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Customer service isn’t enough anymore.
Think about the companies that have taken over in the last decade - Amazon, Netflix, DoorDash, Uber. They didn’t gain their incredible market share by having the best customer service.
They took over because they offered the best customer experience.
No one swapped to Netflix because their customer support folks were the most helpful. And that’s not to say they aren’t good! They could be great. They could be terrible. I have no idea because I’ve never interacted with Netflix customer support.
And that’s the secret to Netflix’s success. I get to watch all the poorly-acted historical documentaries I want without having to get off the couch. I don’t even have to make a phone call. I go online, type in my information, and then pay for their service.
Now, how does customer experience impact self storage? After all, you’re providing a physical place, not something that can be transmitted online or shipped to someone’s house.
The tenant will have to come to your facility with their stuff at some point. But you can still provide a great customer experience, learning from the success of these other businesses.
If you’re not offering online rentals, you should be.
Picture a stressed out potential tenant, scrolling through business listings Saturday night, trying to check “rent a storage unit” off their list. They don’t know you from any of your competitors, and they don’t know much about the amenities you offer. But they click on your profile because of your slick logo and good reviews. But when they try to rent, your website says to give you a call during office hours, which won’t be until Monday.
The potential customer isn’t waiting until Monday to call you. They’re clicking out of your site and finding someone they can rent from now. They want to check ‘storage unit’ off the list and move on.
Just like the companies we talked about above, convenience is king. Amazon went so far as to patent one-click checkout, and Apple paid Amazon for the rights to use it!
You’re not competing with Amazon and Apple, of course. But, your customers are their customers - and Netflix’s customers, and Uber’s customers, and DoorDash’s customers. These global companies are learning that customers love convenience, and online rentals can help you give it to them.
Late fees can be necessary, but they shouldn’t be your first choice to encourage payment. Your goal should be to have everyone pay on time, so you don’t have to waste time chasing down delinquent customers.
Ideally, all of your customers sign up for autopay, but until you can get that, automatic payment reminders can be super helpful. Your Property Management Software should be able to do this, and if it can’t, consider adding software that does have payment reminders (like StoragePug!)
As you’ll see in our Customer Journey Playbook, happy customers are worth far more to your business than a handful of late fees. Customers that have a good experience with you will leave reviews, tell their friends, and seek you out when they need storage space again. Automatic payment reminders help your customers pay on time instead of incurring late fees that might give them a negative view of your business, especially if they’re only late by accident.
300 million+ people in America. Almost 50,000 self storage facilities. And a handful of great big directories trying to connect them.
Not only is this step vital for a good customer experience, but it’s also vital for growing a business. Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is the practice of making your business show up in search results, whether in Google, Bing, or any other search engine. Self storage customers, and almost everyone else on the planet, begin their buyers' journey with a quick search.
In our industry, the most common search is “self storage units near me.” There are lots of similar terms that get used, including the specific place name the searcher is looking for, but the search algorithms have gotten much better at understanding search queries.
That means you don’t need to hit every possible search term. As long as the search engines can understand what you’re selling, they should be able to connect you with people looking for you.
Search engines will display results based on relevance (do you sell what the searcher wants), proximity (are you close to them), and reviews. Proximity and relevance are out of your control, but reviews aren’t!
Good customer reviews are the best way to prove to new customers that you are worth doing business with. 9 out of 10 customers read reviews before making any sort of purchase with a new business. Search engines rely on customer reviews to determine which results to display.
So, you’re going to have a hard time doing business without good reviews on the popular sites - Google, Yelp, Bing, etc.
The good news is that getting reviews doesn’t have to be painful. You can improve this part of the customer experience by implementing one-click review requests through Google. With certain technology, including StoragePug's Insights, you can have an automated text message sent to customers with a link that will take them directly to leaving a Google Review.
You can also send your customer a link manually after a good interaction, or just ask them face-to-face if they’d mind leaving a review. If they agree, then send the one-click link. You can also include a link and request to review on other communications.
Be sure to reply to reviews, even bad ones! You can solve customers' issues and even bring them back to your business.
Customer experience encompasses every aspect of your customer’s journey to renting with you, and even extends beyond that. Good self storage tenant management can generate more leads, more rentals, and a better reputation.
Great customer experience will generate momentum for your business beyond one customer and can be the difference between getting by and thriving.
Learn more about creating a great customer experience with these:
At StoragePug, we build self storage websites that make it easy for new customers to find you and easy for them to rent from you.