16 Feb INSOMNIAC Live! Helps IREM Score 44% Self Storage Conversion Rate
By Alex Hassel, Storage.com
Every time you answer the phone, you just never know who could be waiting on the other side. Jason Carl, District Manager at Investment Real Estate Management, LLC (IREM), has always found that it pays to have someone around to answer the phone at each of the company’s 15 self storage facilities.
Realizing that managers aren’t always available to answer the phone, IREM hired OpenTech Alliance’s call center, INSOMNIAC Live! Especially looking back over the past year, both companies are pleased with the results. OpenTech announced that, in 2015, IREM saw a 44% conversion rate with its help.
Around four years ago, IREM had been using a different call center but wasn’t satisfied with the results. After adding the services of INSOMNIAC Live!, things started looking better. “The other call center wasn’t even comparable,” says Carl.
Again, IREM managers try to answer the phones themselves first. However, if they’re busy helping a customer or the office is closed, calls then roll over to INSOMNIAC Live!
Throughout 2015, INSOMNIAC Live! answered a total of 15,556 IREM facility calls. Of those calls, 2,436 were sales inquiries, including 871 completed unit reservations, 122 scheduled sales appointments, 653 qualified sales leads, and 790 limited leads.
INSOMNIAC Live! Storage Counselors took those calls then collected and forwarded sales leads to IREM store managers in real time. “INSOMNIAC Live!’s people have a sales ability,” Carl says. “They’re able to answer questions and direct callers. If they didn’t set us up the way they did, we wouldn’t have the sales we’re having. I feel really good about it.”
IREM managers take those leads and follow up with the customers right away, closing the deal on a sale. In 2015, IREM managers were able to close on 1,069 rentals after receiving data from INSOMNIAC LIVE!
So how is OpenTech able to make something like a 44% conversion rate happen? Robert Chiti, President and CEO of OpenTech Alliance, says it offers a simple and smooth process.
“This level of success is a team effort. It starts with our dedicated Customer Success Manager working closely with our customer to collect a significant amount of data so when our Storage Counselors are handling sales calls, they are truly empowered with all the information they need to assist the caller,” explains Chiti.
Chiti continues that OpenTech has cutting-edge tools in place to make it all happen. “Our technology plays a big role as well. With seamless integration into the customer SiteLink system, it gives our Storage Counselors access to all the unit inventory, pricing, and specials. During the call, our Storage Counselors record the call and take notes that are immediately emailed to the facility manager so they can promptly follow up with the prospect.”
Chiti emphasizes that although INSOMNIAC Live! is there to give the sales process a strong start, the rest is up to the self storage facility. “Once the call is completed, the baton is passed to the facility manager, and they run with it. They are quick to follow up and continue to stay in contact with the caller. When they show up at the property to complete their rental, the manager is already very aware of the prospect’s reason for needing storage, and they are ready to help them get moved in.”
When an IREM manager does miss a call, Carl says he knows he can rely OpenTech to start the process. “We’re feeling good about our averages. At IREM, we train managers to know the value of a phone call. There could be a $1,600 rental waiting on the other side of the phone. Having trusted OpenTech, their communication is phenomenal. The web portal is phenomenal.”
Chiti is pleased with the 44% conversion rate as well, although he says it’s difficult to rate it in comparison to other facilities OpenTech works with. “It’s really not an OpenTech conversion rate. It’s a team effort, so the conversion success depends on OpenTech doing our job and the manager at the facility doing theirs.”
“Of course,” Chiti continues, “conversion rates vary if, during a time of year, special pricing is being offered…Our rental conversion rate has been higher in some cases, but as I said, there are many factors that contribute to the actual rate and comparing them without understanding all factors would lead to inaccurate conclusions.”
For other self storage operators considering INSOMNIAC Live!, Carl recommends the service. “I’m a pretty big advocate,” he says. “OpenTech goes toe to toe with its competition. For them to be able to do what they do with the quantity of brands they represent, frankly, I’m impressed with their high level of service.”
Chiti says although levels of conversion vary from facility to facility, the level of service remains the same. “Our processes, behaviors, and technology are consistent across our portfolio of customers we service, so their results should be similar if their managers are engaged and work with us as a team.”
Most managers love to have a team of Storage Counselors backing them up and sending them hot leads, so getting a manager engaged is rarely a problem. The public companies have been saying for a few years now that having a professional always available to answer the phone is one of their main competitive advantages over operators that do not use a centralized call center. While rental conversion rates are important, the real issue is, if you miss the call, the chance of converting it to a rental is ZERO,” adds Chiti.
At an average cost of $1,600 per rental, the call center at OpenTech was estimated to drive $1.6 million in incremental revenue for IREM.
IREM operates 15 self storage facilities in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Between its brands—Moove In Self Storage, 140 Mini Storage, and Sierra’s Glen Self Storage—they offer 5,400 units with 575,000 rentable-square feet.