It's a warm breezy Thursday in May, and I'm sitting on the beach. I am not the type of person who is okay with just letting my business cruise along without me, yet I'm quite relaxed and enjoying watching my family play in the surf with my toes in the sand. How can I take time off and not fret about my business? Automation.
For the last decade, technology has managed to push its way into the insular world of self storage. The security gate companies came first, followed by the management software companies. Then came the aggregators, the website companies and the call centers. The next wave of technology is the analytics systems that can predict move-outs, optimal price points and value-build locations.
The storage world can be a closed circle of businesses that don't often reach outside of their network of friends and associates. And this makes sense; they've often been surrounded by the same faces for decades. The levels of trust are hard-won.
Fortunately though, even with the walls that exist between competing vendors, the level of integration between products and services continues to improve. Having an interconnected network of services provides an amazing value to the property owner.
And with the “closed loop” of technology that connects third party systems, triggers can be implemented that automate the key processes of the self storage property. Self service move ins that help a tenant find the right unit 24 hours a day. Technology that floats your street rates up and down based on demand, like hotels and airlines have done for years. Automated collections that drive the tenant to on-time payment, while also providing convenient methods of payment like click-to-pay text. Automated notifications during the lien process, that culminate in online auctions.
Good, talented people will always be required to provide quality service to customers. And with the affordable automation technology available to storage operators today, you can provide a good customer experience while running a profitable and growing business...and be on the beach with my family next year.