SBOA: The Magazine 2015 Edition - Page 19

Opentech Alliance
Unleash the Power of Your Storage Manager

What is the most underutilized asset at your storage facility? If the question has piqued your interest, it’s likely that it is your onsite manager. Workplace research validates that front-line managers have the most significant impact on customers, representing the most powerful advocate of your business brand. Whether you are a manager or owner leading the charge, additional strategies can be used to accomplish a number of improvements.

What is your manager’s primary function? Many companies practice a business model that is task driven, emphasizing 10-20 duties that need to be carried out on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Those models often fall short on expectations, because they do not prioritize what matters most.

Improving sales, service, organization, and maintenance represent the top priorities in self-storage facility management. Once identified, managers need to be made aware of what tasks are most important and how they will be measured on their performance. If your priority is growth driven, find out how your manager actually competes for more customers and evaluate how it’s working. To function more effectively, managers have to be able to prioritize and replace less important tasks with more important ones.

Owners and managers must reshape the assumptions that guide their opinions to succeed at improvement. To transform sales and service processes, be open to changing traditional logic. Don’t be afraid to move away from; “This is the way we’ve always done it here. ”

Top Self-Storage Pain Points

While sales continue to be the top pain point, there are signs of improvement. Top industry sources say, average occupancy rates are currently at 87%.

Labor costs are becoming an additional pain point. Concerns over labor costs and insurance exist. Owners are unsure how changing health care legislation will affect their businesses.

Time management represents a universal pain point for managers. Between sales, customer service, operations, upkeep, marketing and more, it is not surprising that the day-to-day tasks take precedents, over top priorities of improving overall growth.

Customer Behaviors You Can’t Afford to Ignore

Because of technology, customers have changed their purchasing behaviors, and have taken more control of the sales and service cycle. Customers expect to be able to reach your facility, whether onsite, online, or the over the phone when in need. To profit from this situation, managers have the opportunity to change processes to match the behaviors of more consumers.

Can the use of after-hours self-service products improve manager performance, facility performance, and customer satisfaction? Yes, customers undoubtedly favor a self-service solution in lieu of no service and there are a number of solutions that are proven to enhance the value managers provide.
Manager’s Tools of the Trade

Recently, the MiniStorageMessenger highlighted an article titled; The Managers Technology – Tools Every Facility Should be Using Now. Industry owner, operator and ambassador Anne Ballard writes about technologies that help managers compete for more customers and improve operations.

In June, OpenTech Alliance published a whitepaper examining use of self-storage tools. The 2014 Self Service Technology White Paper can be downloaded here: (http://opentechalliance.com/white-paper/)

“OpenTech executives aren’t crunching all this data to publish a “how-to” book on successful storage management. The point is to provide facts so that owners and site managers can understand what tools are available and how they add value to a self-storage operation,” said Yvette Apodaca, Marketing Manager at SiteLink.

Self-Service Process + Traditional Self-Storage Process = Increased Performance

By offering an automated solution, managers can now monitor move-in and payment transactions that occur outside of office hours. This provides a look at tenant behaviors and the added revenue that would have been lost without offering an automated solution.

“Our mission-critical technologies (kiosk, call center & online rental software) need to be running all hours of the day, every day. It’s how we win business from others who are not doing the same,” says John Leslie, President at Avon Self-storage.

Self-Service technologies help managers cover routine tasks like payment processing, appointment setting and reservations so they can focus on top priorities. In the end, a self-service product can be a powerful means by which to serve the customer and increase the performance of your manager.

By Michael Sawyer