One of the big questions I get from self storage owners and managers is “Should my website have the ability to rent or reserve a storage unit online?” Many are torn because they feel like one of the reasons for their success is the personal interactions with potential renters who come into the facility and discuss the options. There is no doubt that excellent customer service will always set you apart from your competition. But part of providing excellent customer service is giving the customer what they want and expect.
According to the Google Mobile Path to Purchase Report, 47% of respondents used a mobile phone or smartphone to make a purchase. For 29% of the respondents, their smart phone has now become the main tool for purchasing. With numbers like this it easy to see why providing your potential renters with the ability to rent or reserve a unit online is so important. The way people make purchasing decisions is changing and the self storage industry needs to make sure they are keeping up with this trend. Customers want to be able to rent a unit when they want (24/7) and from whatever device they are using (computer, smartphone or tablet).
The question then becomes, “What do I look for with an online rental tool?”
First and foremost, you want to deal with a company that is trusted and understands the self storage industry as well as customer needs.
Integrates with your Property Management System
In order to provide accurate unit rates and available inventory in real-time, the tool must integrate seamlessly with your Property Management System’s API.
Secure Payment Information
You always want to make sure your payment information is secure and encrypted during the entire process. It will give you and your customers peace of mind.
Mobile Friendly Tool
Make sure the tool is responsive so it can be easily viewed from any device. It is also important that the tool maintains full functionality on all devices.
The rental and reservation process is different at each facility. Make sure the tool has the flexibility to offer things like: insurance, ID verification, auto pay and pre-pay capabilities. If you aren’t comfortable with the entire process being done online, you can offer to reserve a unit and have part of the process done on site.
Having an online storage rental tool on your website provides you with the ability to rent or reserve units 24/7, regardless of staffing or office hours. It is another way to provide the type of availability and service that customers are looking for today.
By: Jeanne Dotson, Director of Internet Marketing Strategy