We hope that you, your family, and coworkers are staying safe during the pandemic.
To help you navigate these uncertain times, we've published COVID-19 software best practices and COVID-19 website best practices to help solve the unique problems presented in these uncertain times.

COVID-19 Best Practices - Websites

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With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) recently declared a global pandemic, we’re experiencing a monumental shift in our day-to-day lives. First and foremost, we’re thinking of you and your families, and we hope you’re staying healthy and safe. We know you’re dealing with a lot of uncertainty in your business, which makes this experience even more difficult.

We also know this will pass, and our nation and economy will recover. In the meantime, we’re here to help you navigate this situation by providing practical ways to create a safe, seamless customer experience and sustain your business.

We’ve created this page as a resource for operators using storEDGE Websites to learn how they can utilize its capabilities to solve unique problems presented by COVID-19. As the impacts of the illness develop, we’ll continue to update this page with guidance. 

Is your question not represented here? We’d love to hear from you using this form.

Table of Contents

 


 

 

How can I provide a contactless tenant experience?


One of the most effective ways to prevent the spreading of illness is to practice social distancing. In case you’re not familiar, social distancing is the act of deliberately increasing the physical space between people. In particular, the CDC recommends we increase that physical space to 6 feet to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Self storage isn’t a high volume business in terms of foot traffic, however, you should still focus on enforcing social distancing to keep both your employees and tenants safe. Some operators have even been able to create an entirely contactless tenant experience. See the list below for how you can use capabilities available with storEDGE Websites to provide that safe and seamless tenant experience.

Rental Center
This capability is your biggest ally in providing a contactless experience to your tenants. With it, your tenants can view their rentals, pay their bills, and view and make adjustments to some of their account settings. Additionally, if you enable online move-ins through Rental Center, your tenants will be able to move in, add an additional unit, move out, and more -- all from your website! You can learn more about Rental Center, and facility level settings on our help site. If you are a SiteLink user, be sure to check out our guide on enabling online move-ins.

E-sign

This capability gives your tenants the ability to electronically sign documents throughout their tenant experience. There are also features in either storEDGE or SiteLink Software that help you monitor your e-sign documents as necessary.

To use this capability to supplement a contactless tenant experience, we recommend introducing it to leads over a phone call. Explaining that you’re taking steps to practice social distancing will help establish trust with the lead and give them the confidence they need to move forward with your facility. Explain the documents you’ll be sending them, how to capture their signature, and that they can use their desktops or mobile devices to facilitate these signatures. If you use storEDGE Software, you can learn more about its E-sign capabilities and how to implement E-sign on our storEDGE help site. If you use SiteLink Software, you can learn more about its E-sign capabilities here and how to implement E-sign on our SiteLink help site.

Online payments
Thanks to Rental Center, your tenants have more options than ever for paying their monthly rent. Accepting paper money, like cash or check, for rent payments isn’t possible during a contactless experience. Accepting payments over the phone is always an option but allowing your tenants to make payments directly on your website is faster, easier, and more secure. Plus, when your tenants pay online through Rental Center, they have the option to enroll in autopay, so you never have to worry about them missing a payment. You can learn more about how Rental Center facilitates online payments on our help center. If you are a SiteLink user, check out our guide on how to enable online payments.

 



How can I stay in communication with my customers and leads?

With many businesses temporarily, and in some cases permanently, shutting their doors, people are unsure of which businesses are able to help them during this crisis. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security identified the self-storage industry as “critical infrastructure” and recommended that storage facilities be allowed to remain open amidst the lockdown orders that are being issued in various states. This designation as critical infrastructure unfortunately does not guarantee that all self-storage operations will remain open across the country, and now more than ever, it is important that you keep consumers informed of your business status. storEDGE Websites can help you do this in a number of different ways. 

Customizable Website Content

storEDGE websites make it simple to edit and customize your content so you can easily communicate important messages to your tenants and prospects. By editing pages, formatting text, and uploading pictures, you can clearly indicate whether or not your store has updated things like your policy or hours, so your tenants and prospects always have the latest information about your business. Additionally, you can represent changes you’re making to your tenant experience - such as being contactless - to help build trust with your leads. You can learn more about editing your website content on our help center. If you are a SiteLink user, you can learn more about displaying your facility information on your website.

Hero Section
The hero section, or banner, is the first thing that people see when they visit your website. With storEDGE websites, you can customize the image, copy, and call to action button of the hero section to send a reassuring message to your tenants during the COVID-19 crisis. One way you can do this is to create a new page dedicated to explaining what your facility is doing to help during the crisis and having the call to action button in the hero section redirect to this page. That way, the first thing people see when they visit your website is how your facility is looking out for them! You can learn more about how to edit the hero section on our help site.

Pop-Ups
This capability, which is typically a lead generation tool, is another great way for you to get a message to your tenants and anyone who visits your website. A pop-up can be used on any page of your website and can include simple copy or a form to collect lead information. Similar to the call to action button in the hero section, we recommend using pop-ups as a way to direct your website visitors to the page on your website that outlines the actions that your facility is taking to help them during these uncertain times. You can learn more about how to use pop-ups on our help site. 

 



How can I complete contactless move-ins?


One of the most effective ways to prevent the spreading of illness is to practice social distancing. In case you’re not familiar, social distancing is the act of deliberately increasing the physical space between people. The CDC recommends we increase that physical space to 6 feet to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Self storage isn’t a high-volume business in terms of foot traffic, however, you should still focus on enforcing social distancing to keep both your employees and tenants safe. Some operators have even been able to create an entirely contactless move-in experience. See the list below for how you can use capabilities available in storEDGE Websites to provide that safe and seamless move-in experience.


Rental Center
Rental Center is your biggest ally in providing a contactless experience to your tenants. With it, your tenants can view their rentals, pay their bills, and view and make adjustments to some of their account settings. Additionally, if you enable online move-ins through Rental Center, your tenants will be able to move in, add an additional unit, move out, and more -- all from your website! You can learn more about Rental Center and read about facility level settings on our help site. If you are a SiteLink user, be sure to check out our guide on how to enable online move-ins.

E-sign

This capability gives your tenants the ability to electronically sign documents during your move-in process. There are also features in either storEDGE or SiteLink Software that help you monitor your e-sign documents as necessary.

To use this capability to supplement a contactless move-in experience, we recommend introducing it to leads over a phone call. Explaining that you’re taking steps to practice social distancing will help establish trust with the lead and give them the confidence they need to move forward with your facility. Explain the documents you’ll be sending them, how to capture their signature, and that they can use their desktops or mobile devices to facilitate these signatures. From there, you can provide them with the tools and information necessary to physically move-in. If you use storEDGE Software, you can learn more about its E-sign capabilities and how to implement E-sign on our storEDGE help site. If you use SiteLink Software, you can learn more about its E-Sign capabilities here and how to implement e-sign on our SiteLink help site.

 


 

How can I stay up-to-date on legislative policies and mandates?

With the industry changing as fast as it is, it’s critical that you ensure you’re accounting for all relevant legislative updates. Both the national Self Storage Assocation (SSA) and state associations are great resources for these types of updates. We recommend that you check back with them on a recurring basis, as the landscape is changing rapidly. If you can’t find an answer to your question through those organizations, you should consult your legal counsel. 

 


 

How can I continue to get new leads?

The fear and uncertainty that COVID-19 has caused is shared by business owners and non business owners alike. As a business owner, you’re probably wondering how to ensure that your business stays healthy in the midst of this crisis, and specifically, how to ensure that the leads keep coming so you can keep your occupancy high. Thankfully, there are capabilities with SpareFoot that can help. Below, we’ve outlined some of the ways that storEDGE Websites helps deliver a steady stream of reservations to your facility.

Pop-Ups

This capability is an excellent lead generation tool and a great way to engage people who visit your website but aren’t quite ready to make a reservation decision. A pop-up can be used on any page of your website and can include simple copy or a form to collect lead information. We recommend using pop-ups as a way to let your website visitors know that you are open for business and if you are currently offering any discounts or promotions to help them during these uncertain times. You can learn more about how to use pop-ups on our help site. 

Rental Center

Rental Center is an effective tool for turning website visitors into tenants. The online move-in functionality of Rental Center is a great way to allow website visitors to conveniently choose a unit and pay for it instantly, removing the hassle of scheduling an in person appointment or calling your facility to complete the move-in process. By making the rental process as simple as possible, your website will be able to do the work of converting visitors into move-ins for you. You can learn more about Rental Center and read about facility level settings on our help site. If you are a SiteLink user, be sure to check out our guide on how to enable online move-ins.


 

How can I support my community in a time of need?

These are financially tough times for everybody - operators and tenants alike. The unemployment rate was recently predicted to be around 13% and climbing. For folks that are fortunate enough to still be employed, the timeline for shelter-in-place mandates and returning to the office is uncertain. In the interim, we need to all exhibit patience and be good partners to one another. Below, we’ve included some recommendations on how you might encourage and help folks in your community during these uncertain times.

Customizable Website Content

storEDGE websites make it simple to edit and customize your content so you can easily communicate important messages to your tenants and prospects. By editing pages, formatting text, and uploading pictures, you can clearly indicate whether or not your store has updated things like your policy or hours, so your tenants and prospects always have the latest information about your business. Additionally, you can represent changes you’re making to your tenant experience - such as being contactless - to help build trust with your leads. You can learn more about editing your website content on our help center. If you are a SiteLink user, you can learn more about displaying your facility information on your website.

Hero Section

The hero section, or banner, is the first thing that people see when they visit your website. With storEDGE websites, you can customize the image, copy, and call to action button of the hero section to send a message to your website visitors letting them know that you are open for business and are able to help during the COVID-19 crisis. This is a great place to display discounts or promotions that you may be offering, or to display other information about how your facility is giving back to your community during this crisis. That way, the first thing people see when they visit your website is how your facility is looking out for them! You can learn more about how to edit the hero section on our help site.

Be Flexible

Some portion of your tenants are likely to miss payments resulting from the financial fallout of COVID-19. This is a great opportunity to help your community by being flexible during these times and working with those folks to come up with a solution that benefits both parties. For example, we’ve seen some operators either delaying payments or negotiating discounted rates for a temporary period of time. Helping these folks during their time of need can help create customers and referrals for life as a result.

 

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