18 November 2014
Customer Service: Your Competitive Advantage
It has been said, in the self storage industry, that it is all about the Manager. What can the Manager do that is paramount in our business, especially when the Manager may be the only employee that our renter encounters? Customer service. In our field this could mean the rental of a storage unit or the customer going down the road to the next competitor.
There are many points of engagement when the employee can make a difference in the customer’s eyes. The first experience may be an information call. A potential renter calls a few businesses to simply compare prices. Although this may be a 2 minute conversation, it could be significant to whether or not the customer takes the next step and makes an appointment to see the property in person. Take your time with the call. Make the caller feel important and most of all, listen. Do not assume their situation or what would best fit their needs. Listen to all the factors and give them the options you believe that best suits the caller. Remember the little things: smile. Believe it or not, your expression is heard over the phone lines!
We are fortunate if we are able to encounter our potential customer in person. This is your time to shine! Take the time to show the potential customer all available amenities of the property. Give them a tour of the facility. Review any guidelines that should be followed while they are on-site. Be sure to include the nearest elevator if applicable, the stairs, restrooms, and any equipment such as dollies which they may have access. You are not only selling the facility, you want to create a positive report and make them feel comfortable – you are selling you. There are many self-storage facilities… what makes ours stand out? Why should they choose us?
Our renters are our business. It is important to maintain a positive relationship and ensure we do all we can to take care of their needs. If they are locked out, how quickly is someone available and were we compassionate? How do we act when they come into the office or if we pass them in the hallways? Do we process their monthly payment efficiently and remember to say Thank You? Use their name. If they have a question, do we reply within an appropriate timeframe or do they have to approach us again? Pay close attention to our existing customers… it is easier to keep them than having an open rental unit. The secret to good customer service is to under-commit and over-deliver. Be sure to only agree to what you can in fact promise and make happen. But if you are able to go above and beyond, the customer is that much more appreciative.
The next time you stop for a cup of coffee or go workout at your gym, observe the employees. Based on their actions, is this an inviting location that you will frequent or do you vow to never set foot in there again? Bring these daily experiences to work and be the person that customers always come back to by providing them the best service in a welcome, friendly environment.