by Mark Lusky
Phoenix-based OpenTech Alliance now offers a plug-and-play "bilingual office assistant" called the Insomniac 50 for self-storage companies.
According to an Inside Self-Storage article, "Customers can use the wireless, interactive, touchscreen computer to rent units, make payments, buy tenant insurance, access their accounts and more. Facility managers can monitor and control the entire process from their desktop PC, entering data, selecting options and even pointing out unit locations on the digital property map...The INSOMNIAC 50 includes English and Spanish text and voice prompts, onscreen keyboard and signature capture, a credit card reader, a digital camera and a 15-inch screen integrated with a Windows-based computer."
Measure Your Market
Before you stay up nights figuring out the best way to maximize benefit of the newest Insomniac product in your facility, get clear about your target market. If Spanish-speaking people are a present or potential source of substantial business, obviously promoting your acquisition of a bilingual service center can provide a competitive edge. It costs $1,500, plus a $750 fee for set-up, training and customization, and $75 per month for the INSOMNIAC Software as a subscription.
But, what if you don't operate in an area with substantial numbers of Spanish-speaking people? Before moving on without considering the purchase, examine other benefits that may appeal to a wide swath of potential and present tenants.
As the Inside Self-Storage article details, this kiosk helps operators move toward a paperless environment while enhancing customer convenience. The self-service nature of the kiosk can offer its array of services around-the-clock to make it easy for customers 24/7. And this type of product enables employees to spend more time building customer and community relations and to establish personal connections. In turn, employees empowered to do more than perfunctory paperwork tend to have a higher sense of purpose and self-worth, ramping up morale and making them more valuable overall.
Then, there's always the societal and political statement. Even if you're not likely to benefit from a large Spanish-speaking audience, you may decide to buy the Insomniac 50 to demonstrate your support of cultural diversity.
This list of benefits is only as valuable as knowledge of them in the marketplace. That means marketing and promotion. Don't just buy it; promote it early and often on-site, in social media, through digital communications on your website and email blasts.
From a positioning standpoint, promote this as part of a program of expansion and enhancement at your facility-showing your dedication to continuous improvement on behalf of your tenants.