Self Storage Will Always Be a People Business
Automation vs Face-to-Face
Self-storage has always been and will remain a human-related business. Pinnacle Storage Property employees are prioritized to make sure they have a pleasant work environment and a team-oriented attitude. We also form solid associations with our vendors and look to provide our customers with honesty, value, and excellent customer service. While automation solves many self storage operational issues, Face-to-Face operations also has its pros.
Pinnacle Storage Property personnel are in the office full-time because digital technology cannot replace the personal interaction and rapport that comes with working face-to-face. The bond that forms in the working environment is missing when people don’t spend time together.
Self Storage Embraces Automation
Nowadays, automation is increasingly becoming the norm for businesses. Take self-storage, for example; the “smart” way to store your stuff has become a reality. Facilities are equipped with high-tech security systems that can track who is entering and leaving the premises. Customers can access their units through their mobile devices.
In order to meet customer expectations for a more comfortable and automated experience, storage facilities are introducing new services, such as automated account management and online rentals. What could be more convenient than being able to rent a storage unit or pay your bill while you’re still in your pajamas, drinking coffee, and munching on a bagel?
While these features are very appealing, it’s important to remember that self-storage is much more than just a collection of individual units. To put it differently, technology is becoming dominant in the industry at the management as well as the vendor level.
Self-storage is not about remote vs. manned facilities. It’s about people. We’re still in the people business, and people buy from people, not machines.
People Want to Feel Valued
When customers entrust you with their most prized items, a personal touch is necessary. Simply relying on automated systems to manage move-in and move-out procedures does not assure people that you’ll take good care of their possessions.
People want to know that your company values their needs. For example, when you go to a restaurant, how do you feel if you’re rushed or have been waiting for a long time?
Does that experience make you look forward to returning to that restaurant, or do you immediately look for another place? Most likely, you’d rather go to a nice Italian place where the staff treats you like you’re at home. Self-storage customers feel the same way.
Sure, they’re grateful for the convenience of an automated system, but they want to be sure that their possessions are safe and secure – that’s why they’re trusting you with them in the first place.
What if the website goes down when someone needs to pay an overdue bill or rent a property? What if an issue arises with the access control system and the gate gets stuck? Or if a person unfamiliar with computers wants a simple answer but can’t figure out the website. In these cases, they need the help of a live person who can provide the answers and resolve their problems.
Self Storage Managers Are the Face of Your Organization
Having a full-time on-site manager provides the advantage of upselling. A self-service kiosk or a website cannot explain the value of smart units, insurance, tenant protection, and moving supplies in a way that a personal conversation can.
Around eighty percent of potential customers will interact with you online, but thirty percent will come in person. These people may be new to the storage industry or have lots of queries. It is the duty of your manager to make them feel secure and positive that their belongings are in good hands.
With the current climate of information overload, it is not likely that prospective customers will take the time to read through a website. This is where your manager has the opportunity to make a great first impression. This initial positive experience will lead to more business because people will share it with their friends.
You Can’t Build a Relationship with a Dashboard
Unfortunately, automation is making it difficult to build relationships with vendors. Even though this is a tech-focused industry, there must be actual humans behind the technology. Apart from a few exceptions, people are removed from the equation.
Automation eliminates real-time conversations about strategies, performance, and objectives. Instead, we make decisions based on a dashboard. It’s hard to form a bond with a dashboard.
In this digital landscape of artificial intelligence and virtual interaction, nothing gets through to colleagues and customers alike as candidly as a personal connection. The human voice is powerful. It can be compelling, reassuring, and relevant. People make a difference and self-storage is still a people business.