It’s a random Tuesday, and a storage facility you manage has just gotten an online review. The customer who wrote it gave you four out of five stars and said “Clean property and friendly service, but I wish the hours were better.”
It’s just a review, right? Wrong. That review is the story of your business, the thing that drives your SEO and the deciding factor in whether or not a customer will choose your storage facility over someone else’s.
Online testimonials matter, and if you’re not getting enough positive reviews—or enough reviews period—a reputation management company like BirdEye can help. Here’s why every self storage operator should invest in this service:
Online Reviews = Content
Every self storage business needs content. If your website has self storage tips, a blog and size guide videos, that’s wonderful, but you should look at online reviews as content too. Reviews serve as a content marketing tool. If you have a steady stream of excellent reviews, this will tell a positive, unbiased narrative about your business.
It’s the Key to Good SEO
Online reviews help you rank higher so that new customers can find you.
“In the self storage industry, brand doesn’t have a dominance,” says Andy Stutz of BirdEye. “The majority of consumers just Google “storage near me.”
You definitely want to be on the first page of results after a customer types that in. Online reviews make that happen because of how significantly the Google algorithm weighs them when determining your rank. According to Stutz, there are four quadrants that affect this.
“There’s review diversification, which accounts for the source of the review, the time of the review and the location of the review,” says Stutz. “There’s velocity, which is constant generation of new reviews. There’s quality, which is the review score itself. And there’s responsiveness, which is you responding to reviews.”
Responding to Reviews is More Important Than Ever
Speaking of responsiveness, do you have time to manually respond to every single online review that’s written about each storage facility you operate? This time-consuming task can be automated by a reputation management company. Responding to online reviews can not only turn an unhappy tenant into a happy one, but it can also gain the trust of customers you don’t even have yet.
“A negative review can cost you up to 30 customers in a given month,” says Stutz. “But when you respond to it, the person who left the negative review might update it or delete it, saving you 30 customers.”
Responding to online reviews can also help you tap into the service recovery paradox, which is a psychological term for what happens when a customer sees a company make an effort to fix a problem.
“If you have 4.5 stars and one scathing review and you address it, the service recovery paradox shows that you are trustworthy because you tried,” says Stutz, “That’s why responding is important.”
Customers Trust Online Reviews
What’s the first thing you do when you’re looking for a restaurant, hotel, gym, mechanic or literally anything else? If you’re like 86 percent of customers, you look at online reviews. Customers trust online reviews to make purchasing decisions, so it’s necessary to have them. And it’s equally important that they’re recent, that there’s a lot of them and yes, you guessed it, that they’re singing your praises.
BirdEye’s review-centered approach to online management fully integrates with your PMS to automate that traditionally tedious process of requesting, monitoring and responding to online reviews. Approximately two weeks after a customer moves in or out of your storage facility, BirdEye sends a user-friendly review request that logs the customer into Google so that it’s easy for them to leave a review. There’s also an option to give you direct feedback instead of leaving a review, which prevents negative reviews from going public.
For Tara L. Botkin-Longwell, Operations Manager at Storage 4U, the decision to go with BirdEye was twofold: low cost and tangible results.
“We’ve been using Birdeye for three to four months now,” says Botkin-Longwell. “It’s a lot of bang for your buck and it is nice to get a heads up when there are things being written about you online. It’s good to be proactive, and this is a great tool for that.”
Interested in using BirdEye to boost your SEO by gaining more positive online reviews?
Gain access to online reputation management plus other vendor services like automated access control, self storage brokerage and more by joining the Storelocal co-op.