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Technology: A Vehicle for Economic Action

Jun 29, 2016

Technology: A Vehicle for Economic Action

by Cody Reynolds

In our day and age where data drives behavior, helps identify inefficiencies and develops methodologies for greater productivity, the technologies we implement today can heavily accommodate a greater bottom line tomorrow.

Sir Isaac Newton said it best, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

At least there is supposed to be.

I think it is important to first, fundamentally define technology's historical role in our industry and how it is currently being leveraged from a couple of dynamic viewpoints!

Historically speaking, “If you build it, they will come” meant “If you build the actual facility, people will flock to lease up.” This is a yesterday type of application if you ask me.

Let’s repurpose that statement in a more contemporary context. By saying, “If you build it, they will come” you are referring to the building of social media, mobile responsive web-formats, enhanced digital platforms, etc., then yes, I would most definitely agree with that statement!  

On another note, an intrinsic relationship is happening between the alluring techno tools and the facility manager’s role. Think about it. The customer actively responds to one of your various forms of media (websites, aggregator sites, SEO Google game plans, Twitter tweets, call centers, kiosks, ad campaign strategies etc.) while in the market for storage space.

The facility manager then responds indirectly into the conversion phase of the process, transitioning the relationship from customer to tenant. An interesting circle of man and machine cohesively working congruently.

Changing Technology

The rise of social media has revolutionized our industry, resulting in a greater broadcast for the local supply and demand of storage.

Rent yield management programs, calibrated to a science to increase the bottom line, continue to be widely capitalized on and is unequivocally easy money in the bank.

The kiosk technology has gained a lot of traction over the decade as well. There have been so many changes that it is hard to name them all.

Top Technology

The reality of rent increases and street rate management tools are a healthy practice for us and a large element of what we are intentionally cultivating. These technologies, along with the facility manager’s discernment process, have taken great strides over time to help us generate additional revenue.

We also use Ring Central, an Internet phone-based system used as a training tool for employee phone skills.

We do utilize a kiosk at one of our outlying facilities and have snagged a few rentals out of it.

We are also in the development stages of an in-house security surveillance system that comes with all the bells and whistles along with an algorithmic program that dials in on street rates.

Trending Technology

The integration of SMS text features designed right into the software is on the rise.

Also, I have played with some pretty cool data scrape/mining software programs for online price comparisons which are quick and easy for street rate management. I personally like the old-fashion, hands-on “mystery shops” to keep the local market competitive on unit prices.

For the brokerage and finance guys, there are some pretty nifty stabilization chart spreadsheets enabling accurate underwriting on “Certificate of Occupancy” lease up deals that seem to be gaining popularity.

My disclaimer is simple. Regardless of the latest and greatest innovations that emerge, if you do not quantify your existing processes and systems in place within your company, it makes no sense venturing out on these new territories.

New and Innovative Technologies

I just opted in on the SMS text feature which integrates with SiteLink. Needless to say, I am excited about utilizing SMS resourcing. I believe balance can be achieved with texting much like emails when they first materialized onto the scene. Our goal is to produce a quicker response time to our outgoing communication and optimize connectivity with our clientele.

We also utilize Hub-Spot for our online analytics. This very useful tool helps us gauge our advertisement effectiveness.

Efficiencies Created with Technology

For me it is something as simple as having a solid email database at each facility as the manager practices good data entry.

You would be surprised how easy a solution it is on invoice day to click an "email" tab button, hit send and embed your information directly into the email message, as opposed to the dinosaur postage stamp, snail mail and expensive, time-consuming way of doing things.

Technology You Can’t Live Without

We do not have the type of money the bigger REIT’s have to throw at advertising so we are aggressive in our organic online presence. We multipurpose our technology and constantly think outside the box.

It is absolutely crucial to gather collective intelligence from the marketing surveys for various reasons. These surveys help us discover what works, what does not and why. It also serves in gauging the ROI on our advertising dollars to properly adjust accordingly.

Website and Online Technology

Our business development team has built the site in-house. I am proud of their achievements in their constant mad journey of refinement. National Storage Solutions Management, aka, “Easy Stop Storage” is unique in their approach toward business. We like to experiment on how to do it ourselves and be entrepreneurial in all aspects we are engaged in.

We have three to five people working on blogs, Facebook /Craigslist ads, Google keyword bids and collaterals every month. 

 

Getting to Know

Cody Reynolds

National Storage Solutions, Lubbock

Prior to my career in self storage, I was a part-time song composer/recording artist and assisted my brother in the flood and fire mitigation field after he bought into the franchise company named “ServPro.”

I still like to write and record music when I’m not working as well as building Legos with my 7-year-old.

I come from a pretty large family and built my framework on long-lasting, healthy relationships on every front, even in the business world! Life is too short to do it alone and there is strength in numbers.