Analysis of phone calls highlights consumer issues that trigger storage bookings

March 31, 2014 1
Analysis of phone calls highlights consumer issues that trigger storage bookings

If a potential customer calls your facility asking about video surveillance, climate control and safety, it’s a pretty good bet that the person will wind up booking a unit.

That’s just one of the findings of a new analysis of phone calls to storage facilities across the U.S. Marchex, a mobile advertising technology company, performed the analysis.

About 70 percent of callers who inquire about video surveillance, climate control and safety end up reserving a unit, confirming a reservation or making an appointment to visit a facility, the analysis found. The analysis looked at calls made to U.S. storage facilities in the past year.

“In our analysis of more than 20,000 phone calls, it was clear that storage facilities aren’t just a place to stash and forget about your spare belongings,” said John Busby, senior vice president of the Marchex Institute, the research arm of Marchex. “People really value safety, protection and privacy when choosing where to store their stuff.”

Geographic Breakdown
Other findings of the analysis:

  • Consumers in Washington, DC, were most likely to ask about “privacy,” followed by those in Minnesota, Missouri, Indiana and South Carolina. Privacy refers to the safety and security of a facility.
  • Questions about climate-controlled units came most often from consumers in Nevada, followed by those in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.
  • Consumers in Texas were most curious about self-storage insurance, followed by those in New York, Illinois, Michigan and Massachusetts.
  • Storage of furniture and appliances was sought most by consumers in Louisiana, followed by those in Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi.
U.S. Capitol

The analysis showed that Washington, DC, consumers are concerned about facility “privacy.”

It’s Not All About Price
This data shows that certain features, such as video surveillance and climate control, can be a big factor in determining whether a customer rents a unit at your facility, according to Busby.

“Customers are not always just looking for the cheapest place to store their stuff,” he said. “It’s all about remembering that personal attachment that people have to their things, even if these items may seem worthless to the rest of us.”

‘Reserve Now’ Mindset
Busby pointed out a major concern about phone calls from consumers—not answering those calls at all.

“When no one picks up the phone during the day, that’s essentially saying to a customer, ‘Call another self-storage facility.’ We know that a significant portion of customers who take the action of calling up a business are already in a ‘reserve now’ or ‘buy now’ frame of mind,” he said. “These customers have likely done online research, which means that calling is often their last step before making their business with you official.”

Even if you don’t have staff available to answer the phones day and night, at least make sure the phones are being answered during peak times, Busby said.

The analysis showed that 68 percent of callers want to talk in the morning about reserving a unit or coming in to look at a unit. By the afternoon and evening, consumers are less likely to take the next step in the booking process, with just 32 percent of callers inquiring about reserving or visiting a unit.

“The self-storage industry is dominated by small business owners, and many of them don’t have the capacity to field calls all day,” Busby said. “This data can at least tell owners the most appropriate times to staff phone lines and, more specifically, what features their employees should be ready to answer questions about.”

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  • Rchiti

    John, great post… It is pretty amazing that there are still so many self storage companies that do not use a call center service to ensure they never miss an opportunity to rent a unit.

    We have been operating the INSOMNIAC LIve! call center for over five years now and we are amazed when we talk to owners that think their managers are not missing any calls. It is not a knock on managers, they have lots of task to perform and are very seldom just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.


    Robert A. Chiti