These days, you can rent just about anything online. Most customers don’t think twice about reserving a vacation rental through Airbnb or renting a movie from Redbox online. Online rentals help save time and money. This fact is true for self storage facilities, as well. You can’t beat the convenience and efficiency of online transactions.
There are many advantages to offering online rentals for both self storage owners and customers. However, as a self storage proprietor, you may still prefer to meet customers in person. You have probably heard many stories about people living in self storage units. These kinds of issues can cause your self storage facility to be shut down by officials.
With Airbnb and other similar services, owners can look at reviews of potential renters before accepting them as clients. Since you can’t easily do the same with your renters, it is a good idea to meet them in person initially.
Meeting customers face-to-face not only helps with safety, but it also helps humanize your business, which makes for better customer service. Happy customers tend to spread the word about the businesses they love. Having a meaningful conversation with a customer in person will make a far more significant impact than chatting with them via instant messages. Taking the time out of your busy day to meet with them face-to-face says that you care about their business.
Fortunately, there are many ways to offer the convenience of online rentals and meet potential customers in person. Here are some ways to do both.
You can have potential clients complete the signup and rental process online. However, for gate code set up, have them come into the office during business hours to talk with the facility manager. This policy allows them to quickly and easily sign up online and meet with you in person too. Plus, they can purchase things like moving boxes, locks, and packing supplies when they visit the office, which can provide additional revenue, as well.
This initial meeting can also be of immense value to the tenant. Each manager knows everything about the policies, procedures, moving and storing, and the facility. This information might be noteworthy for new tenants or customers utilizing self storage for the first time. Therefore, train managers to make use of this encounter and be available for all questions and concerns so they can use that time to alleviate any worry which builds trust.
It is always a good idea to sit down with customers to make sure they understand their lease agreements. This possible misunderstanding is a reason for why you might want to consider forgoing e-sign. It is also possible that your data entry is still a “hands-on” process, which makes a physical lease a reasonable thing to have.
During the in-person meeting to sign the contract, you can go over things like:
Offering a free lock with any new rental is a great way to both meet new tenants and make them happy. No one can argue the value of “free.” Offering a promotion like this is also a great way to generate publicity for your self storage business. Use this offering as a marketing tactic. Post about the offer on your social media accounts to help to create new leads.
If you integrate your storage management software with your overlock system, you can place the unit into overlock status until the tenant comes into the office to meet with you. The software will send a wireless signal to the unit to lock the door. When the customer comes into the office for the first time, you can then remove the overlock.
Modern customers spend most of their purchasing dollar and buying time online. So, it's thankful that the self storage industry has the capability of finishing unit rentals online with the help of unit management softwares and software integrations.
However, self storage facilities are physical location with plenty of traffic with an expansive make up of consumers coming in and out each day. So, it's understandable that some owners and operators would want some participation in the vetting process.
This article covered some best practices so that customers have the same level of empowerment when renting a unit, but must still step foot and be met by management before they can begin using the facility and its features.
This decision is a balancing act. Some locations and businesses won't need to implement these strategies, however, there are other areas or past experiences that might make use of these practices so to foster trust from your current tenants and community.
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