Working with a Call Center

Jon Fesmire |

You have a smoothly-running self storage operation with high occupancy, satisfied customers, and top-of-the-line security. Yet maybe you’ve received a few complaints. It seems tenants have been trying to reach you by phone with no luck.

So, you’ve decided it’s time to consider hiring a call center, a third party company that can answer your calls after-hours or while you’re busy helping customers in person. You may be wondering what exactly the call center can do. How much help can they actually provide? Is it worth the expense?

Let’s look deeper into the matter.

Not Only for After Hours

Depending on the size of your facility, the amount of foot traffic you get, and whether you have a significant number of items for sale, you’ll have one to three people working in the office. It can get busy enough that none of them can answer the phone. When customers call during the day, they may feel annoyed if their calls go to voicemail.

You could hire a dedicated receptionist whose job is to answer and return calls. However, this requires extra training, and in-person customers will expect them to help with questions, too. The alternative is to hire a call center. Their employees are trained to answer all sorts of calls, and will be briefed on common questions for your facility. They can then inform your in-house employees about who called and why, so the people who work directly for you can then sign on new tenants and the like.

Increased Conversions

One big goal of self storage facilities is to convert potential tenants into tenants. The more units you have rented out, the more money the facility makes. When people call a business, they don’t want to go through a series of phone menus, they want to talk to a person who can understand their questions and answer them. You may even be missing calls if they only go to voicemail, as many people simply hang up if they don’t get a real person.

When your employees are busy helping customers, they may have to let the phones go to voicemail. After business hours, calls will only go to voicemail, unless you work with a call center. The person who answers from the call center can do a number of things. They can direct the caller to where on your website they can immediately rent a unit. They can also take a message and assure the customer that you will call them back in the morning, or at a time convenient to them.

Sometimes, even if the customer ends up having to wait to rent a unit, just having spoken to a person will be enough to assure them that your facility cares and may be the right choice.

All Day, Every Day

To be clear, most call center services are 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. If your facility is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can still take calls.

Online Shopping Avoidance

Even now, with the ease of shopping online, many people are reluctant to do it and would rather order via telephone or at a store, in person. So, customers who know they can rent a unit via your website may decide not to. Perhaps they fear that it won’t officially go through, or that they’ll get charged but you’ll have no record of their order.

So, they’ll call your facility for help, but as we’ve covered, they may not be able to get in touch with a person. If you work with a call center though, they can. The call center may not be able to rent them a unit via the phone, as your in-house employees could do. However, they can reassure the customer that either they will hear back from the facility shortly, or that the online process is safe. They may even be able to guide the caller through the process of renting via your website. Once the caller, now a tenant, sees how easy it is and that they’re able to go to the facility and put their belongings in storage, they’ll have confidence in your facility and its practices.

Stay Ahead of the Competition

This one’s a no-brainer! If you have a call center to take calls when you can’t, and the self storage facility down the street doesn’t, you’re going to have a competitive advantage. A potential tenant may look up nearby facilities and call the other guys first. When they don’t get a person, they’ll call you and get a helpful customer service associate at your call center. Call centers are easy to find. As a self storage operator, you can even work with a call center that’s tailored to the self storage industry, such as Call Potential. Enlisting the help of a call center will prevent you from missing calls and it’ll help you focus on day-to-day operations.