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Offer Your Self-Storage Tenants Multiple Ways to Communicate and Pay

Written by Chuck Vion on August 30, 2017 under Industry Webinar

Offer Your Self-Storage Tenants Multiple Ways to Communicate and Pay

Article Contributions by: Shannon Charbonneau - Director of Client Relations at XPS Solutions

Automated phone payment s (a.k.a. Pay by Phone systems or “IVR” for short) and a Live Chat feature on your website are excellent tools to allow your tenants and potential tenants more ways to contact you. Pay by Phone also opens one more portal for your tenants to pay on their accounts in the way that makes the most sense for them. While online payments are soaring in usage and popularity, it makes sense to provide an automated method for people who don’t have online access at the moment they wish to make a payment, or simply prefer to conduct that business over the phone.

Best Practices

Most facilities ask new tenants to sign up for monthly, automatic payments or to make their payment online when they become a tenant. Facilities can provide an incentive for signing up for automatic payments (such as a small, one-time discount or an even smaller discount to monthly rent.) Or, they even use the Convenience Fee feature available through SiteLink to drive the payment behavior that they would like by allowing online payments to be made for free, and perhaps using a small Convenience Fee for an automated phone call payment or a larger Convenience Fee for a payment made with a live person. But, if you are more interested in simply providing a way for as many tenants to pay as soon as possible, you could offer all of those methods–for free!

Payment Call Volume

According to self-storage industry research from, the average storage facility is 46,000 square feet. With a standard unit mix ranging from 5x5 to 10x30 with a higher volume of 10x10 units, that means the average facility has more than 400 units, some with FAR more. Even if your onsite team does a great job signing tenants up for automatic payments, you can expect only half of those units to be set up that way. In our example, that potentially leaves 200 tenants needing a way to pay. About half of those will probably pay online (especially if that method is free and they feel that the website is secure), leaving another 100 tenants who will likely call your facility in order to pay.

Payment Call Timing

  • First of the Month Billing
    If you are on first of the month billing, this means that your team can expect 100 calls between about the 28th of the month through the 2nd or 3rd . At a conservative estimate of 3 minutes per call, that means your staff is going to spend 5 hours or more of talk time over the course of just a few days, which just happens to coincide with your busiest move-in, move-out, (and in some cases, truck rental) time!
  • Anniversary Billing
    This model will spread out payments slightly, but you will still have a higher concentration of billing during this time frame because it is simply busier!

Do they need YOU or just to pay?

  • Direct Payment Telephone Number
    You can provide a “Payment Telephone Number” to every one of your tenants that doesn’t ring to the store, but instead is a 24/7 option for payments that don’t involve your office staff at all!
  • Past Due Notifications
    Not only can you publish a payment line, but you can also use that number when you send out your past-due notices via text message, Email or even if you leave voice mail messages.
  • The Next Step
    ooking ahead, imagine offering your tenants an app for their mobile device that would allow them to pay or set up automatic payments for all future payments!
  • Checking a Balance
    Finally, consider how times your tenants call to simply check a balance. They aren’t ready to make a payment yet. They’re just budgeting (or borrowing) in order to make the payment at a later time. Allowing your Pay by Phone system to handle those calls frees up your office staff to handle other business, like the new tenant across the counter from them.

Live Chat

  • “I need storage, but I’m not ready to talk yet!”
    While some people still do want to talk to a live person when they’re ready to make a buying decision; during their due diligence process, more and more people are relying on Live Chat to gather information in an anonymous setting without feeling pressured to provide their name, telephone number, (and in some cases, a credit card number!) before they’re ready to make a decision.
  • “I just have a quick question”
    According to a 2015 study by ICMI, a customer contact center training facility, chat volumes are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25%. Customers using Live Chat report a 35% greater customer satisfaction rate and a 20% improvement in the customer contact abandonment rate! Finally, consider these statistics from Software Advice – 63% of millennials prefer to have their basic customer support questions handed by live chat versus traditional channels, and are 20% more likely than baby boomers to prefer live chat due to the convenience and limited wait times.
  • Going Mobile
    In addition to the adoption of Live Chat as a primary method of communication, it’s no surprise to see that more and more transactions are being initiated on mobile devices. A mobile app specific to your facility that offers a Live Chat option increases your connection to your tenant, potentially increasing their length of stay!

Customers expect to do business in their preferred method. Providing options to communicate and pay via a website, live person or automated service 24/7 offers flexibility that can translate into more rentals, happier customers and longer stays.

Article Contributions by: Shannon Charbonneau - Director of Client Relations at XPS Solutions

Want To Learn More?

Watch The On-Demand Webinar Now

Watch the on-demand webinar Benefits of Offering Live Chat and Around The Clock Pay By Phone now. Live Chat and 24/7 Pay by Phone features allow your prospective and current tenants to reach you in a way that is most convenient for them. Make sure you’re relevant online and by phone!

Watch The Webinar Now

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