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It seems like almost everybody is offering free wifi to their customers these days. But should you?
If you do a quick search online for whether or not your business needs to offer free wifi, the chances are you’ll be buried under a mountain of articles explaining why it’s an important business tactic in the modern world.
However, it’s also important to know what benefits your business receives if you offer wifi. For the storage industry, it’s not quite as cut and dry as restaurants, stores, and other types of businesses that want people to stay on property for longer.
In this post, we’ll explore the reasons businesses offer free wifi and how it may actually benefit your self storage facility.
For many industries, keeping customers on-site for longer means they’ll spend more money.
At cafes, longer hours spent working on laptops or mobile devices lead to more drinks and snacks purchased.
At grocery stores, it lets customers look up recipes, find product information, and spend more time in the store without getting bored, increasing the chances they buy more.
For other retail outlets like malls, it’s much the same: encourage customers to stay as long as possible so that they are more likely to make more purchases. It also allows them to look up information that might influence them to buy or send photos of products to friends that will then come and make a purchase.
For these types of businesses, offering free wifi for customers is a no-brainer.
But when it comes to storage, not every self storage facility is interested in customers staying on-site for hours a day. In fact, some may not prefer it at all.
Now that we understand why wifi benefits businesses, is it even worth offering free wifi at your storage facility?
Despite what we’ve said so far, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no.
To keep it simple, remember these guidelines. Consider offering free wifi if your storage facility
If you meet one or both of those points, you should probably offer wifi. For a deeper look at why you might want to offer your storage tenants free wifi at your self storage facility, here are some scenarios to consider:
Not every storage facility needs to offer wifi to be successful. After all, the average self storage customer isn’t coming to their storage unit just to hang out and play on their phone or laptop.
That doesn’t mean no storage facility can benefit from it, though!
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these scenarios.
These days, a good website is essential. And since you’re paying for a good website, why not make proper use of it?
A proper website can replace kiosks and help relieve the burdens on your managers. It saves them time and helps provide a better overall customer experience.
But if your customers are at your storage facility and they have trouble connecting for any reason, suddenly, your website is going to be less effective. It may even become a negative mark against your self storage business!
This is one solid reason to offer free wifi to customers.
QR codes are an awesome way to deliver information and assistance to your self storage customers (if used correctly: See our best practices!).
But what happens if they can’t load a page you try sending them to? It makes the QR code effectively useless.
To ensure this is less likely to happen, offer free wifi for your customers to connect to if they’re having issues pulling up the page or files you direct them to via QR code!
This goes along with the first two scenarios, but it’s worth considering on its own.
Even if you don’t prioritize website usage and you don’t make use of QR codes at your storage facility, it’s still important to consider whether your facility is in a dead zone.
In some cases, customers may even choose not to rent with you if they lose phone service and can’t look things up while on-site.
Beyond that, it’s also just a kind and thoughtful gesture that can win you points with customers that want to do business with businesses that see them as more than just a source of monthly income. Millennials and Gen Z customers, especially, are prone to preferring businesses that feel more human.
That’s a pretty big deal considering millennials are currently the largest economic force, and Gen Z will be inheriting that role in the coming years!
Do you offer space for customers to use as offices or as workshops?
You should offer free wifi.
Even if you have dedicated connections for the office space, these customers will be spending more time on the property and will even potentially have visitors. This is exactly the kind of scenario where free wifi is a value-add.
Do you have any other reasons people spend more time than usual on-site?
Some examples include lounge areas and wine tasting rooms if you offer wine storage. If you offer boat and RV storage, this may also be a good time to offer free wifi, as people may spend more time than usual visiting and maintaining their vehicles.
If your facility has 24/7 access and you don’t have a manager on-site at all hours, you should offer free wifi.
There are many reasons why. But the most important reason is so that your late-night and early-morning customers have guaranteed access to information on your website.
This is also a good time to make use of a self storage chatbot or a call center for after-hours customer support.
Making use of modern technology at your storage facility is a great way to serve your customers and even make your own life easier.
Sometimes, though, your customers will need an internet connection to make the most of it.
In these cases, offering free wifi is the best solution. Rather than relying on their potentially unstable mobile data, take their perception of your facility into your own hands by ensuring they have easy access to a stable connection.
This will help you get the most out of any self storage software or hardware.
Hopefully, you’ve reached a better understanding after reading this article and can figure out for yourself if your storage business should offer free wifi at its facilities.
If not, let’s restate a simple guideline to help round up all of that information and light business theory: If you expect customers to access the internet or encourage customers to spend more time than average on your facility, heavily consider offering free wifi.
Basically, don’t rely on your storage customers’ mobile data to represent the technology and processes you have in place at your self storage facility. And offer wifi as a courtesy if customers are going to spend a significant amount of time on the property.
Want to learn more about running a self storage facility and the state of the industry? Check out some of these awesome resources!
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.