Today’s consumers rely on their mobile devices to perform a growing list of everyday activities, this is especially true for native apps (developed specifically for a mobile device and installed directly onto the device itself). In fact, 88% of the time spent on mobile involves a mobile app.
But the benefits of mobile apps aren’t limited to consumers. Business leaders — including self-storage owners and operators — are discovering the value of apps for driving efficiency and bottom-line business performance. The self-storage industry has seen an increased demand for tenant facing mobile-apps in recent years, which was only accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but an operator-facing mobile app can be just as important to improving customer service in several important ways.
5 Ways an Operator-Facing Mobile App Improves the Tenant ExperienceTenant expectations are at an all-time high. Based on their interactions with e-commerce providers and sophisticated retail brands, tenants expect self-storage operations to deliver a technology-rich customer experience similar to those they enjoy when interacting with Amazon or Uber.
Operator-facing mobile apps allow you to meet your tenants’ high expectations by improving your customer service capabilities and enabling you to operate your facility more effectively.
1. Real-Time Site Management CapabilitiesCustomer-facing apps give tenants seamless access to your facility and their rental units. But an operator-facing facing app is just as crucial for ensuring a frictionless on-site experience. By leveraging cloud-based technology, a mobile app allows you to respond to tenants’ requests in real-time. With the ability to open gates or doors from a mobile device, you can eliminate the potential for access snafus. A mobile app also allows you to receive real-time notifications based on site or tenant activity. The customizable features mean you can maintain constant visibility to your site and react to security incidents or other events that jeopardize the tenant experience.
2. Enhanced Operational PerformanceHistorically, site operators have been forced to manually perform site monitoring and other activities that directly impact tenant satisfaction. Operator-facing mobile apps offload much of the burden, resulting in an enhanced operational performance at a reduced cost. With a mobile app, you can perform lock-checks using a mobile device rather than pulling out your laptop or hiring added staff to inspect every physical lock in your facility multiple times a day. The right app can also facilitate improved communication among team members. By keeping your entire team updated continuously about your site’s status via a mobile app, you can increase your ability to operate your facility both effectively and efficiently.
3. Streamlined Payment ProcessesMobile technology creates new opportunities for convenience when it comes to payments. Tenants are able to make payments from their mobile app but payment convenience is further extended by operator-facing features that integrate with the operation’s management platform. As an operator, a mobile app gives you up-to-the-minute visibility to tenants’ payment status. This unique feature eliminates lag times and makes it possible for you instantly grant — or restrict — tenant access based on their current payment status.
4. Improved Billing RoutinesBilling process enhancements are typically viewed as beneficial to owners and operators, not tenants. But mobile apps have the potential to improve billing in ways that directly improve the tenant experience. A robust mobile app can generate automated delinquency reminders by enabling centralized access to data and reporting features, allowing the tenant the opportunity to make their account current before you’re forced to restrict unit access. Similarly, integrations with your facility’s property management software uncover insights that allow you to adjust rates based on occupancy and other factors, ensuring customers are always quoted the most competitive rates.
5. Better Tenant RelationshipsSelf-storage operations succeed or fail based on the quality of tenant relationships. Mobile apps that provide centralized data access through customer relationship management (CRM) solutions play a role in improving and maintaining good tenant relationships. For example, an operator-facing app that integrates with your property management software allows you to nurture tenant relationships by sending notifications for tenant birthdays, payment reminders, and other events. It also allows you to instantly respond to tenants’ questions and inquiries — all from the convenience of your mobile device.
The emergence of 5G and the prevalence of cloud-based technology make mobile a necessary technology for both tenants and operators. Leading self-storage operations are already creating smart, connected facilities that leverage smart locks, lights, cameras, and other devices that can be accessed from mobile devices, underscoring mobile apps’ value in the self-storage industry.
By implementing an operator-facing mobile app that integrates with your facility’s cloud-based access control platform and property management software, you can position your operation to benefit from mobile’s continued growth. And just as importantly, you can use it to create more seamless and satisfying experiences for current and prospective tenants.