Both downturns and upturns in the economy can affect the rate of vacancies in self-storage facilities. When financial challenges arise, some people may need to downsize their living quarters and move some of their belongings into storage. They could be moving from a house into an apartment where space is more limited. Some younger adults may realize that moving back in with their parents after college or to save money for a down payment on a home of their own is a necessity.
On the other hand, when things are booming, some people may need a storage facility for other reasons. Perhaps they’re changing jobs and moving to a new state and want to keep their belongings secure while they get settled in their new city. Or, maybe two families are coming together, and they need to store some of their extra or duplicate home furnishings until they can decide how best to proceed.
For self-storage businesses, finding the best way to communicate with these potential customers can be challenging, especially when trying to reach them by phone or email. But there is another solution; our 2020 State of Texting report found that 77% of consumers prefer texting to other types of messaging tools.
Two-way texting allows employees at storage facilities to communicate with potential and existing tenants anytime, from any place and on any device. Once the initial contact has been made, texting software ensures that all conversations are stored in a tenant’s contact information for reference. That means anyone on the staff can access previous discussions to provide better assistance. It also results in fewer phone calls and in-person visits.
Automated text messages save time
Zipwhip’s intuitive software makes it easy to send texts for a variety of reasons, from automated payment reminders, past due notices, the next steps after a prospect has completed a reservation, confirmations when moving in or out, transferring to a different size unit, and sending gate opening codes for tenants who forgot their number.
Another way to streamline communication when it comes to automated messages is by using productivity tools like templates. Reusable text templates can be created and even updated later if needed. Direct messages and group texts can also be customized using Dynamic Fields, so each recipient receives a personalized message that includes their name, account number and other details that are specific to them.
Texts can even include a custom signature so the recipient knows who they’re communicating with during each exchange. To learn more about these and all our other business texting features, follow this link to see how Zipwhip works.
9 effective ways to text your storage unit tenants
1. Close deals on inquiries that come in through your website
When an inquiry comes in through your website or a voicemail, staff members can follow up by text. By text enabling your existing business phone number, customers can text or call the same number. If a customer receives a text and prefers to continue the conversation by phone, they can simply call the number the text was sent from. It’s important to note on your website that you may text them if they provide you with their phone number.
2. Text a move-in confirmation message to your tenants
It can be helpful to send a new tenant a message right away so they can add your business name and number to their contact list. You can set up automated messages that go out to new tenants to let them know their new storage unit number and any other important details. Sending a text also reminds them that they can text you if they have any questions.
3. Send payment reminders
One of the most popular uses of two-way texting is sending payment reminders. Storage unit tenants can reply to the message if they have any questions. Texts replace the need to call tenants and remind them when rent is due. You can automatically send a text on the last day of the month if their payment hasn’t been received. When sending text reminders, it’s helpful to include a link to your online payment portal. Or you can request and accept payments by text using TXT2PAY for Zipwhip.
4. Text gate access code reminders
This is a common use case, especially for tenants who don’t visit your facility that often. Instead of meeting a tenant at the gate or having them come inside the office, you can text them their personal gate access code. And the next time they visit, they can simply check their text history to find it.
5. Send a reminder to sign up for autopay
An autopay service is a popular method for paying monthly bills. If your self-storage facility offers autopay for tenants, texting is a great way to remind them to sign up for it. You can send a quick text about the benefits of using autopay to tenants who have a history of not paying on time. You can also send out an automated group text to all new tenants and encouraging them to sign up for the autopay service.
6. Text a transfer confirmation message to confirm the new rent rate and unit number
Depending on someone’s life circumstances, they may want to rent a smaller or larger unit at some point. You can prevent key details from getting lost by sending a confirmation text with their new information (new rental rate, unit number, or account status). Some CRM (customer relationship management) software programs send a confirmation email upon move-in, move-out, or transfer, but it can be helpful to communicate this information by text as well.
7. Send emergency notifications by text
Sometimes an urgent message needs to be shared with your tenants. Perhaps there’s a power outage and the facility is temporarily closed until the power can be restored. Or there may be another reason that access to their unit is temporarily restricted. Sending a text to let them know about it as well as sending another text when the situation has been resolved will be greatly appreciated.
8. Send a text about a special promotion for customer referrals
Tenant referrals can be used to fill vacant units without spending additional money on advertising. Use special promotions to increase reservations and move-ins during slower times of the year by offering your tenants a referral discount if they bring in a new customer. Choose your most responsible tenants and offer a discount on their rent if they refer someone who ends up renting storage space. You can control who receives the text about the promotion, which makes it easy to track who refers new customers to your facility.
9. Send a link requesting an online review from a satisfied customer
Some cities have several self-storage facilities which means competition can be intense. An online review site can help steer new customers your way, but you need to play a role in getting your tenants to participate. Positive reviews can show that your facility is clean, safe, secure and customer friendly. You can ask for reviews from long-term tenants as well as recent tenants who have expressed that they’ve been pleased with the move-in process or the amenities your facility offers. Send a short text with a link to an online review site to make it easy for them to follow through with your request.
Texts make it easy to share helpful information on your website with tenants
Texts are designed to be short and easy to read. That’s a big part of their appeal. But there are times when you’ll want to share additional information with your tenants.
When they text you a question, you can reply back to their message and answer it, but you can also include a link to your website with a list of frequently asked questions. Your tenant will appreciate the additional information and it may keep your staff from having to answer those specific questions in the future.
If you’d like to learn more about texting for business, download our free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers. The comprehensive guide includes what to look for when evaluating business-texting services, best practices for TCPA compliance in texting, texting etiquette tips for your team, how to market your new texting capabilities to tenants and more.