Creative ways to use two-way texting
Jana Haecherl |September 14, 2017 |6 min read
I recently dropped off some dry cleaning at my favorite family-owned cleaners, only a few blocks from my home in the ‘burbs of KC. I needed to get my storEDGE button-down pressed and starched, and a couple of those annoying “dry-clean only” tops cleaned. Today, I started wondering if the shirts were done. For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what day the owner said they’d be done. I scoured my black hole of a purse for the receipt, but couldn’t find a pick-up time. I even looked in my text message history with my husband to remember exactly what day I had dropped the clothes off. No dice. Finally, I just gave up and called the place. The owner answered immediately and was happy to let me know my items are ready for pickup now.
So what does this story have to do with self storage and two-way texting? The point is: I hate making phone calls. I’d much rather find the answer myself, or send a quick message that doesn’t tie me down to a conversation that takes a few minutes out of my morning.
If you’ve ever shopped for self storage software, you’ve probably seen the hype over texting. If you’re a small operation, the feature may leave you scratching your head and wondering, why would I need to text my tenants? The short answer? Because of people like me who hate making phone calls! The longer answer is that there are many ways that texting can be beneficial for your business. Read on to find out creative ways that storage owners and managers use texting to market their business, boost on-time payments, and improve their bottom line.
1. Send payment reminders with a link to your online payment portal.
At storEDGE, the most popular use of our free two-way texting feature is for sending payment reminders to tenants. For tenants with SMS enabled, it completely replaces the need to call tenants and remind them rent is due. Whether your messages are automatically sent to all tenants on the last day of the month, or sent only to tenants with anniversary billing dates the day before rent is due, texting saves managers a ton of time. By sending text reminders, you can even include a link to your online payment portal so tenants can pay right from their smartphones. It’s easy, free, and fast.
2. Text a gate code to a tenant who is locked out.
This one is a no-brainer. With texting, you don’t have to drop everything you’re doing to walk out to your front gate or call a tenant who has forgotten their gate code for the umpteenth time. Simply shoot them a text message with their gate code. Next time they forget, they can always look back in their message history and find it.
3. Send a reminder to sign up for autopay to a tenant who is always late.
Autopay is an incredibly popular method of setting-and-forgetting your monthly bills. Many people use autopay to pay for monthly subscription services, like Netflix, Barkbox, or Amazon Prime, as well as their credit card bills, student loans, and their electric bill. If your facility offers autopay to tenants, texting is a great way to remind them to set up the free service. Send out a single message to that one tenant who seems to have trouble paying their rent on-time, or send out an automated text message to all new tenants.
4. Text a move-in confirmation to your tenants.
Sometimes it’s helpful to send a new tenant a message right away so they can easily add your facility to their contact list. Set up automated messages that go out to new tenants to let them know their new unit number, and more! Plus, sending a message lets them know you have texting and sets up an easy form of communication for them to use in the future. It’s a win-win.
5. Send a link requesting an online review from a satisfied customer.
Here at storEDGE, we’ve done a lot of research on what helps self storage brands bring in consistent reviews every month. While it helps to provide top-notch service that makes people want to write you a glowing review, we’ve found the best way to get more reviews is just to ask! Over 70% of customers will leave a review for a business when asked, and by including a link to your review page, it’s even more likely. Send out an automated text to everyone, or pick and choose who you’d like a review from by sending the message only to customers who you know had an exceptional experience.
6. Text a transfer confirmation to confirm the new rent rate and unit number.
Sometimes things can get lost in the transfer process - like the tenant’s new rent rate, unit number, or account status. Prevent information from slipping through the cracks by sending out a text confirmation with the new rental information. While many software programs send a confirmation email upon move-in, move-out, or transfer, don’t forget you can also set up an automated text that lets them know the process was successful if you have two-way texting.
7. Send a birthday message to a special tenant.
A birthday message may not be the most important text you send to a tenant. But to that one tenant, it means a lot! Small gestures mean a lot and show your tenants you care. Take your customer service to the next level by sending your tenants a birthday wish on their big day!
8. Text an emergency notification to keep your tenants informed.
The best defense for PR is a good offense. By being upfront with tenants about what’s happening and keeping them in the loop, you’ll reassure them that you’re staying on top of everything at the facility. With two-way texting, it’s never been easier to inform tenants quickly in the event that the power goes out or a water pipe bursts. Plus, you’ll be able to alert only the tenants affected by the problem.
9. Send a special promotion for customer referrals.
Bump up new reservations and move-ins during your slow time of year, or fill empty units at a new property closeby by offering a customer referral discount. Simply send out a free text to your most trustworthy tenants letting them know about the referral deal, and voila! You’ll have complete control over who receives the deal, and you’ll be able to track who referred the new customer to your facility. That has to be the easiest promotion ever, right?
10. Text past due tenants as part of your delinquency process.
It seems like late tenants never have time to answer the phone. They always seem to conveniently miss your rent collection calls, no matter what time of day you schedule the call. They make every excuse in the book not to have to confront you face to face.
The solution? Send them a text! It’s less confrontational than a phone call or a visit to your office. All it takes is a simple message that lets them know they are overdue. The best part? You can include a link to your online pay portal! They can click the link and pay their overdue balance right from their smartphone, bookmark the link for next month, or even set up autopay so they’re never late again (a manager can dream, right?)
Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: How to create and set up social media accounts for your storage business, 6 ways business intelligence can help you crush your competition, and The ABCs of cloud-based technology.