As we’re encouraged by plans for re-opening the economy, we’re reminded of how quickly our processes and procedures have undergone extreme change. In the coming months, we could see a wave of tightening and loosening of social distancing and business closures. Not to mention that state-controlled reopening phases can be implemented at any given time, making operating portfolios that span state lines an additional challenge.
Sometimes unpredictable and large-scale situations make it impossible for us to run operations as usual. For example, not having access to physical buildings can challenge us to virtualize our core business functions. We quickly realized that our standard operating procedures, though very effective in normal circumstances, needed to be adapted. The more agile we can be, the better we can address tenants’ needs and deliver a stable foundation for our managers.
These challenges remind us of the importance of keeping an open mind, staying flexible, and embracing change to spark new ideas and innovations. Through discussion and problem-solving, we’re able to unite and overcome these challenges together. From our own monthly benchmark industry data, we’ve outlined a pattern in operational changes that are seemingly helpful in the transition to a virtual process.
Adding technology as a supplement to your processes
Our tools are offered as an accessory, working with you rather than for you to increase efficiency without adding infrastructure. CallPotential’s Contact Center makes essential customer service functions available in a virtualized, work-from-anywhere model and provides little to no disruption to prospects or tenants. In an uncertain time we aim to be a stoic, safe and reliable resource for the storage industry. At the onset of the crisis, our friends at Guardian Storage rapidly deployed our Contact Center to help their 26 location managers work from home in an effort to adapt to customer needs.
Our Contact Center works as a virtual hub for the physical location. Any incoming or outgoing calls are processed and tracked through the Contact Center and synced with your property management software records. . The true power behind Contact Center is the agility to route call flows in a predetermined manner. We have what we call “Call Routes'' for different situations. This flow can be customized to any situation based on different locations, different phases of COVID-19, you name it! With a literal click of a button we can completely change how calls are funneled into the pipeline.
Optimizing leads through multiple touch points
With less leads as a result of the pandemic’s impact, strategizing how you’re going to make the most of every lead is crucial. You have to hone in on the question “How can we best serve our customers?” With any CallPotential tool, our overall goal is to assist in effectively serving customers. By using automated omni-channel messaging, our Lead Manager module provides a seamless interaction and allows prospects and tenants to be contacted how they want to be contacted. Automated texts, calls, or emails are 100% customizable by tone and frequency to cater to the client’s preferred method of contact and speed up their rental process.
It also doubles as a resource for managers to gauge employee performance based on follow-ups and call times to ensure efficient performance and accountability. With less time focused on lead follow-up, managers can focus on enhancing the entire customer experience while being assured that the job is getting done.
Adapt your messaging according to the pandemic's impact
Operators have changed their approach to collecting past-due rent. While still remaining diligent in using a combination of automation and manual tasks, the amount of messages have decreased, and the overall tone of the messages have been softened. Despite these changes, collections have remained strong.
An example of the messaging tone changes could be as follows; rather than a past-due text message template that might have previously read “URGENT: Your Rent is Now 45 Days Past Due. Please Pay Here.” it might read more as “Friendly Reminder: Your Rent is Now 45 Days Past Due. Please Pay Here.” Although a simple adjustment, leading with empathy during a pandemic can foster strong relationships with your tenants while maintaining an effective rent collection process with self-storage payment reminders.
Building strong foundations to empower your future
This is a challenging time for all of us. Embracing operational agility hasn’t been easy, but few things worth doing are. Our hope is that the pivots being made now — and the way they’re allowing us to better support managers, customers, and communities will help us to weather this pandemic and emerge stronger in the future. Yes, in the short term, much of what we’re doing may not immediately impact the bottom line, but the foundation we’re building upon will ensure we continue to drive sustainable growth in the long run and inspire more new ideas to come.