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November 17, 2022
Everyone knows what payment reminders are, but do you know the best practices for using them effectively?
You can just shoot from the hip, of course. Choose a reminder schedule that seems fair, send the reminder somewhere you yourself would look for it as a customer, and ultimately a decent chunk of your customers will probably see it.
But could you be doing it better?
Payment reminders can be done manually, but let’s face it, most of us don’t have time to send off potentially hundreds of reminders and follow-ups a month.
Your self storage software should have the baked-in ability to automate these reminders for you. Depending on the software, it may or may not let you customize how far before the due date your reminders are sent out. So, why not make use of it?
Why should you send out payment reminders to begin with, though?
Rent is due on the same day every month. You may even send an actual bill at some point for the next month’s rent, depending on how you operate your facility. So why do you need to worry about reaching out more often than that?
To be frank about it, people forget.
In fact, forgetting about a bill is one of the top 5 reasons customers don’t pay.
We all have tons of bills to remember these days. And to make matters worse, many tenants will barely visit their self storage unit more than once every other month. Some will even visit only once or twice a year! Forgetting is easy in that scenario.
If you properly set up reminders, you’ll be helping both yourself and your tenants.
Now that we’ve covered the importance of using automated reminders in self storage billing, let’s talk about how to use them effectively.
While just setting up automated self storage payment reminders in your software of choice will already set you on the path to success, there are little things you can do to make sure you get the most benefit possible from them! You’ll want to make sure you nail down these concepts so that you know your payment reminders have the impact you’re looking for:
When you send the first reminder is critical, and there are varying opinions on the timelines.
In the self storage industry, it’s common to send this reminder just two days before the due date. In some other industries, experts suggest a week before the due date.
This might seem a bit late to send your first payment reminder, but remember what we’re trying to circumvent here: Forgetfulness. It’s less about making sure your tenant gathers the money in time and more about making sure they remember they have to pay at all.
To get the most out of this, you want to remind them closer to the due date so that they’re less likely to say, “I’ve got time,” and forget again.
If you are still having trouble with missed payments, you might want to add a second reminder.
For this one, we’re doubling down on the idea that you want to give them as little time as possible to forget. Send this reminder on the same day as their due date.
This is for those customers that need the adrenaline hit of seeing their notifications and realizing they’re about to be past due.
No matter how many reminders you send before the due date, the chances are that you’re going to end up with people still forgetting.
Automated late payment reminders will help catch people that forgot, and they’ll also serve as proof that you’ve notified the customer of late payment in the event you eventually start the lien process.
How late you should send this reminder will depend on a few factors. If you’re mixing it into your lien process, you may have local or state laws that specify when this notice should be sent. If you’re just doing it as a courtesy or as a simple reminder, you probably want to send it no sooner than two days but no later than a week after the due date.
How you send your reminders should vary based on your customers.
For the most part, text messages are often the best way to make sure a notification is seen. However, this won’t be the ideal strategy for every single self storage facility. You should determine whether email or text is the right method and use one of those two.
You might also determine that an email is your initial touch a week out but that the day-of notice should be done via text due to the more urgent nature of the reminder.
No matter what you decide, ensure that you choose what works best for your and your customers and that you set up your processes to achieve success. For example, if you choose email as your reminders channel, make sure you collect new customer emails during the rental as a required step and make it clear that this is where they will receive important notices.
As a bonus tip for your self storage payment reminder best practices, you should still send reminders to customers on autopay!
Life can be a struggle, and sometimes we’re managing our money to a pretty tight line. It’s also possible that people have been moving money around accounts for other purposes.
As a courtesy to your customers that have made your life easier by registering for automatic payments, you should make sure they also receive reminders around a week before their payment date.
Doing this ensures they remember to have money in their account, and it will also help them appreciate your service for giving them that reminder. After all, sometimes automatic payments can slip into the background and be forgotten!
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