By Mike Roberts, Executive VP of Sales and Operations
The average self-storage facility misses three to five calls per day. Seventy percent of calls to businesses are placed on hold. Sixty percent of those hang up. Up to 150 calls per month experience this type of call handling. “Why, as an owner/management company, would you let your marketing dollars and the leads that it generates, slip right through your hands and into your competitors’ hands?
When choosing the right centralized contact center there are certain characteristics you need.
Phone Coverage: The best tenant contact center will cover you at least 104 hours, 7 days a week. Don’t be fooled by the “24 hour” claims. A 24-hour facility is usually understaffed and not very effective. You need to look for companies with the right number of agents who are available to answer your calls.
Quality Assurance: Make sure the tenant contact center you choose digitally records all calls so that you may review for quality control. Ask how the agents are trained. Are they background checked and drug screened? What is the ratio of supervisors to agents? The best call centers have at least 12 years of experience in the industry.
Tenant Support: Positive customer support extends the average stay. Current industry average is 12 to 18 months. Some call centers will only take your prospect calls. A tenant contact center takes ALL of your calls and handles them with the utmost professionalism and respect.
Payment Processing: Pay-by-phone processing. With pay by-phone you can add a service fee that rolls to your bottom line. An automated attendant gives your tenants the added choice when it comes to making a payment and also is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Web Chat Tools for Your Website: Chat tools increase your website’s stickiness, and help to decrease your bounce rate. The longer your prospective tenant stays on your site the more likely they are to rent. This tool also brings a level of respect to your site because of your responsiveness. It inherently shows your current tenants and your prospects that you are serious about customer service and helps to gain their trust to do business with you.
Web–Based real time Dashboard: Measure what you manage. Stay on top of your rentals and phone activity. You need to look for tools that provide reports right from your smart phone that you can download to PDF and Excel formats. Ask questions of the partner you choose. Can you see calls by site? Can you see calls by prospect and non-prospect? Are you able to see the time of day or day of the week that your sites are missing the most calls?
Mobile app: Your tenants are using their mobile phones for everything! Make it easy for them to see their account, make payments, get their gate access code and upload inventory descriptions and photos.
You must have a comprehensive strategy for not only driving more reviews, but also managing negatives. The name of the game is volume of reviews and high ratings. You’ll never avoid getting negative reviews altogether but you can certainly minimize them through management, and bury them through volume.
Give Managers Back Some Time: How many things do your managers do each day that take them away from growing your business? Email, customer service, vendor meetings, accounting, and other duties keep your team from marketing your facility. Site management will spend 80% of their time on non-revenue generating activities. Six 15 to 30 minute interruptions per day will cost your mangers nine weeks a year in productivity. By partnering with a call center your manager can focus on the business in front of them.
Grow the Business: What are your plans for this year? Do you have a strategy in place to capture, generate, and retain your business? The three Ps of business – planning, procedures and policies – are the keys to growing your business. Plan: what are you doing this year? How will you grow sales? Procedures: How do we do things? Instruction manuals ensure everyone is on the same page. Policies: Clear guidelines prevent life in minutia.
Your site mangers look to you for support. But who do you look to? Having the right tenant contact center supporting your team will make all the world of difference in your net operating income (NOI).