5 New Self-Storage Automation Trends
Since recovering from the recession, self-storage companies have looked to expense management as a main driver of profitability. At the same time, finding ways to get occupancy rate and increasing market share have been a major industry challenge. As self-serve solutions have become increasingly effective, many operators have deployed automated tools to help cut operational costs, generate revenue and improve customer satisfaction.
Here are 5 automation trends that are now helping self-storage operators attain success.
The Convenience Craze
Easing the way of doing business with self-storage facilities became an industry-wide objective in 2013. As stress-free renting has become a hot button for new tenants, many operators are already implementing tools to conduct real-time transactions away from the counter, creating a competitive sales advantage. While management has remained core to the business, online unit rentals, interactive onsite kiosks and remote call centres are generating supplemental rentals and sustainable return on investment.
Many operators are doing what they can to conduct more business online by designing reservation features that help generate appointments and leads and promoting website coupons. Others are using self-storage directory websites and social media to market special offers.
While these are good steps to increase online presence, without software integration connecting to the available inventory, none of them allows customers to complete a rental while using the computer at home, tablet or mobile device. Facilities without a functional website will find it increasingly difficult to engage and serve more customers on the Web and mobile channels.
Using remote call centres is at an all-time high, where emerging trends include enhanced software upgrades and more innovative sales processes. One of this trend’s main drivers is the implementation of individualised sales strategies in 2013. Many of the new strategies were developed from collaborating with self-storage owners and managers.
Last year, storage facilities using a call centre identified remote integration as a key factor in generating unit rentals. This year, the number of facilities using such a service is expected to grow even more.
Automated stations are still growing in popularity because they’re able to serve customers onsite with around-the-clock rental and payment options. Kiosk technology developments include 2-way video conferencing and bilingual touch-screen prompts, providing customers with 24-hour access to a live self-storage specialist when they require assistance. Leveraging video to bring storage experts to remote locations is another step in the evolution of automation throughout the self-storage sector.