If you own multiple facilities, you know that communication can be a pain point. You need to keep everyone in the loop to keep collaboration going strong, but group texts and email chains can only go so far. Even if what’s happening at one facility doesn’t directly affect your other managers, it’s important for them to know what’s going on so they’re in the know. Businesses need a simple way to communicate without constantly having to email or text back and forth.
Enter Slack! Slack is a team communication, collaboration, and instant messaging platform, and it’s actually the same communication tool we use at storEDGE to keep all of our communication simple and organized. It’s way better than email, and much more integrated than group texting. It’s searchable, fast, and mobile. And it’s perfect for teams of all sizes.
Here’s a quick overview of how it works:
Channels: Think of it like switching the channel on your TV. On one channel, there’s the news. On another channel, there’s sports. Slack’s channels work the same way. You can organize your team conversations into channels to keep topics together. You can make a channel for a facility, a topic, a team, or really anything. At storEDGE, we have channels for each department as well as channels for topics like trade shows and SEO news.
Private channels: For sensitive information (like payroll-related discussions), or private discussions (like when you want to surprise one of the managers for their birthday!) you can create private channels in Slack and invite a few team members. No one else can see or join your private channels without an invite.
Direct messages: When you need to send a message to just one person instead of the whole group, you can use direct message to send an instant message to a team member, just like texting. It’s completely private and secure, just like traditional texting and instant messaging.
Notifications: Slack offers lots of notifications options so that you can find a happy medium between getting too many notifications and not getting enough. You can temporarily mute a channel or only get notifications when someone mentions your name.
It’s got all the bells and whistles, and it’s easy to use. But why is it so much better than email or texting? What makes Slack the best communication tool for self storage businesses? Read on to find out the top seven ways Slack can improve your self storage team’s communication.
Emails are great, but they’re not the easiest to search through, and they’re not totally transparent. When someone from your team posts in a public Slack channel, everyone in the company can see the message, and it doesn’t blow up their notifications - it’s the ultimate team message board. You can easily search for old messages (they’re saved forever, unless you don’t want them to be!), and find specific messages from days, weeks, or months ago. Slack has a simple search feature that’s as easy as searching on Google. You can even set reminders that notify everyone in a channel at a certain time and/or day.
Don’t you hate when someone asks you the same question over and over? Your team can “pin” messages, photos, videos, or files in various channels. It’s great for things that everyone needs, but no one can remember. (Like the wifi password, or instructions for how to reset the circuit breaker when the power goes out.) Once an item is pinned, it’s fast and easy for anyone in that channel to find.
Did I mention you can share files? You can share PDFs, Word documents, Google Drive documents, Excel spreadsheets, Dropbox files, call recordings, screenshots, and videos. You can share almost anything you can think of! Lease documents, unit documentation, videos from your security cameras, occupancy data exported in excel, or even voicemails left for your facility. Anything you share, whether it’s a link, message, photo, video, or file, can easily be pinned or searched for later on.
Slack works in your web browser, but it has a mobile app, too. I have the Slack app downloaded on my iPhone for easy messaging with the storEDGE team, even when I’m out of the office running an errand or in the airport. The mobile app works just as well as the web browser version.
Like I mentioned before, you can create channels for the whole team, channels just for discussions of one facility or one topic (like storage auctions), or just message someone directly to help them with a specific problem. If you have facilities in multiple states, you can create channels for each state, then break them down even further into metro areas or features like RV storage, climate control, or wine storage. Everyone can easily collaborate and talk about what’s going on at the company, without excluding team members who aren’t directly involved.
Slack is worlds faster than email, especially when you’re searching for a specific conversation from a long time ago. When a new storage manager joins your team, you can easily add them to public or private channels and they can see chat histories and pinned items that will help them get started in their new role.
While there are paid options for Slack, the Lite plan is totally free! Just like email, it costs $0 for your team to use the messaging platform and your private information is still stored securely. If you eventually want to upgrade to the paid version, it starts at just $8 per monthly user. Ta-da!
Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: How to do online move-ins from your phone in 4 easy steps, What is Google Analytics - and how can it help your storage business?, and Top 10 best blog posts to help you automate your self storage business.