By Rob Canales, VP Product Development, XPS Solutions
Today’s tenant is positioned, better than ever before, to self-direct the much of their self storage experience. The question/challenge storage facilities face, is whether or not our business is sufficiently equipped/partnered to properly deliver the tenant-centric experience that today’s self storage tenants expect.
The experience goes something like this: The prospective tenant starts by initiating an Internet search, identifying a few properties that are ideally located, scrutinizing review ratings, reading reviews, making some calls, stopping by their property of choice, and if all the stars have aligned, sign a rental agreement. That’s just to get out of the starting blocks and successfully Rent Up a tenant. How are you doing so far? Have these bases covered?
Let’s move forward. Now that you have a tenant, and have shelled out some hard-earned cash for that customer acquisition, the next challenge we face is how to Retain that new tenant – and hopefully extend their stay. This is where we show our true tenant-centric colors. Let’s start with support. Support takes on my different shapes and forms in today’s digital landscape. The goal should be to successfully connect with tenants despite all the various disparate digital channels at their fingertips.
So let’s tackle the most basic support channel – the phone call. If you’re like most facilities you probably have a minimal staff to assist your tenants both in-person and over the phone. The ease of Internet search, paired with cell phone popularity, has proven to be a huge driver of phone calls. No one wants to fill out a form these days, they want click to call. Are you able to catch all your calls? Do you know how many calls you get? How fast do you answer? How many do you miss? You might want to hire a call center to back you up, at a minimum to answer the ones you’re missing. Missing prospect calls is not conducive to your occupancy rate. How about phone calls asking for gate access codes? How many of those do you get? Let’s not forget about fielding payment calls. The last few days of the month and the first few days of the new month the phones tend to go nuts. Again, can’t afford to miss these, but how many tenants or phone calls can one property manager handle at a time? Answer – one. If you have an IVR (interactive voice response) you can send your tenants to this automated phone tree to make payments without lifting a finger – gotta have it! Partner with a call center that provides these services and you’ll be glad you did – this is absolutely essential.
Mobile app? Yes, please! What if you had a mobile app that allowed tenants to make payments and get their access codes? That would definitely help reduce calls, provide yet another payment method, and make the tenant experience a more favorable one. Fortunately such apps exist – check out mystorpal.com. If you’re a tenant and you have access to all these handy features (and more) at your fingertips, this makes for a very solid tenant-centric experience that leads to extending their stay because it becomes more hassle-free.
In conclusion, finding a vendor partner to successfully implement a thorough tenant-centric solution should be a top priority. Leverage a call center, reputation management, and a mobile app to provide your tenants with a better experience. Also at the same time, free-up your property manager to handle the tenants in front of them, and not miss calls. It’s all available, and affordable – you have to check out your options.