensure your team can succeed in technology use.
Successful technology implementation begins with user adoption. You must answer the question, “What's in it for me?” Self-storage staff and even customers must understand how the tools you’ve introduced benefit them personally, or they’ll be more reluctant to learn them. Clearly communicate the advantages. When they understand that it makes their lives and jobs easier, they’ll be more likely to embrace it.
Effective training is essential to help staff become proficient in technology use. This can include hands-on learning, online courses and access to comprehensive resources. Implement one-to-many sessions, which is efficient and cost-effective. See what your vendors have to offer and search online for supplemental options when necessary. Training programs should be designed to ensure your team is well-versed in the tools used at your facilities.
Incentives can be a powerful motivator for staff to learn and use technology. Recognizing and rewarding employees who meet adoption goals, such as mastering new software, can boost engagement and enthusiasm.
Documentation and standardization also play a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth transition. Thoroughly detailing the new processes and procedures associated with technology adoption is paramount. Clear, accessible instructions not only facilitate understanding but serve as an indispensable reference point for all team members. Create consistency by establishing protocols. This uniformity streamlines technology management and guarantees that all staff adhere to best practices.
Finally, understand the importance of leadership engagement. It isn’t enough to plug in a new piece of equipment or introduce a new software solution and hope for the best. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Lead by example.” Everyone in your organization, from the top down, must wholeheartedly commit to the transition and learn new tools. This will reinforce a company-wide commitment to a new way of doing business.
Even with all this knowledge and encouragement, your self-storage staff may still be reticent about using technology. To overcome this, start by simplifying the process. Emphasize that learning technology isn’t as complex as it may seem. In addition to whatever training you provide, encourage a growth mindset that embraces the learning process.
Next, identify the real challenges staff members face when learning technology and provide them with the necessary resources and support to overcome them. For example, a password manager can simplify the login process and reduce frustration.
Finally, standardize any platform alerts and reports so they’re automatically sent to the necessary users. This proactive approach enhances the employee experience, making it easier for staff to serve customers effectively. See if your vendor offers standard reports you can leverage.
Implementing technology in a self-storage business often demands significant process changes and a disciplined approach. One of the biggest considerations is how technology might change your operational model. In other words, how will it alter the way tenants interact with your business or your employees carry out their day-to-day duties? Are there other changes you need to make to your properties or procedures to support that solution?
To succeed in self-storage technology use, you must recognize that it’s constantly evolving. Proactively seek opportunities to enhance your processes and stay current with the latest advancements. Set yourself up for success by choosing solutions that are flexible, easily integrate with other systems and designed to scale with your operation. This approach will ensure market competitiveness and prepare your operation to adapt to future changes.
Incorporating technology into a self-storage business can lead to increased revenue, time and cost savings, an enhanced customer experience, and reduced risk. To achieve these benefits, it’s essential to focus on user adoption, effective training and strategies to overcome resistance to change. Discipline and a willingness to update your operational processes are equally vital to ensure technology becomes an integral, sustainable part of your business. Do these things, and you can harness the power of technology to thrive in today's competitive market.
Kimberly Robinson is creative content manager for OpenTech Alliance Inc., a Phoenix-based provider of technology products and services including kiosks, a call center and access-control solutions. With more than 12 years of experience in marketing and communications and two in the self-storage industry, Kimberly offers design, copywriting and content-marketing expertise. To reach her, call 602.749.9370.