Technology in the self-storage industry has evolved a lot in the last few years. The ‘age of automation’ is upon us, and many owners, operators and staff are looking for ways to work smarter, not harder! Hand-in-hand with this digital transformation, customers are increasingly keen to be able to ‘self-serve’: they expect businesses to be available to them on their preferred channels, the majority of which they access – you guessed it! – via their smartphone.
These days, you can do anything from your smartphone – connect with school friends from a decade ago, order a cheeseburger, make a bad TikTok in a few spare minutes on your lunch break. So if your storage facility is looking for additional ways to communicate with your customer base, text messaging (also referred to as SMS) can be a great way to go!
In today’s blog we’re exploring why storage facilities should consider text messaging, and ways to incorporate it into your communications strategy.
Why use text messaging or SMS to talk to customers?
According to a report from MobileSquared, 90% of marketing text messages are opened within 3 minutes – that jumps to 99% after 20 minutes. Soprano Design’s recent study shows that 85% of people who own a smartphone would prefer to receive a text message instead of a phone call or email. There’s an immediacy and ‘to-the-point’ element of text messaging that works well for the modern consumer.
As an added bonus for your storage facility, text messaging has fewer roadblocks than email. There are no email spam filters or email blacklists to contend with, no avalanche of online shopping offers to be buried under, and no need to craft engaging subject lines or supporting graphics. When used in moderation, SMS is a fantastic companion tool to email communication – it can be used to draw attention to important email communications that may have been missed.
To put it simply – text messaging is a great communication tool for self-storage facilities because it’s effective, an increasing majority of customers want to receive information this way, and it’s a great support for your other communication methods.
How can self storage facilities incorporate text messaging or SMS into daily operations?
There are plenty of ways your storage facility can tie text messaging into your day-to-day operations – and if you’re using Storman SMS the process is automated and easy, with Storman Cloud handling date-triggered communications without batting an eyelid!
Here are five of our favourite ways for facilities to touch base with storers via text message.
- Move In / Arrival: You could use this communication to welcome a new customer to your self storage facility, you could provide last-minute information a day or so before they are due to arrive, or remind them of a particular document that they might need to bring with them – just to name a few! If you’re a Storman customer, you can schedule an automated text message before, or after a move in. If a customer moves in online with Storman Move-ins, you can even automatically issue a gate PIN via SMS!
- During the course of their stay: Ensure you have correct contact details by messaging the customer 6 months into their stay to check that their contact details are still up to date.
- Credit Card Expiry: If you process customer credit cards in Storman, then you’ll have a record of the credit card expiry date in Storman. Unless you update it before it expires, the payment will decline, so this is an important step to ensure you have the latest details on file at all times. Sending a text message prior to the credit card expiry date is a great way to remind customers to keep their payment details up to date – and you can even send them a link to update their details themselves. You can read about our ‘Update Autopay’ link here!
- Late payment: If your storer forgets to pay their invoice (hey, life happens!), why not send them a friendly reminder text – including a link to a personalised payments page for them to pay their dues straightaway, if you’re a Storman payments customer? You can use this message to remind them that their access may be restricted, or that they may be charged a late fee. You can even send them a link to make a payment and reinstate their access at the gate!
- Move Out / Departure: Why not thank the customer for their business upon move-out? It might also be worth sending a link to a quick 5-question survey to ask what the customer liked, what you could have done better & whether they’d recommend your business to a friend. After all, if you don’t ask – you won’t know.
Pictured above are some examples of automated text messages your facility can send via Storman Cloud: generating and sending a gate access code, setting up Autopay, and making an overdue payment at the gate!
So there you have it. A quick run-down on how SMS or text-messaging is a popular communication method for storage facilities, and a few ideas on ways you might be able to quickly and easily incorporate it into your operations.
If you’re interested in getting set up with Storman SMS so you can send customers text messages directly from Storman Cloud, we’d love to help! Just fill out the form below, and our team will be in touch.