Part of the Storman philosophy is that in order to provide our customers with great software and support, it’s vital that our team have a strong understanding of how self storage facilities operate and how our software fits into their day-to-day operations. To develop this, we send all our new team members out to visit customer self-storage sites so that they can get some hands on experience of the storage business and gain a real-world understanding of how our software is used!
This month, it was Vaishnavi Raj’s turn to visit several of our self-storage customers across New Zealand. Vaishnavi has joined us as a Junior PHP Developer based in our Auckland office. Here’s how she went!
I recently was given the wonderful opportunity to experience our clients’ businesses and experience firsthand, through some on-site work experience with them. I spent four exciting days visiting several of our customer sites, getting to know some of the ins and outs of the self storage industry!
Upon arrival, I had a warm and happy welcome from Maria – the branch manager of Safe Store at Pakuranga – along with two other storage consultants, Scott and Shaheen.
To get our day started, we dived into doing a lock check – I watched along for a little bit, and about halfway through the rounds, gave it a try myself. As part of the morning routine, we also made sure that each of the vacant units were clean and all set for their future storers!
Once the locks had been checked and our vacant units were all clean and ready to be rented, Scott took me through the process of adding leads into Storman Cloud. After our leads were added, I was shown how the “move in” process in the Storman Cloud software works – right through to filling in the agreement and uploading the storer’s identification.
From there, we did our daily follow-ups to keep any leads warm, and sent out some quotes that were requested for particular sized units. When we’d completed all our follow-ups and quotes, it was off to the next site!
We made our way to National Mini Storage where I met Joseph, the site’s storage manager, who filled me in on how the storage facility works given the different structure – this particular site is mostly outdoor and ‘ranch style’ (which I learnt is self-storage lingo for single level, drive-up access!). It was interesting to learn the differences in storage facility configurations and layouts.
To finish up an action-packed first day, we stopped by the new Papatoetoe Safe Store branch. They have just finished adding a new building and we took a tour around their units, including the new extension, which still had that ‘new building smell’. A welcome addition to the new building is lifts for shifting larger goods.
Today, I was on deck with the team at Safe Store in Westgate. This facility is huge, and consisted of mainly indoor units, with only a few outdoor ones. After meeting up with Rick, the branch’s storage consultant, we got started with lock checks – and with such a big facility, it was a pretty long walk!
Once done, we moved on to signing up and moving in some walk-in customers. We entered their agreement into the system (I was interested to learn that this process is the same for renting new units to existing customers), then set up their access code and sent it out to the customer via a Storman Cloud SMS.
We continued our road trip with a stop-in at Swanson Storage, and then the Storage King facility in Swanson. Kris, the site manager of Storage King, is very happy with Storman Cloud as it makes many of her day to day tasks quicker and simpler to do! It was great to know that our software can make the lives of our customers a little easier.
Today was spent back at the Safe Store in Pakuranga, where I started out my adventures. A lot of the day was following up leads.
When we’d finished up with our lead management, I checked the locked out customers and granted access back to those who had brought their accounts up to date. There were also quite a few walk-in customers wanting unit reservations that we helped.
Before the day ended, Maria put what I’d learnt to the test with some customer roleplay! After discussing her needs for residential storage, I helped her sign up and complete the necessary paperwork, and practiced selling her some merchandise such as boxes and padlocks.
Now that I was hitting my stride, the day started with follow-ups for leads to see if they were still looking for self storage.
Then, there was administrative work to be done – walk-in customers to assist, daily reports, emailing of receipts. Shaheem and I manned the front-of-house, and helped a some new storers move in.
To finish up for the day, we cleaned out a unit ready for its next storer, and also completed the Storman unit check – a checklist the software provides to help staff ensure all the units are in order and things are where they should be, a critical part of self storage management .
Throughout my week visiting our customers, everyone I met was incredibly supportive and enthusiastic. I learned so much about storage facilities, and how our software fits into what they do and how they operate.
Maria was an amazing mentor – guiding me throughout my visits, helping me understand their business, and answering my questions without any hesitation. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from her, and to work alongside our customers in their different self storage facilities!