29 Apr Store Here Opens New Self Storage Call Center
By Alex Hassel, Storage.com
Less than a year after Tron Jordheim joined Store Here Self Storage Management, a new call center has emerged from the brand. Call Here is a new service the company has launched to give self storage owners and operators a cost-effective way to drive more rentals and process payments from renters.
Before joining Store Here, Tron spent around 15 years with StorageMart, building its call center PhoneSmart from the ground up. When he started back in 2000, call centers for average operators didn’t exist. However, by 2015, StorageMart merged the PhoneSmart brand with OpenTech Alliance’s INSOMNIAC Live!, and it was time for Tron to move on.
It wasn’t long before Tron joined up with James Hanrahan, Ryan Rogers, and Christopher Weber, the heads of Store Here. Tron became the Business Development Manager for the company and discussion about a new call center followed.
Tron explains, “[We] all had experience running call centers in the past. Between the four of us, we have overseen probably six million phone calls or more…We took the best practices from our past experiences and looked at all the interesting new technologies and could not resist having a call center for our own stores. Then, we innovated a very interesting billing model for our third-party management sites and found that the system would work for operators that did not use us for third-party management, too.”
Store Here had a soft launch for clients in February 2016. In April 2016, it expanded services for all other interested self storage businesses.
Call Here has a different kind of business model compared to other call centers. The company says where a self storage facility would normally pay between $300 and $500 a month for basic services, Call Here offers those same services to storage owners for free.
So how does that work? “On the basic plan, we charge the tenant making a payment a convenience fee,” Tron says. “We get that convenience fee. When we create a reservation, we charge the caller a reservation fee that we keep. The reservation fee buys a free lock and a free month rent from the storage site. So the owner does not pay us any additional money.”
Tron continues, “All they need to do is to give a free lock and a free month to the tenant. If the owner does not use Call Potential directly, there is no fee for us doing the integration. The owner would pay Call Potential a small monthly fee for using the software module, which is around $80-90 a month if they used Call Potential directly.”
Assuming a self storage business uses software integrating with Call Potential, Call Here’s basic services includes taking payments for current tenants, creating reservations for new inquiries, and handling basic customer service questions.
Tron adds that Call Here offers additional services at competitive prices. “The first upgrade is creating the immediate rental [assuming your management software is compatible]. We can rent the caller a unit right there on the phone, take the first payment, and send the e-sign lease to the new tenant. Then, we tell the new tenant how to check in, based on how the client wants to handle check-ins. For this upgrade, we charge only $75 for each immediate rental. Sweet, right?”
Rogers, who is not only a managing partner at Store Here but also the founder of Call Here, says the call center uses groundbreaking ideas. “Store Here is driven to innovate all aspects of self storage property management, and offering a free call center to clients and others in the industry is a big innovation. We are using a mix of innovative technologies, ground-breaking billing strategies, and a network of at-home agents to offer an alternative to traditional call center operations and traditional fee schedules.”
It’s true there are several other competitive self storage call centers out there, but Tron is certain Call Here will be able to hold its own.
“There is plenty of business to go around,” he says. “There are owners who would prefer one offering suite over another. For us, because of how we have developed our cost structure, our staffing system, and our billing system, we can make a small but respectable margin no matter how few or how many calls we answer. So we are not under pressure to get to a break-even point. Our break-even point has already been reached. This frees us up to concentrate on refining our model, focus on making reservations and immediate rentals, and build our third-party management platform.”
Moving forward, Tron is looking forward to seeing Call Here grow.
“We are very excited. It is fun. It drives business our way,” he says. “It is rewarding to work with happy and successful phone sales agents. It makes our store owner clients happy. The call center is also a super add-on for our third party management platform that helps drive more revenue and higher NOI for our management clients.”