Stash Storage tackled operational challenges by streamlining workflows for drivers and improving administrative views for sales representatives.
Stash Storage is a concierge storage service that provides easy and flexible storage solutions for any customer. From storing seasonal items, art, your dorm room for the next semester, to furniture while your house is renovated, Stash will collect your items, photograph and store them until you need them. Retrieving your items is as easy as logging into your dashboard, selecting what you’d like returned, and scheduling the drop off. Even if you decide you no longer have use for what you’ve stored, Stash will donate the items to a local donation center.
At the time of this engagement, the operational workflow for Stash drivers and front of house employees was molded to fit around a system that was not ideal. The challenges were broken into 2 pieces, but really stemmed from the same place; Storeganise. Storeganise is the API used currently to support the inventory, data, customer dashboard and overall infrastructure of Stash. In addition to being poorly documented, the system was challenging to work with and inflexible. The long term goal is to build a new system to get Stash off of Storeganise and onto their own platform that better fits their needs.
During a discovery workshop, the Stash team described the driver’s normative workflow when collecting a customer’s items. This required a couple of trips back and forth to verify the items to be collected, take notes, and make sure all were created in Storeganize. Next, they would return to the warehouse to print stickers and then assign them to particular items. Then, they would collect and bring the items to the warehouse for final storage. The process was frustrating and a particular pain point to the drivers.
The Stash team advised that the majority of sales occurred over the phone, as did a bulk of customer interactions. They found they spent a lot of their time explaining what Stash Storage is, what that meant and then asking a lot of questions in order to make an assumption based on what the customer wanted to store. They also advised that their view into their customer’s items and billing information was at odds with what the customer was seeing, making support conversations difficult and long.
Prior to our discovery workshop, our assumption was that we would have to build an infrastructure to replace Storeganise, which would be extremely impactful to not only their operations but also their processes. Instead, during our conversations we found 2 major operational pain points that could be resolved without rebuilding their technological architecture completely.Our first major pain point that we could address was the driver’s workflows. By streamlining their processes with a portable printer, and utilizing a mobile app to be able to photograph, scan and track items, we could reduce their back and forth and time with their customers. We utilized React Native to build a flow that would not only show all orders for the day, but connect to the driver’s native maps app, allow them to take notes, add items, remove items, and keep each item located as it goes through the transition. Future phases would allow for different orders to be assigned and speak to the base API to proactively find shelving space.
The second challenge we broke into two pieces, one being an administrator dashboard and the other being a customer onboarding survey. The administrator dashboard was to solve the pain point of sales being unable to view customer’s items and important business data easily. To solve this, we utilized Active Admin to create a simple user interface to pull in the necessary data for the sales representatives to support their customers and understand how the revenue was being captured and when. In order to help streamline the sales process, we created a customer onboarding survey. Since much of the time on sales calls was spent on describing what the service is and what the customer wants to store, we created a survey to ask the big questions up front so customers can be contacted with a more accurate estimate by the sales team. This not only gives the customer a smoother experience, but also provides the sales team with vital information to make the sale and to provide a better interaction. Eventually, the user would be able to complete the entire process online unless they have a custom need.
The measures of success factored around the experience of the Stash staff. Did we make it easier for sales representatives to access customer information? Were we able to provide them insight into billing metrics and what they were storing most of? Through the dashboard we were able to provide all of those data points to help them make decisions around where to focus their business growth. We were able to give them information and access they had no easy way of getting to before, and for that we absolutely were successful.
For drivers we were able to streamline their process and have the team rethink how they approached the process of collection and storage. Through providing tools to track items, take photos and print labels all in one solution, we’ve provided a way for the drivers to easily perform each necessary step to complete their orders in a timely fashion. Each of these items provides the base for a larger rebuild of the infrastructure of Stash Storage. The information gathered through these exercises helps both Smashing Boxes and Stash discover ways to improve processes and uncover better ways to leverage technology to deliver white glove service and reduce operational overhead.
Our work laid the foundation for a broader infrastructure rebuild at Stash Storage. The information gathered during this project continues to guide process improvements and technology leverage, ensuring white-glove service and reduced operational overhead.