The self-storage business is rather straightforward. You provide safe and secure spaces for any customer that pays to store their personal property on your site. Yet there’s much more complexity to being a successful self-storage site owner or operator than just that. In fact, thanks to new technological developments, modern facilities offer higher levels of
accessibility to consumers while simultaneously providing higher levels of safety and security as well.
As a result, this means that you, or any other self-storage business owner out there, needs to have an intimate knowledge of the latest digital security technologies currently in development or those just released to the public. A surprising source of information for you in this regard is — believe it or not — Apple, the tech giant most well-known for its iOS mobile devices and its sleek, ultra-powerful desktops and laptops.
You’re likely wondering how Apple, a company more concerned with designing the next must-have iPhone, can have anything to teach you about being a better self-storage operator. The truth is that there are at least three very surprising things to learn from Apple’s latest product launch that can be applied directly to your business.
The Universal Themes of Apple Product Launches
You’re likely asking yourself which of Apple’s latest product launches are up for discussion. Rightly so: it seems like the Cupertino, California company comes out with a new product almost every month, one that wows consumers and competitors alike. The cavalcade of seemingly magical mobile devices is neverending.
The truth is, however, that this discussion is less about specific products and more about what each of these products has in common with other Apple releases. It’s less important to focus on individual products than it is to acknowledge that there’s a universality when it comes to Apple products. Whether it’s a new piece of hardware or a new software application, there are universal themes that accompany Apple products in every new release:
- Heightened security features to protect user privacy
- Revamped accessibility to ensure users can accomplish bigger and better things with these new tools
- An attention to detail that translates to ergonomic and aesthetic excellence
These innovations are common threads that have run throughout the lion’s share of Apple products for over a decade.
But what, if anything, can Apple’s adherence to these themes teach us in the self-storage sector? What sort of lessons can be learned from handheld digital consumer products geared towards mobile connectivity that could possibly be transferable to providing safe and secure long-term storage options to the public?
You’re about to be surprised; here are three things that self-storage owners and operators can learn from Apple product launches.
1. Privacy and Security are Key
One of the most recent Apple product launches includes the newest version of iOS, the operating system it uses for their mobile devices. iPhones and iPads upgrading to iOS 11.3, the update that rolled out in late March of 2018, benefit from Apple’s ever-expanding focus on user privacy. The update includes features such as:
- New provisions for transparency
- Tools for users to control how Apple uses their personal data
- A renewed commitment to safeguarding user data from anyone and everyone — even Apple
Truth be told, Apple has a long-standing history of holding user data sacrosanct. This is one of the core beliefs of the company, and it’s one they have stood behind time and again even in the face of being ordered by the authorities to do otherwise. In fact, they’ve even gone to court over the issue, refusing to add “back door” access to its operating system even though the FBI demanded they do so.
So how can Apple’s high-level commitment to user security translate into a lesson the self-storage industry can learn?
Simply put, the focus on user security through advanced technology is an integral part of the self-storage facility user experience. Secure access control systems ensure that no unauthorized individuals gain access to facilities without the user’s keycode. Outside of door electronic locks on individual doors provide higher levels of security for stored personal items, discouraging theft and vandalism. Additionally, these security features can also provide 24-hour monitoring services throughout your facility, heightening security even further and discouraging both theft and vandalism, especially when combined with door alarms and security cameras.
2. Accessibility and Ease of Use are Key
Apple has always developed its devices with an eye towards making them easy to use. The more fluid and intuitive it is to use the latest iPhone, the more likely you are to purchase one, after all. However, Apple’s focus on accessibility goes much farther than just that; in fact, the company has been focusing on not just general accessibility but has been taking steps to ensure that anyone who wants to use their products can do so, regardless of any possible physical limitations.
One of the biggest splashes made by Apple in recent years is the new focus on providing accessibility to people living with disabilities. These features include support for alternative input control devices, built-in voice-over functionality for the vision impaired, hearing aids that are compatible with iPhone handsets, and actively encouraging developers to provide higher levels of accessibility in third-party apps and services. Much can be learned from this push towards accessibility and the role that technology plays in providing this accessibility. While the need for a self-service facility to be physically accessible to both the disabled and the able-bodied is always going to be important, digital tools and systems that provide users 24-hour access after punching in a code mean facility access is quick and easy. Integrating mobile apps into your self-service facility’s digital security system can provide even more accessibility for your customers, ensuring they can manage their personal items whenever they like.
3. Ergonomics, Aesthetics, and User Experience are Key
If there is anything that Apple is known for, it’s the premium placed on aesthetic user experience. Not only are Apple products imbued with ergonomic design elements, they’re works of art in their own right. From its Apple Watch picking up major design awards to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus featuring an innovative all-glass design to the company in general ranking tops in customer satisfaction over rival Samsung, the high-powered Cupertino design house knows how to please its customers and have them coming back for more.
The lessons you can learn from the company’s presentation aesthetic and focus on customer experience are manifold. Not only that but following in Apple’s footsteps by providing tech-savvy customers with options to control their self-storage site experience leads to higher levels of satisfaction. This satisfaction drives repeat business in the form of renewals and new customers alike.
In fact, addressing the needs of your customers can be as simple — and as innovative — as making your company website mobile-friendly to provide a hassle-free user experience. Adding to this by designing and implementing interactive sitemaps that can show a user where they are within a given site shows your customers that you care about their convenience. Meanwhile, on-site keypads for gates, doors, or even elevators grant automated access and easy payment options.
Bringing it All Together
When it comes to the lessons that Apple product releases can teach us, it’s clear that integrating even just one of the company’s signature features can enrich customer experience and have a significant positive effect on your own business. Whether it’s taking steps to ensure your site is safe and secure, making your site accessible by ensuring access tools are easy to use, or by focusing on aesthetics and user experience, such efforts are sure to bear fruit.
Meanwhile, combining two or even all three of these features together offers synergistic benefits well beyond what you would reap from adopting just a single approach. Much as Apple products that demonstrate an admixture of all three design elements go on to be often wildly successful, integrating all three strategies into your own self-storage site locations is apt to reap substantial rewards in the short and long term.
However, sourcing these technological solutions can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know where to look. You’ll need to partner with an experienced company that provides site security, door automation, and ease of access solutions. If you want to learn more about how integrating these technologies can help grow your self-storage site, contact the experts at PTI Security Systems today.
PTI SECURITY SYSTEMS: PTI Security Systems is the global leader in access control and security solutions for the self-storage industry. PTI provides the most innovative, durable and reliable security products including keypads, wired and wireless door alarms, mobile apps for both tenants and facility staff, video surveillance solutions and powerful security software that integrates seamlessly with most management software on the market today. To learn more or speak with a PTI advisor please visit ptisecurity.com.