Facility Automation

How To Run A Self-Storage Business (Using AI Tools)

December 7, 2023
5 minutes

Do you know how to run a self-storage business using AI tools?

To stay competitive and meet tenant expectations, many operators are having to rethink how they run their self-storage businesses.

As self-storage facilities embrace AI-powered tools and solutions to accelerate customer service and provide tenants with streamlined experiences, customer expectations are only rising.

After all, if one self-storage facility can offer automated customer interactions that expedites the delivery of access codes and enable tenants to have their questions answered in seconds, why can you not raise your game and provide the same level of service?

The ball is in your court now.

With no shortage of AI-powered tools entering the market for self-storage operators, there are plenty of opportunities for your facility to experiment with AI-enhanced customer experiences.

Notice how I said “AI-enhanced” customer experiences. This is about elevating tenant experiences and providing higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Self-storage operators should focus on using artificial intelligence to enhance specific areas of the tenant experience that are currently held back by humans.

While one-on-one interaction with facility team members can play a pivotal role at various stages of the tenant experience, it’s important to recognize where human-led interactions are preventing scalability and the standardization of tenant experiences.

Let’s consider how you can strategically deploy AI to offer superior tenant experiences.

Why listen to me? I have worked in the conversational AI space for close to a decade, with our previous AI company getting acquired. My day to day consists of speaking to operators of all sizes to understand their automation needs and wants, and see how to best help them get there. I currently am in charge of swivl's go to market strategy and am a co-host of the Self Storage Lab podcast.

How To Run A Self-Storage Business In An AI World

Identify Bottlenecks In Tenant Experiences

Efficiency is the bedrock of successful operations. Identifying friction points in tenant experiences and addressing them using AI can set a business apart.

For instance, swivl’s chatbot, acting as an automated facility manager, can provide real-time answers to tenant queries about unit-specific details, such as availability.

Operators can seamlessly plug swivl into their existing websites and have an automated facility manager available to answer questions from prospective and existing tenants at any time of day.

While it might feel like many self-storage businesses have already beaten you to it in the race to adopt AI solutions, there is still time to plant your flag in the ground and establish your business as an innovator in the industry that is committed to elevating tenant experiences.

Recognize Where Human Interaction Is Critical To Tenant Experiences

While automation and AI greatly optimize operations, the human touch remains irreplaceable in certain areas.

Fortunately, many AI tools are equipped with features that ensure a smooth handover process to humans when robots are out of their depth.

For instance, swivl’s AI-powered chatbot can push complex issues that the AI can't handle to human agents. This ensures that tenants always receive the empathy and understanding that only humans can provide when it matters most.

AI tools are at their best when they complement human interactions and vice versa.

Play To The Strengths Of Your Team

As AI tools like swivl take on repetitive tasks and automated interactions, operators can free up their team's time to focus on more nuanced and critical responsibilities that tap into the unique skill sets of the individuals.

For example, while swivl manages up to 80% of automated interactions, human agents can intervene when personal touch or specialized knowledge is needed.

Consider How AI Can Support Scalability

If your facility team members are often pulled away from important tasks to assist with customer support, this presents a clear opportunity for AI to take the lead in addressing customer queries.

With AI-driven responses to customer questions, you can give team members the uninterrupted focus they need to make progress with their individual tasks that utilize their specific skill sets.

Look for AI-powered tools that can connect with other tools in your technology stack, such as Google Business Profile, Slack, StorEdge, and Sitelink, which means self-storage facilities can centralize their operations and scale with relative ease.

Explore How AI Tools Can Standardize Tenant Experiences

Standardizing tenant experiences is key to fostering trust among tenants and establishing a solid reputation for getting it right every time.

AI tools like swivl help achieve this by offering standardized interactions. Whether a tenant wants to see available inventory, has a payment-related question, or needs to access their gate code, swivl ensures they receive a consistent, high-quality response.

Learn more about how swivl is lowering the barriers to AI for self-storage operators.

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