What happens if a new tenant rents a unit in your self-storage facility? How do they find their place? Will you accompany her there? Will you draw them a card? Most operators assume that their customers can find their own way.
Google Maps can help a prospect find your warehouse, but it cannot help them navigate hallways, buildings, and hallways. But with the new interactive map technology, you can now offer your tenants an efficient, self-guided experience that will help them find their units easily while improving your own operational efficiency.
“Interactive mapping technology is important to this industry and we consider maps a critical component in creating customer and employee experiences,” said James Hafen, vice president of product development at Extra Space Storage Inc., a self-storage real estate trust and management company . Extra Space implemented this technical tool in 1,800 facilities last year and plans to add it to 200 more.
“Customers feel more confident and confident navigating these large facilities, and management teams gain valuable insights to do their jobs more effectively,” says Hafen.
Improving the customer experience
Cards have long been a standard feature in most self storage management software. The missing element is the interaction with the tenant. Previous tools consisted of static map files that weren’t easy to use. They either had to be updated by the software provider or were limited in terms of customer view and use.
Originally, the use of interactive maps was not a response to consumer behavior; it was more about conveying a rudimentary understanding of how a facility is laid out and where each storage unit is located. However, when the industry began to go contactless and take advantage of online rentals in response to the pandemic, it became apparent that such a tool could improve the customer experience and allow the renter to travel independently. Users can see exactly where they are on a property in real time, find the nearest exits and gain a better feeling of security.
Self-storage facilities are not always consistent and can be difficult to navigate. Companies that operate multiple locations rarely have two locations with exactly the same layout. “It can be quite intimidating and even a little confusing for customers to navigate such large, complicated properties in search of a unit, and especially when there aren’t many people on site to help,” says Hafen. “Interactive maps make navigation easier and enable customers to easily find their storage units. That really improves the overall customer experience. “
Supporting operators in handling critical tasks
In addition, an interactive self-storage map includes powerful tools that improve pricing and revenue reporting while helping employees better visualize the property and understand device features. Site managers traditionally work with printed unit lists, but this is not as intuitive as a visual representation. Imagine being able to quickly pull up a map of the property and see all of the vacant spaces, their prices and location. Powered by real-time data, such a tool can really streamline the sales process.
“Employees can simply turn this card over to the customer and show them exactly which units are available – features, size, prices – and where each available unit is located within the property,” says Hafen. “This improves the rental period and helps site managers to carry out inspection and lock inspection tasks more efficiently.”
The reporting provided by an interactive map can be a driver of how plant operators manage and analyze their revenues. With real-time occupancy data, your teams can better understand how units are billed based on accessibility and premium locations. “While interactive mapping technology is still relatively new in the self-storage space, there is a great opportunity to gain insights into how interactive maps and better visuals increase conversion rates and increase sales of premium units,” says Hafen.
Further development with more tools
Interactive maps of self-storage facilities emerged as part of a post-lease experience, but new technology is allowing this self-directed journey to begin with the customer’s first search. Via a kiosk they can see the available inventory along with the device features, the location and the prices. Then they can use routing and navigation tools to take a virtual 3D tour of the facility, see the actual rental unit and the way to it from the entrance gate. Coupled with the right Internet of Things devices, these tools even allow you to implement a “panic button” based on a customer’s phone location.
The integration of interactive map technologies will dynamically modernize the way in which self-storage operators manage, rent and analyze units, says Hafen, regardless of whether a customer is on site or rents unseen. It helps the industry streamline operations and improve the customer experience.
Morgan Dzak is an Account Manager at LinnellTaylor Marketing, a PR and content marketing agency for commercial property operators. The company works on behalf of Engrainwho have favourited Site Map Technology. To reach Morgan, call 303.682.5001; E-mail [email protected].