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Self Storage Lab

Self Storage Lab

By swivl

Join us for our brand new show, The Self Storage Lab–a new podcast deconstructing how operators are adapting to today’s technology-driven landscape and how it might impact your business.

In the age of hyper-informed, store-anywhere customers, your business needs to be always on, data-driven, and customer-centered.

Whether you’re a thousand location operator or looking to get into self storage with your first property, nerd out with us as we help you decide what’s best for your business.
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Management Styles & Tools (Hub & Spoke, Remote, etc.)

Self Storage LabMay 08, 2023

Management Styles & Tools (Hub & Spoke, Remote, etc.)

Management Styles & Tools (Hub & Spoke, Remote, etc.)

Welcome to the Self Storage Lab — where we deconstruct how operators are adapting to today’s technology-driven landscape and how it might impact your business.Have you ever reached that point where running your self-storage property just feels like too much to handle? The good news is that you've got options! In episode 9 of the Self Storage Lab podcast, Kyle, Mason, and Rodolfo discuss the varying management styles in the self storage industry and how they have led to changes in the day-to-day functions of operating teams.

Mentioned in this episode:

The transition period in the industry

The shift from traditional brick and mortar management to remote, unmanned, and virtual management The rise of technology and changing consumer expectations The impact of COVID-19 on management styles

Different management styles

Fully remote or unmanned management Hybrid management styles Automated management

Which management style is right for you?

The benefits and challenges of the different styles of management The role of human involvement in remote management The need for reliable technology and security measures The importance of customer service and personal interaction The potential for robots and other technologies to replace human involvement

The shift in management styles in the self storage industry

The importance of focusing on sales and service centers and boots on the ground personnel Viewing management styles as a customer journey The importance of the first-time rental experience 70% of renters are first-time renters

The role of technology in improving the customer experience

The potential for cloud-based software, mobile apps, and kiosks to improve efficiency and convenience The need for reliable technology to protect sensitive data The potential for technology to improve the ongoing customer experience

Making the decision for your business

The importance of finding the right balance for your business and customers Pros/Cons of In-house management Pros/Cons of Third-party management The economies of scales of Third-party management

Remote vs. Unattended facilities

Is it truly unmanned/unattended? The benefits/challenges of remote management What’s the difference between remote and hub and spoke? What’s the deal with unattended facilities? Finding the right balance

The Importance of Simplification

How to streamline the Customer Journey to bring uniformity Simplifying the technology stack to have one way to do as much as possible is key to success How to optimize the Rental and Sales Process

Leveraging automation in self-storage management

The impact of technology on hiring and employee turnover rates The importance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in remote management The role of technology in enhancing property value and attracting higher-end tenants Tools and technologies for remote management, including video calling, contact centers, and automated locks AI for predictive maintenance and enhanced security Thinking outside the box and applying retail strategies to self-storage management and operations.

Thank you for listening. Please leave any feedback and we encourage you to subscribe to get the latest episodes instantly.

May 08, 202301:13:45
ChatGPT Update! Things are moving fast

ChatGPT Update! Things are moving fast

Mar 28, 202301:22:14
Omnichannel Communication

Omnichannel Communication

Long gone are the days when customers only had one or two options for interacting with a company. Today’s customers move freely through digital and analog channels, using telephones, web chat, social media, and others to make purchases, find solutions, initiate returns, and more.

In today's episode, we will be discussing the importance of having a cohesive communication strategy across all channels, including email, social media, and in-person interactions. We will also delve into the role that technology plays in enabling shoppers a seamless, consistent experience wherever they engage with your brand

Some of the topics we will be covering in today's episode include:

The definition of omni-channel communication and why it matters We will dig into benefits you might expect from a successful transition Examples of successful omni-channel communication in action A look at trends to keep an eye on in the new year

We hope you enjoy this episode and come away with a better understanding of the importance of omni-channel communication in today's world.

Show Notes

1:23 - What is Omnichannel? Defining Omnichannel Communication and why it is important Expected response times for main communication channels (8:15) The difference between Omnichannel and Multi-Channel 11:43 - Benefits of Omnichannel Strategy How can you leverage an omnichannel strategy to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty? Companies with a strong omnichannel strategy retain an average of 89% of their customers. Consistency is KEY How to eliminate friction and silos within your organization? 13:52 - Talk is talk. Time to get our hands dirty. How to create a plan? Who in your organization should be involved in creating an omnichannel strategy? How to go about creating an action plan to implement the strategy? How to create a strategy that combines both in-person interactions to online services? 17:25 - Examples of Companies Doing Omni-Channel Right Can I use Apple as an example for every topic?! We discuss how some world-renowned brands are using an omnichannel strategy Who in Self Storage is doing omnichannel right? 24:35 - How It Affects Operators What are some of the common pitfalls and challenges business face when implementing an omnichannel strategy? How to make the transition from a single-channel and multi-channel strategy What questions to ask when implementing this strategy? How to incentivize your team successfuly? 31:52 - How to leverage technology to achieve a true omnichannel communication What’s the role of Automation in an omni-channel strategy? What is a “channel” and which ones should I be paying attention to? At what point in the customer’s journey do store managers need to get involved? 39:53 - Pet Peeves Some fun personal anecdotes of bad omnichannel experiences 44:47 - Self Storage Wrapped | Future Trends Conversational AI will continue to permeate communication stacks Amazon Go - style Self Storage facilities? Can technology create more human connection in the industry?

Feb 22, 202353:16
ChatGPT & Generative AI

ChatGPT & Generative AI

We spend a majority of the today’s show nerding out about ChatGPT’s technology in general, discuss some philosophical questions, use cases, and it’s limitations.

If you want to get right to the meat of how this affects the self storage industry - fast forward to 50m30s

The rest of the following show notes were *** WRITTEN BY ChatGPT ***


In this episode, we will be discussing the latest breakthrough in language technology, GPT-3, and its impact on the self-storage industry. GPT-3, which stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3, is an autoregressive language model developed by OpenAI that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. The model was launched in November 2022 and reached 1 million users just five days after its initial launch.

Segment 1: What the heck is GPT-3?

GPT-3 is a large language model that predicts the probable sequence of words. It was trained on a massive corpus of text with more than 175 billion parameters and was taught how to pick up on writing patterns by analyzing millions of conversations. The model has an input layer, where the user inputs a prompt, and an output layer, where the model generates a response that sounds "human-like." GPT-3 is based on the GPT-3.5 architecture, which includes three models: text-davinci-002, trained by supervised fine-tuning on human-written demonstration, and samples rated 7/7 by human labelers on overall quality scores, and the most recent text-davinci-003, which includes reinforcement learning with human feedback (RLHF), a reward-based model trained on comparisons by humans.

Segment 2: How did GPT-3 get so smart?

GPT-3 is the latest iteration in a series of models, including GPT and GPT-2. The model's intelligence is derived from a massive corpus of text with more than 175 billion parameters. Beyond GPT-3, what does the future hold?

Segment 3: Use cases

Some examples of GPT-3's capabilities include sending and responding to emails, writing cover letters, building Excel formulas, and creating creative projects such as poems and short stories.

Segment 4: Limitations

GPT-3's limitations include its inability to distinguish between bullshit and reality, its lack of understanding of math, and the fact that the code it generates may not always run correctly.

Segment 5: Impact on the Self-Storage Industry

GPT-3's advancements may affect technologies and processes such as Property Management Systems (PMS), the analysis of BI databases, and call centers/customer support. Specific use cases in the self-storage industry include generating emails and messages, sales pitches, and responses to Google reviews. It can be eerie as to how human-like GPT-3's responses can sound, but it still has errors.



Tips and Tricks to using chatGPT:


ChatGPT Limitations

OpenAI Blog

OpenAI Alignment Research

OpenAI Moderation Tool

The AI Revolution | Wait But Why

Jan 13, 202301:10:57
Reputation Management

Reputation Management

Welcome to the Self Storage LAB — where we deconstruct how operators are adapting to today’s technology-driven landscape and how it might impact your business.

In today’s business landscape, your online presence and reputation is mission critical to helping you stand out in the sea of competitors. Reviews are one such way to stand out. If you give an unparalleled customer experience, your customer’s won’t keep it a secret. They will share it! Reviews are a Transfer of Trust, the Modern Referral mechanism.

Your brand is your business. And your online reputation is a huge part of your brand.

We explore:

What is Reputation Management and why does it matter? The value of a reputation management strategy Examples of brands doing it right Innovative ways to Collect Reviews

Show Notes

Nerdy Numbers Corner - Why Does It Matter? Defining Reputation Management Mason and Rodolfo relay some of the numbers they found researching Reputation Management. Reviews IRL Amazon and Yelp reliance on reviews
Wirecutter buying advice Twitter verification Google Maps orders Rodolfo’s dinner Brands to live by Apple and Nike - High Quality and Aspirational Southwest - Loyalty and Freedom Costco - Quality and Affordability Disney - Feel Good Stories Subaru - AWD and Mountains Self Storage Operators build their reputation Google is King Getting involved in your community Brand trust is the long term investment How To: Reputation Management 101 WHY? Reviews lead to more sales Pillars of Reputation Management Build
Using sentiment throughout the customer journey to optimize for positive reviews Gold Standard: Net Promoter Scoring Turning detractors into promoters: Acknowledge, Align, Assure
Incentives and strategy for more reviews Put that review to work Social Proof and the Trust Economy Just Reply! Showcase them on your website Turn that frown upside down. Handling negative reviews Review gating discussion Decision Time Google My Business Does it integrate? Does it support multiple locations? Can I manage my listings? Insights and Analytics offerings? Other features to make the job easier? Other Misc Links Wendy’s Twitter Wendy’s best tweets Typeform Qualitrics Uberall
Jan 09, 202301:01:21
Email Marketing

Email Marketing

Welcome to the Self Storage Lab — where we deconstruct how operators are adapting to today’s technology-driven landscape and how it might impact your business.

Even with facility occupancy at all-time highs this year, operators should be exploring fresh ways to market their facilities. Even in a booming market, you can build momentum and capitalize on the steady demand.

By embracing new Email Marketing concepts, you can stay ahead of the curve, engage new tenants, and educate customers on your facility amenities and company news.

We breakdown how it affects Operators and Customers alike, what to look for when making a decision, and discuss some tools you can use to streamline your Email Marketing.

We explore:

The benefits of Email Marketing Email Marketing Best Practices List Building What to track and what not to track Segmentation and Personalization at scale Community Building Email Reputation Email Marketing Pet Peeves

Show Notes:

What is Email Marketing Overview of the Best Practices for Email Marketing
The importance of a checklist before sending a campaign
Designing your Email and Leveraging Templates Audience and List Building Is it worth buying a list?
Criteria operators should identify to meaningfully segment their audience
Leveraging Email Marketing to test content
Your secret weapon: Facility waitlists!!
List Health tools: Litmus and Sender Score Transactional vs Marketing Emails Content Segmentation
The importance of having a campaign goal
Example email campaigns
Don’t be afraid of the Unsubscribe button! What to Measure Top KPIs every operator should measure
A/B Testing as a tool
It is critical to understand your main driver
UTM parameters and link tracking Best times to engage your list Using data and parallel industry benchmarks to help inform you Top Email Marketing Players SBOA’s newsletter template
StoragePug’s shareable content
Learns from Extra Space and Public Storage
Superhuman and Sketch as Case Studies Tools and recommendations An Operator’s decision and purchase checklist
Top features to look out for when purchasing
swivl’s email marketing tech stack: Mandrill/Mailchimp, Sendgrid, FMS integrations
E-commerce as a case study: Klaviyo, Active Campaign
Generative AI tools:
Nov 30, 202256:38
Business Intelligence & Analytics

Business Intelligence & Analytics

Welcome to Self Storage Lab — where we deconstruct how operators are adapting to today’s technology-driven landscape and how it might impact your business.

Today, we dive into the numbers that make your business run. We will dive into the new buzzword every operator is talking about, Business Intelligence (BI), why attribution is so important, data privacy, and how to setup an infrastructure to measure the right data.

What we cover:

BI is becoming more prevalent Attribution piece It’s not just about measuring, it’s about the questions you are asking Analytics should help you tell a story Data Privacy + Stats being collected Tools and resources Operators should be aware of Defining BI What is BI?
IBM “What is Business Intelligence?” The biggest misconception A Self-Storage industry in transition Brick & Mortar toward a digital experience Why it’s important? Ask the question and measure the process KPIs and OKRs What should I measure? Website Analytics → Google Analytics Where do they come from? How do they navigate my website? So many data silos How do my different data sources all talk to each other? Microsoft BI Attribution The why? Know where your revenue is coming from Understanding what is driving the business decisions Where did they go? Understanding bounce rates What is an “exit event” and what can you do about it? Your contact center The players Average time to pick up Average chat time Other things to measure Ratings and reviews Auto-payment enrollment Data Privacy & Data Bias Bad actor examples of inappropriate tracking Brave browser Duck-duck-go Safari Privacy Best practices to get customers to opt-in Shake my hand and say hello before you ask for my information Making a data tool decision Google suite (GA4 and Tag Manager) Ability to integrate into current software stack Intuitive interface Make sure it’s secure Mason’s favorite BI tool - Microsoft Excel & Apple’s Numbers Other resources Use Youtube LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda) Coursera
Nov 08, 202244:49
Websites - Your Digital Storefront

Websites - Your Digital Storefront

Welcome to Self Storage LAB — where we deconstruct how operators are adapting to today’s technology-driven landscape and how it might impact their business.

As the first tru episode of our podcast, we wanted to dive into one of the most, maybe even THE MOST important tool an operator can use to ensure they have an Online Presence. Your Website.

Your digital Storefront.

The rise of digital marketing has created different touch-points for customers to engage with your brand. The goalposts have shifted and prospects are now further down the marketing funnel when they eventually talk to your store team.

Today we talk about how to think about your website customer journey, must have components and tools, and what the decision process look like.

---------------------------------------------- Start thinking about your audience Who and how do customers get to your digital storefront? Consumer shopping habits Chinese v American Shoppers. AI Super Powers 4 second impressions “above the fold” Components of a website Logo, Title, Why Should I care Don’t make me read Click Funnels SEO Mind the Google A look at the digital customer journey Brochure and e-commerce The world of Apple 3 clicks to what I want The non obvious “What time do you open?” Confused about how to pay A/B Optimization What converts better What things to test Offers Tools: Google Optimize
Using Google Analytics as your North Star 🌟 Mobile Design Meet your customers where they are 62% of website traffic comes from mobile 4.3B mobile users No one-size fits all solution Technology Stack “CMS” or your Content Management System Wordpress is massive Kyle’s starry eyes: Webflow Self Storage options Questions to Ask What does it cost? Can I customize it? Do you know your brand? When should I use paid acquisitions? How do you help my SEO? Other Resources StoragePug ReadWrite StartupNation

Oct 13, 202247:05
Who we are, what this is, and why we're doing it

Who we are, what this is, and why we're doing it

Welcome to the first episode of The Self Storage Lab. Today we dive into who we are, what this podcast is about, and why we're doing this. 

For more information about what we do at swivl, check out our website:

Also, be sure to check out the Operator's Blueprint:

Sep 19, 202213:50
Introducing The Self Storage Lab

Introducing The Self Storage Lab

Join us for our brand new show, The Self Storage Lab–a new podcast deconstructing how operators are adapting to today’s technology-driven landscape and how it might impact your business.

In the age of hyper-informed, store-anywhere customers, your business needs to be always on, data-driven, and customer-centered.

Wether you’re a thousand location operator or looking to get into self storage with your first property, nerd out with us as we help you decide what’s best for your business.

Sep 01, 202201:34