Over the past few decades, self storage has grown into a resilient asset class that has provided a way to diversify commercial real estate portfolios and has proven to perform well through market cycles. In 2021, the global self storage market was valued at $54 billion and projected to grow annually by 7.53% between 2022 and 2027 to reach $83.6 billion at the end of 2027. The North American market is projected to contribute the most significant chunk of this figure.
As self-storage owners grow their footprints, more and more are looking for the best ways to run unattended facilities. Many are turning to new tools like live two-way video and the use of video recordings to do so. They aim to reduce operating costs and consistently rent more units while maintaining or growing customer satisfaction.
Here are six things that two-way and recorded video technology can support for facility owners and operators in 2024:
(1) Lead capture
Video technology can help storage facility owners capture new leads in two ways: through their websites and on-site.
Today, new tenants are most commonly researching storage facilities online, so your website must provide a way for them to contact you quickly. Many websites rely on “contact us” forms, meaning potential customers are left waiting for the company to call them back. Meanwhile, the prospect may select a competitor before they receive a reply. Instead of relying on website forms or calls alone, you can incorporate live video into your website as a sales tool. Like standard chatbots, you can add an icon in the corner of your website that allows a website visitor to start a conversation. However, unlike a standard chatbot, a live video tool like LiveSwitch allows you to connect instantly for a live, two-way video conversation. That means a representative can speak to a prospect face-to-face the moment they’d like more information from the website.
In addition to searching for a facility online, potential new tenants visit facilities when looking for an option locally. Some owners struggle with missing a potential customer due to the main office being busy or team members not being available. You can also use live video as a simple and effective way to capture in-person leads. By posting a QR code in the main office that, upon scanning, starts a live video call with a representative, potential tenants can get in touch with a team member immediately. The same QR code can be placed around the facility on the side of the building, in the main office, and on gates to capture leads actively.
(2) Easy setup for tenants
If you offer a simple process for securing a unit, you will differentiate your facility and win more business. Tenants want to select a unit, sign paperwork, set up payment, and gain access to the rented unit quickly and remotely if possible. Several platforms support contract delivery and payment processing, and smart lock systems can provide easy unit access. In addition to those platforms, you can use live video technology to give tours of the facility and show tenants the specific unit they’re interested in. You can also address any questions and concerns during the video session as you go.
(3) Virtual unit turns
Staff at most storage facilities conduct in-person unit walkthroughs when tenants move out, but they are demanding on time. Unit turns are a great example of a step that can be drastically shortened and improved using recorded video when streamlining facility operations. For example, using LiveSwitch, tenants are provided with a QR code that, upon scanning, requests a video recording of the unit. The tenant self-records the unit, and the recording is automatically sent to the facility operator for approval and organization under that tenant’s name in the personalized LiveSwitch video library. This process allows operators to approve move-outs quickly or have video documentation of why a move-out was not completed correctly according to the contract.
(4) Remote maintenance requests
Even the newest and most sophisticated facilities require regular maintenance due to weather, equipment problems, and foot traffic. Instead of collecting requests through email or an office dropbox, live video recordings can collect video evidence of the required maintenance. Using a web link, tenants can personally record the area of the facility needing attention and submit the request to the operator. In the same way, the responding team member can create a video record of the completed maintenance. With a video tool like LiveSwitch, video recordings are automatically recorded, uploaded, and organized by tenant, project, or team member.
(5) Simplified auctions
Auctions are held when tenants fail to pay rent on their unit for an extended period of time and the belongings need to be removed. Many owners know how difficult it can be to recoup the unpaid rent and quickly open the unit up for a new tenant. Automating auctions can help owners streamline the process and receive compensation. Before conducting the auction, it’s essential to keep good visual records of the items for sale and store the records for access in the future. Video recordings are a perfect solution for unit record keeping and featuring auction items. The same video recording can help automate the internal documentation process and provide a video of the items for auction.
(6)Capture customer reviews
A Google business profile and company website with positive customer reviews are essential for storage facilities. When operating an unattended facility, gathering customer reviews outside of standard communication channels is difficult. Placing QR codes on unit doors or sending codes via text requesting a testimonial is another method to gather quality reviews. The QR code can drive to a website landing page with information on how to leave a Google review, or the landing page can ask for a recorded video testimonial directly through the website, as is the case with LiveSwitch.
As consumers expect faster response times and touchless ways to rent a unit, unattended storage facilities are growing in popularity. Ideally, they help lead to compounded growth and the opportunity to remove owners and operators from regular operations, open additional facilities, or both. New technology is accelerating the adoption of the unattended facility model and the ease of introducing it to owners and customers.
LiveSwitch is a leading provider of innovative communication solutions that empower individuals and businesses to connect, communicate, and collaborate seamlessly. The company’s core products include LiveSwitch Contact, a text message-to-video call and recording software, LiveSwitch Concierge, a live video chat and support platform, and LiveSwitch Video, a simple video conferencing solution. LiveSwitch also provides a developer platform, built upon WebRTC, that allows customers to build live video into groundbreaking applications of any kind. To learn more about LiveSwitch, visit LiveSwitch.com.