Life hacks. Shortcuts. Timesavers. Whatever you call your favorite automated tools, streamlining your daily tasks and improving your efficiency can have big benefits - both in life and in the self storage biz. Whether it’s using an electric toothbrush or offering online move-ins on your storage website, automated conveniences are everywhere. Even if you’re not ready to run a fully-automated storage facility (or switch to a power toothbrush!), there are dozens of timesaving tech tools out there that can make your day-to-day life easier.

Clothes and a person's head in a washing machine.

Think about it like doing laundry. It’s a boring, repetitive task that you have to do nearly every week of your life. Your grandparents may have washed their clothes by hand, but now almost everyone uses washing machines to do the same task in half the time, with much less effort. While the switch to machine washing might have been nerve-racking for your grandparents, nowadays we don’t think twice about throwing our clothes in washing machines. Automated software tools are no different! With today’s technology, you can automate the majority of your tenant communication, including postal mail lien letters, with just the click of a button.

Automated tools can reduce stress and busywork, freeing up more time for self storage managers to provide high-quality customer service to your tenants and ultimately, increase your business’s bottom line. Check out this short intro on automation and be sure to scroll to the bottom of the post for our FREE webinar resource!

What is automation?

Self storage customers are becoming more modern and more sophisticated, and they expect more from your storage business than they used to. Prior to picking up the phone and calling you, they already know a great deal about your business and your competitors from their online research. They have all of your business info at their fingertips every second of the day through their smartphones.

The three most common reasons for introducing automated tools (like online move-ins, online bill payments, and two-way texting) to your storage business are:

  1. To make things easier for your customer
  2. To make things easier for your managers
  3. To make things easier for owners

The biggest one that stands out to most storage owners? Making things easier for your customers. Research shows that your self storage customers prefer online, self service tools. According to recent stats on studies of self-service tools like kiosks and online help sites, nearly 7 out of 10 of respondents said they prefer using online self service tools over human contact when interacting with companies. Even more, 9 out of 10 said they would prefer using an online knowledge base (like your storage site’s FAQ page) over speaking with a representative on the phone. But consumers don’t just prefer online self service: over 70% of consumers expect company websites to offer self service tools.

Video by 10 Federal Storage

What’s the other driving force? Making things easier for managers and owners. Automating certain parts of your business frees up time for managers to complete more important tasks, like following up on leads and providing excellent customer service. Automating those annoying tasks that managers hate to do is a great way to supplement a fast-growing storage business, reduce labor costs, and hit new goals and milestones that were previously unreachable.

What it means for self storage

For the banking industry, automation means ATMs, mobile deposits, and online banking. For fashion stores, automation means online shopping, free shipping, online size charts, and online product reviews. In self storage, it comes down to making unit rentals and paying rent simple and convenient for your customers online. You might have seen or heard of some of these automated tools in use at storage facilities near you:

  • Kiosks
  • Online move-ins or reservations
  • A mobile-optimized website
  • Two-way texting
  • Automated emails
  • Scheduled reports
  • Autopay & online bill payments
  • Electronic door locks
  • Bluetooth gate access

The options are almost endless. From searching for self storage to accessing a storage unit at your facility, you can provide easy-to-use, convenient technology tools that make your customer experience unforgettable and help you stand out from the competition. Your office or call center doesn’t need to be open all day or night to help provide 24/7 customer service. Over 90% of people keep their smartphones within reach 24 hours a day (75% admit they even bring their phones with them to the bathroom), so now you can provide that same level of high-quality customer service right through their mobile device. By implementing self-service tools like payment reminders via text or a mobile-optimized website with functionality like click-to-call and online reservations, you’ll be able to help customers any time of day, from the comfort of their own homes.

But wait...there’s more!

Still itching for more info on automated tools? Check out our latest free webinar! Hosted by SBOA and lead by storEDGE Senior Sales Executive, Paul Gill, this brief, 20-minute webinar digs into the growing trend and gives viewers a guided demo of storEDGE’s most popular automated tools. Check it out now to get a sneak peak of the storEDGE software and learn our biggest time-saving tools for owners and managers!

Click here to view our free SBOA Webinar on automated management tools.

Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: What’s the big deal with automated self storage facilities?, Top 10 best blog posts to help you automate your self storage business, and 10 Federal achieves record leasing milestone at new fully automated facility.