of SAM’s customers have never used a storage facility before.
increase in overall Google review volume YOY from 2019-2020.
increase in messages since implementing inbox and messaging solutions.
increase in sales leads since implementing inbox and messaging solutions.
Storage Asset Management (SAM) is a York, Pennsylvania- based property management company that specializes in self-storage and has more than 500 locations in the United States. SAM takes a bottom-up approach and markets each of its facilities within their communities, rather than building its corporate brand.
First Step: Getting Reviews
As a predominantly online business, SAM knew early on how important managing an online presence and reputation would be to their success. About 50% of SAM’s customers have never used a storage facility before, so reviews are a good way to earn customer trust, nudge customers to a purchasing decision, and earn rank in search engine optimization (SEO).
The company had seen how useful online reviews were to businesses in other industries like restaurants and hospitality and began their partnership with Reputation in 2015 using Review Requesting. As a result, SAM’s review volume has since skyrocketed, and that review growth has continued on:
Increase in overall Google review volume YOY from 2019 to 2020.
Leveraging Key Tools to Scale the Business
SAM has grown substantially in the last few years and has continued that growth by leveraging its marketing team to connect proactively with both potential and existing customers. The company also “turned on” the chat feature through Google Business once it became available, which the company describes as like turning on a firehouse of communications and requests from customers.
We’ve always been early adopters in the marketing realm, like search, etc. We were one of the first companies to be able to rent a unit online, so we identified quickly that reviews were going to become important. We looked for a company which could help us with a reputation management program, and Reputation met that need for us.”Melissa Stiles, VP of Marketing and Sales, Storage Asset Management
In light of its community-based focus and these new communication options, SAM’s team was receiving a plethora of calls and messages through a variety of
channels from across the country.
The company had attempted to manage chats, direct messages, and other digital communications with customers directly through the native platforms of
Facebook, Google, and others, but found the process difficult and time-consuming. SAM’s team quickly realized it needed an efficient method to communicate with all of the company’s customers in order to maintain a good Google presence, SEO standing, and consumer reputation.
After its positive experience with Reputation’s Reviews solution, SAM added additional Reputation solutions including Surveys, Social, Messaging and Inbox products to their service suite. The company was particularly interested in Messaging and Inbox for two reasons: they wanted to manage all of these communications and accounts from a single dashboard, and they wanted to start drawing out metrics and communication patterns from these digital interactions with customers.
Since implementing Inbox and Messaging, SAM has seen an increase of 5,500+ messages and 2,500+ sales leads.
Through Reputation’s products, SAM was able to better manage these customer communications and noticed several patterns. The first was that about 50% of the messages they were receiving were sales leads, while the other half were from current customers who had requests ranging from the mundane (“How do I pay my bill?”) to the highly specific (“How do I get out of a locked storage facility in Philadelphia?”).
Utilizing Messaging and Inbox made it far easier for SAM to route leads to its sales team and facilitate those customer purchasing decisions than through Facebook, Instagram, or Google’s native platforms. It also gave SAM insights into some of the more common requests its current customers had — as well as how common those requests were in a certain geographic area.
This led the SAM team to develop an innovative strategy in which they utilized message tagging around these customer communications to get a sense of the topics customers were asking about: availability, billing, lease terms, and so on.
After reviewing the tags and messages, the company developed a list of specific FAQs by individual location based on those tagging volumes. For example, if a lot of customers in Albany are asking about leasing details, including information on the local stores’ hours of operation in that region’s FAQ document probably wouldn’t provide much value.
These FAQs have been quite valuable for SAM’s marketing team. They have also been valuable additions for the customer service training and customer strategy development the company is building. Now, SAM team members in specific regions can see some of the more questions and topics their customers are interested in, which they can then proactively address.
Sophisticating the Approach
Making use of Reputation’s Inbox and Messaging products also brought another issue to light for SAM: message response time. Platforms like Google will penalize businesses that they view as not responding quickly enough
(or worse, unresponsive) to customers’ messages through their channels. This can damage the SEO rank of a business, and as an online business, losing SEO rank was the last thing SAM wanted.
Previously, SAM tasked a very small team to respond to all of the messages the company receives through its online channels. With all of the growth SAM was experiencing and continuing to push for, this simply was not sustainable. Instead, SAM turned to Reputation and became an early adopter of its Automated Response feature. The product enabled SAM to set up an auto-response to any online message it receives during business hours letting the customer know that they’ll respond within an hour. SAM also put an auto-response in place for after hours and weekends which directs the customer to the company’s call center, providing the same quick response that customers ha’ve come to expect, regardless of how they communicate.
The SAM team plans to continue leveraging Reputation’s product catalog to further the incredible growth they’ve had over the last handful of years. For instance, in July 2021, they had just reached the milestone of running 300 locations; as of July 2022, they’ve already surpassed the 500 location mark — about 67% growth in just a year!
As SAM’s business continues to grow and mature, Reputation will remain a staunch partner, helping to facilitate that growth alongside the company with innovative new products and features that take the guesswork out of running a business in our online-centric society.
When you’re managing this many pages, you see a notification and then have to figure out which page it came into. Reputation’s tools have been great at pulling that all together. Reputation allows engagement with customers and to be in touch with them in the best way possible.”Melissa StilesVP of Marketing and Sales, Storage Asset Management