StorageMart staff celebrated 2015’s victories and made plans for an even better 2016 at the 3rd annual corporate retreat held at The Elms Hotel & Spa in Excelsior Springs, MO. The Elms has been a sought-out destination for over 125 years with a long and somewhat eclectic history of healing spring waters, illegal gambling and spirits during Prohibition and even ghosts. The hotel was a favorite getaway for criminal masterminds such as Al Capone and “Pretty Boy Floyd,” as well as a haven for President Harry S Truman as he awaited news of his 1948 presidential re-election.
The Elms Hotel & Spa boasts a lavish spa with an indoor grotto, complete with full massage services. The generous spa gift card is a treat among the company’s employees. (If you’ve never had a rose petal salt scrub, The Elms Spa has to make your bucket list!)
But the two-day retreat was not all fun and games and relaxation. StorageMart’s teams reviewed 2015’s goals, learned new processes and explored upcoming opportunities in 2016 to share the story of Easy, Clean, Service.
The StorageMart team had much to celebrate in the annual review included the grand opening of the Sales Resource Center (SRC) and a successful Revenue Management program.
Grand Opening of StorageMart’s Sales Resource Center
StorageMart owned and operated PhoneSmart for nearly 15 years. The call center provided marketing and an off-site sales force for more than 800 self storage facilities, in addition to answering all of StorageMart’s telephone calls.
It became clear that the vast talent and knowledge of StorageMart’s sales experts in the call center was largely untapped because it serviced so many clients. Company officials realized that by focusing this rich talent pool inwardly on its own customers, StorageMart customer would receive even better excellent customer service. So PhoneSmart closed on November 31 and and the StorageMart Sales Resource Center opened on December 11.
The SRC has already begun to use more integrated technologies so that sales representatives can provide a fuller range of expertise and knowledge for each of the company’s locations across the U.S. and Canada.
“By focusing on our customers, we’re able to provide a more intimate service for their needs,” said Kathy Winkleman, vice president of operations. “Our reps will be able to accommodate more specific needs of customers when they’re transitioning or moving – which can be stressful – because our goal is to make moving as easy as possible.”
Employee Customized Training and Continuing Education
StorageMart is the only self storage company that provides a Manager Certification program, including webinars and courses, video training, and real-time sales evaluations. After completing and passing Manager Certification, facility managers are eligible for bonuses and promotions.
The focus in 2015 was to make it easier to train and promote new employees. StorageMart invested in a new learning management system so that it can continue to provide a simple and clean hands-on experience for the company’s newest team members.
Advances in Self Storage Technology
Improvements to StorageMart’s proprietary operating system include lead management tools that make it easier for self storage managers to serve potential customers, a clean user-friendly design to help navigate the operating system quickly, and more detailed and comprehensive information so the company can provide even better customer service based on the specific needs of each customer.
StorageMart Branding and Consumer Reviews
At last year’s corporate retreat, the marketing team placed emphasized the need for customer reviews and the power these consumer ratings hold for potential customers. The team launched an internal marketing program to educate and encourage each staff member to ask customers to review their experience online.
The staff blew this challenge out of the water, increasing the number of online reviews by 973% in 2015. The importance of excellent customer service came from the top, led by the StorageMart’s president, Cris Burnam. Cris read every review submitted in 2015, often offering encouraging feedback to recognize a job well done.
“In 2016, we want is to share our brand promises and deliver Easy, Clean, Service at every property, every day,” said Sarah little, Digital Marketing Director. “And we’ll continue to support local charities. In 2015, StorageMart donated more than $200,000 to non-profit groups, as well as donating storage space to local charities.
Self Storage Revenue Management
StorageMart, in partnership with Veritec Solutions, developed a revenue management algorithm to manage self storage rates by unit size and type across. This is the first time self-storage company has a scalable revenue management system.
Self Storage Business Intelligence
Using big data at StorageMart continues to evolve and is foundational to the company’s success. Nick Confer, director of analytics, shared new reports which provide interactive data features so staff at many levels can analyze key performance indicators at a wide or granular level. “The more we know about our clients’ needs, the better we can serve them, and the numbers reveal a tremendous amount of information,” Confer said.
Employee Relations at StorageMart
The Human Resource department carries the Easy, Clean, Service mission to their “customers” – the StorageMart staff. The department launched a dedicated careers page on the StorageMart website to improve recruiting strategies and has made hiring an easy, clean process to attract talented people and hire them within 15 days.