Americans like self-storage—90% of self-storage facilities are located in the United States and there are over 68 million square feet in self-storage options to choose from. But for customers in need of a unit, finding the perfect self-storage amidst all those options can feel stressful and overwhelming.

Rather than exacerbating a customer’s existing stress levels, the folks at TNT Storage and Property Management use reviews and two-way messaging to help ease pain points, answer questions quickly, and elevate the customer experience, making it easy for customers to find a storage unit that best fits their needs.

Boxing Up Old Strategies

But according to Spencer Tuohy, the Director of Business Development at TNT Storage, getting customers to share their experiences through reviews was tougher than expected. “Even though people were having good experiences, they weren’t willing to share it because [leaving a review] was such a pain. And by the time they got home, they wouldn’t log in to their computer and then write us a review because it’s out of sight, out of mind.”

TNT tried different approaches, but none were successful. “Getting reviews was super difficult. We tried various things. We tried setting up a laptop in the office. We also tried asking for a review once someone made a payment or rented a unit. And we tried sending email blasts of review invites. None of it really worked.”

Tuohy considered using Trustpilot to help gather more reviews and showcase customer experiences. However, the partnership proved problematic since the reviews would be posted to Trustpilot’s website and not TNT’s. With Trustpilot, there was no way for TNT Storage to respond to negative reviews or remedy bad customer experiences. And for TNT Storage and Tuohy, owning the review process was imperative. “It’s my customer and it’s my business. It shouldn’t be owned by some third party company.”

Making a Move

Upon meeting a Podium representative at a local tradeshow, Tuohy’s solution became obvious: Podium could help them gather reviews conveniently and quickly—and make it easy for customers to connect with them through their channel of choice.

And unlike Trustpilot, Podium’s Review tool provided total control and transparency for both the unit tenant and TNT. Via Podium’s two-way messaging, TNT could completely own the review invite process, allow customers to choose where the review was posted, and TNT could respond quickly to negative and positive reviews alike.

Additionally, Podium could be easily integrated with Tuohy’s CRM. This enabled TNT to automatically send a review invite when the experience was fresh in the customer’s mind. “Podium is tied into our site link API. So after somebody rents a unit, about anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes later, they get a Podium review invite texted to them.” 

This feature helped TNT aggregate more reviews and put customer experiences up on a pedestal for prospective customers to see. Since May 2017, TNT’s reviews have gone from 475 reviews to 2,504 reviews across 55 locations. And should a negative review pop up, TNT Storage makes a concerted effort to respond within 24 hours. “We don’t argue semantics on the internet. I’d rather get somebody on the phone and see if we can resolve it that way.”

Meanwhile, Podium’s Webchat proved to be a bit of a surprise for TNT because it helped open up new lead opportunities for TNT. “I thought Webchat was going to be current customers chatting in with us. It’s actually a lot of new leads and new customer tenants.”

Not only that, Webchat helped open up the phone lines and allow customers to connect with TNT over their preferred channel. “I want to get the right space for them. So however they want to talk to me, they can. If they want to call me, email me, chat me, text me, whatever they wanna do, I’ll talk to them any way they want to. I don’t want to miss out on a tenant because we don’t have texting or a webchat service and that’s how they prefer to do talk.”

Unpacking Measurable Success

For TNT Storage, the results were clear. Not only were they able to showcase customer experiences more easily, but they were fielding more inbound leads because of the boost in customer reviews. And in the span of 12 months, TNT received over 3,000 new leads thanks to Podium’s comprehensive, centralized interaction platform.“You deliver what was promised. And the customer support has been super fast and really easy. They get stuff resolved really quickly. Plus, Podium is a service that actually works and it’s been great for our business.”