Even though PhoneSmart has operated as a self storage insider for several years, you may not be familiar with the company’s background.
You can add this to your self storage diary entries.
Although PhoneSmart has only been in operation since December of 2000, its founders have been in the property management and self-storage business since 1974.
PhoneSmart is a subsidiary of Warburg-StorageMart, a 300 million dollar company with over 40 self-storage facilities in 7 states. StorageMart is operated by the Burnam family. Many people have met Mike and Cris Burnam over the years at self-storage conventions and expos.
Prior to StorageMart, the Burnams had built their Storage Trust business into a 250 facility REIT.
After realizing what the potential impact could be from gaining one or two additional rentals per month at 250 properties, Storage Trust decided to capture its missed calls.
Storage Trust developed call center technologies and systems for an outside call center provider that took calls for all of its stores. Storage Trust spent about $500,000 in development and service fees over a one year period in which more than 60,000 calls went into the call center.
It was a shock to see that the average facility was missing about 20 rental inquiries per month. The end results: additional rentals and an increase in the bottom line were very impressive. Although it became apparent quite quickly that the typical call center model was not what was required.
So plans were drawn up to bring the technology and experience in-house and establish a Storage Trust call center. By handling the call center internally, Storage Trust felt it could control costs, significantly increase the number of net rentals and be able to direct the technology and development.
Before the in-house call center could become a reality, another storage company bought out Storage Trust. However, there were about 15 facilities in the package that did not fit into the takeover plan, so the Burnams bought them back and started all over again as StorageMart.
One of the first things that StorageMart did was to hire the former IT chief from Storage Trust, Monte Ellis. He took their plan for a call center and developed it into PhoneSmart.
In December of 2000, Tron Jordheim was brought on board to run the call center. Tron came from a sales and customer service background in the bottled water and pet care industries. He had been the GM for one of the top Culligan bottled water franchises in the nation.
StorageMart has invested well over $1,000,000 to recreate and improve upon the call center systems that Storage Trust had developed a few years earlier.
In December of 2000, PhoneSmart began taking calls for 15 StorageMart stores. By December of 2002, PhoneSmart was answering phones for over 40 client companies and 300 stores.
In December of 2002, PhoneSmart undertook two projects to assure great performance and service over the long term.
PhoneSmart totally rebuilt its call center, tripling the number of sales rep stations. It added sound proof walls and ceilings to give a great sound to every phone call. It re-wired the entire portion of the building to protect the phone center’s power supply and to allow for back-up power in case of catastrophe.
PhoneSmart also established an off-site back-up phone center, so that it can continue seamless operations in the event of telephone line interruptions at the local Switching stations or T-1 lines and in case disaster ever struck the main phone center.
So when you deal with PhoneSmart, you are dealing with a well capitalized company lead by leaders in property management, who have invested huge dollars and resources to create an effective and efficient off-site sales center for you.
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Disclamer: This entry is intended to promote our partner StorageMart and some or all participants received compensation.
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