Using automation as an instrumental component of your business model is not a novel idea, but recent shifts in technology have expanded the possibilities of what automation is capable of. One might believe recent advancements would be most conducive for a tech company, but automation can influence all industries, including self-storage.
Just ten years ago, self-storage facilities were thought to be mom-and-pop style businesses with little competition. But now, self-storage is an ever-growing industry with strong demand. The technology behind unmanned self-storage is completely changing the game. However, it’s important to recognize that while technology helps automate many aspects of business, it’s not a fix-all solution. Automation is a tool to support, rather than replace, humans altogether. Automation can increase efficiency, prevent hiccups due to human error, and provide a more seamless experience for customers, all while saving you money.
What is Unmanned Self-Storage?
The term unmanned is essentially a nod to automation, but it’s important to note that the human component is still very much present. For example, you would still utilize contracted maintenance support or a customer success representative via a call center. The difference is, these humans aren’t working on-site. Instead, they are remotely managing your self-storage facility as efficiently as possible. They’re providing real-time solutions and support regardless of location.
Unmanned comes from the combination of technologies being used to automate the customer experience. For example, customers might have access to a mobile app that allows them to make transactions, access their rental, or chat with customer support on their own time. Customers may be able to receive an instant gate code to gain entrance into the facility instead of waiting for a human to manually assist. Cloud-based video surveillance would replace the need for a full-time security guard while allowing a remote management team to ensure the security of the property at all times. The critical consideration is that unmanned doesn’t mean fully automated. Instead, a team means implementing powerful and cost-saving technology to provide access and ease to customers.
Six Ways to Get Started with Automation
Ready to dip your toes into the world of automation but feeling unsure of where to begin? You’ve got options! You can hire an all-inclusive remote management team to do the planning and implementation for you, or you can slowly replace manual activities with automated technology that makes sense for your business model. Regardless of how you choose to incorporate automation, it’s going to save you both time and money. Here are six ways to get started with automation and take advantage of unmanned self-storage.
Hire a Remote Management Team
If you want to automate your self-storage facility in a way that provides complete ease for you, consider hiring a remote management team. A fully remote management team will do all the heavy lifting for you, including setting up and managing a call center, managing revenue, scheduling maintenance requests, and handling customer transactions. This will ultimately save you both time and money! It’s also the simplest option.
Implement a Call Center
Implementing a tenant communication platform such as CallPotential, which Copper Storage Management uses, is an excellent way to begin your unmanned self-storage journey. A call center is responsible for answering all incoming calls and handling outgoing calls. Payments can be taken over the phone, and customer service representatives handle customer inquiries.
Utilize a Self-Storage Management Software that Integrates with Your Call Center
Utilizing self-storage management software that integrates with your call center, like storEdge, which Copper Storage Management uses, automates the communication process. This type of software features customer reviews, text messaging and email communication, gate access histories, and the option to e-sign documents such as lease agreements. Plus, customers will receive excellent and personal customer service when routine communication is automated for efficiency.
Use Software for Bookkeeping
There’s no reason bookkeeping should be done manually when you can use a software tool like QuickBooks, which many of our partner facilities use to streamline the process. This helps you keep track of profit, easily pay your team, and track expenses. And as an added perk, QuickBooks integrates with your self-storage management software for further convenience.
Tools that make life easier, such as automated keypads that tenants can use at their convenience work wonders. One example is Spiderdoor. Tenants can connect to cellular data or the internet, providing a customizable experience. Meaning, you will no longer need on-site support to provide access to units. Plus, you will be able to expand your operating hours so customers can access their storage when it’s most convenient for them.
Choose Automated Security for Around the Clock Peace of Mind
Want easy-to-use, anytime, anywhere security? Two potential integrated access platform options are PDK and PDI. The hardware is generally easy to install and manage. Both systems are scalable to your individual business needs and self-storage facility size. Make access management easy with around-the-clock security you can rely on without a human presence.
Why Unmanned Self-Storage?
Technology is absolutely changing the game when it comes to automating self-storage, but it’s also not a one-step, fix-all solution. Even automation needs to be set up and monitored for the best results. Plus, there will more than likely be minor adjustments you’ll want to pay attention to as you learn more about your customers’ needs. While hiring a remote management team is the easiest solution, you can also make these changes one step at a time, depending on your business goals. Learning new technology may feel initially cumbersome, but the long-term effects are absolutely worth it.