Next Door Storage Uses Technology to Enhance the Customer Experience
In our highly connected era, customers are looking to build a relationship with brands. Every interaction with your brand, from searching for you online, visiting your website and social media presence, to calling the facility and walking-in through moving out, are part of your customer’s purchasing journey. Having a high service level is what differentiates a good self storage facility from a truly great self storage facility. One customer can create a wave and introduce your business to a whole new client base. Each happy client has the potential to create more business for your company, providing high quality, free advertising in the form of brand advocacy. Are you making it as easy as possible to help your customer interact with your facility?
At Next Door Storage, we focus on all aspects of building a truly great relationship with our customers. There are many technology tools we use to make sure that every interaction exceeds their expectations. We’ve put together our best practices for a seamless customer experience using technology.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Make sure you are found:
When a prospect searches for self storage, the research often starts online. An optimized web presence should direct them to a self storage facility website where they can find the information they are looking for, such as unit mix and pricing, location, specials and contact information. A well designed website encourages the prospect to make contact. Whether this is through an online rental, or a phone call, every step is carefully planned out so the prospective customer has all of their needs met and the user experience is as intuitive as possible.
Prospective Customer Makes Contact
An important first step is making sure that our facility has a call tracking and recording line setup for different marketing mediums. For example, we want to know if someone is calling from Google Adwords, Facebook, Direct Mail, an Aggregator, or other marketing campaigns. This allows us to do two things:
- Enable our property managers to know that a customer is calling in search of storage
- Arm us with the referral source information on how they found us
We use CallPotential to secure these lines, which also allows us to see an overview of each of these tracking phone numbers performance and calculate their ROI.
Now, when an incoming call comes into the facility, our managers will know who the caller is, and why they are calling. If they are an existing customer, our platform will tell us who they are and bring up their account. If they are a new inquiry, we can see that they are calling based on a particular marketing campaign. This technology boost allows our managers to feel more prepared for the call, and to cater the conversation for the particular caller. This small step is a convenience for our customers and prospects and gives them a VIP experience. “Hello Mr. Smith, how can we assist you today?”.
Next Door Storage property managers are trained to be friendly and personable, ask prospects for their name and offer to text them the self storage quote after the conversation ends. This ensures we are receiving the correct phone number to reach them in case they are calling from work, and gives us the ability to “live on their mobile device” so they do not have to hunt for your number or quote information when it’s time to make the purchase.
Following up with prospects is of the utmost importance. Recently, CallPotential called 200 of the top operators in the industry and performed a wide scale mystery shop. The mystery shoppers were instructed to call the facility and leave a voicemail that they were coming to town next weekend and were interested in receiving information on a 10×10. Of those “top operators”, only 7% actually followed up with the lead. Only 2% of the locations called back more than once.
How frustrating would that be to a potential tenant? To make the effort to seek out services and have the business not even return their call? The bottom line is that people are wanting to spend money and are unable to do so, due to a poor customer experience. Most of these operators had follow up protocols that were not being executed. It’s not enough to assume that follow-up is being done, there should be checks and balances in place to ensure that interested leads are not being turned away.
Our follow-up process includes a multi-channel approach. Immediately following the call, with the prospects approval, we send a text message quote. Communication studies have shown that 98% of text messages are read within 2 minutes versus 26% of emails.
However, we also recognize that each of our customers are unique and have different communication preferences. That is why we use different channels through out our follow-up process. We may send a text message following the conversation along with an email, a live call the next day, and perhaps another email on the third day. This concise system of multi-channel communication has increased our conversion rates by 26%.
We make it as easy as possible for our customers to rent with us and ensure that no one is forgotten or left behind. Increasing our lead to rental conversion rate means we need fewer leads, which equals a lower marketing spend. By employing tracking phone numbers and an automated multi-channel follow up system, we were also able to reduce our marketing spend by 34%.
How do we do this? With Technology.
CallPotential’s automated communication tools have been key to Next Door Storage’s operations. Text messaging for various activities, including follow-up and collections, have been pivotal in renting faster and collecting sooner. By focusing on our customer’s experience, we have identified areas where technology can augment our efforts.
For instance, when a prospect visits our facility to rent a unit, we noticed that the total rental process, (regardless if they had a reservation) was taking up to fifteen minutes, including printing multi page leases, and asking for multiple signatures and initials. The industry average in facility rental is 12 minutes. This is an area where we believed we could ultimately do better. Time is one of our customer’s most precious assets, and we made it simpler and faster for them to rent a self storage unit.The need for user input information is almost eliminated and lease accuracy increases.
Whether our stores are open or closed, we make sure that our customers have access to a self service SmartKIOSK where they can rent a unit, pay their bill, or look up their gate number. We even use CallPotential’s SmartKIOSK during our in-office, manager assisted rentals. The whole process takes less than two minutes. The data entry process is simplified by scanning their driver’s license and credit card and auto filling the required fields. The customer is able to digitally sign their lease, and have a copy sent to their email or as a text message link to their phone. We priced SmartKIOSK to be affordable enough to have one inside and one outside.
It is the ultimate compliment when our customers remark that the whole process was faster and easier than they thought it would be.
Consider Your Customer’s Experience to Enhance Your Operations
Every interaction with your brand is an opportunity to wow with service. Technology has the ability to make sure that no customer falls through the cracks, or has to wait longer than necessary to fulfill their needs. The experience that you provide to your customers will greatly determine whether or not they will rent a unit, share their recommendations with their friends and family or return to your business.
Interested in learning more? Schedule your demo with CallPotential today.
**This article originally appeared in the SBOA Fall 2016 Magazine.