Learn why one of California's most highly reviewed self-storage facilities uses text messages to communicate with new and existing customers.
A-1 Self Storage is the self storage division of the Caster Group, a third-generation family-owned company headquartered in San Diego with 4.8 million square feet in real estate properties.
More and more customers wanted to be reached by text message. A-1 needed to text-enable 50+ locations, without affecting their ability to place calls.
SimpleTexting added SMS capabilities to A-1’s existing landlines. Customers frequently remark that they appreciate being able to send a text to get help.
According to analysts at IBISWorld, the total revenue for the storage industry was nearly $40 billion in 2019. One of the fastest-growing players in this sector is A-1 Self Storage. They have 53 locations in California, with plans to add more in 2020.
With thousands of units and high occupancy rates, the team at A-1 has to be highly efficient when it comes to customer communication. There are leads to follow up with, bill payments to remind people about, questions to answer—the list goes on.
In the past, the team at A-1 handled most of their communication by phone.
“But let’s be honest, nobody wants to answer phone calls,” says Cori Garrod, A-1’s digital marketing manager. That’s why her team sought out a business texting platform.
“Our customers began to grow increasingly frustrated with the inability to contact us by text,” Cori explains.
She needed a solution that would allow her team to place calls and send texts from the same local numbers that their customers were already familiar with. With SimpleTexting, she was able to text-enable the landlines used at all 53 locations. (And keep the telephony provider they were already happy with.) Now, calls go through as usual, and text messages are routed to the SimpleTexting platform. Each manager has a dedicated login and number, which means they only see the messages for their location.
"We initially tried it at three locations then rolled it out to all 53 once we saw how easy and successful it was."
Text messages have a wide variety of use cases. As Cori puts it, “We’ve found it’s really successful in a couple of different ways. Perhaps most importantly, servicing our existing customers.”
It’s easy to ignore a call or forget to listen to a voicemail. This is especially an issue when it comes time to remind customers about potential late fees. A-1 now sends a courtesy text message to customers who have an overdue balance.
Texting has also helped A-1 close more new customers. When an inquiry comes in via their website or a phone call, the manager of the appropriate location can follow up by text. And if a customer prefers a phone call, they can always call the same number the text was sent from.
With so many locations, A-1 has a lot of inquiries to stay on top of. SimpleTexting’s features make it easy to stay organized and efficiently reply to messages. For example, A-1’s team can sort conversations by resolved, unresolved, time waiting, or time received. This means customers hardly ever have to wait for a reply to their questions. A-1 can see at a glance who’s been waiting the longest and get back to them right away.
“We use the template feature a lot, it helps us save time because we don’t have to rewrite common messages,” says Cari, adding that they have templates for new inquiries, pricing questions, failed auto charges, and more.
Customers have responded well to the ability to text for customer service.
"They appreciate being able to communicate with us using the channel they prefer. We’ve even had some reviews that specifically say, ‘Hey they’re really easy to communicate with. They can even text!’"
Are you curious about how texting can benefit your customers and your bottom line? Why not sign-up for a 14-day free trial of SimpleTexting? We’ll set you up with everything you need to text-enable your business.
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