Creative Customer Service
|Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.|
|By: Sharon Pallas|
|Posted on: 01/01/2005|
Is customer service a thing of the past or just hard to find? From buying that steaming cup of cappuccino in the morning to dashing into the grocery store on the way home, we are exposed to various levels of service throughout the day. As customer service is truly a “projection of attitude,” the treatment you receive at any given time can set the tone for the remainder of your day.
Even though your employees may change over the years, you can satisfy and retain your customer base by consistently maintaining a staff with a positive attitude. You want employees to provide that “keep them coming back” service at your facilities. The first step toward achieving this goal is to hire managers that have good dispositions, outgoing personalities and, if possible, a work history that includes service- based experience, such as in the hotel or apartment industries. Remember: Hire for attitude and train for skills.
After you’ve hired a great team with a positive attitude and winning smiles, empower them with the ability and the tools to use their talents to close the sale. Set guidelines for making deals, matching competitor pricing, giving free locks or boxes at move-in, etc., to enhance their natural customer-service skills. Even a positive outlook can use a little help to close a tough sale.
Once a sale has been closed, the quest to increase the longevity of your customer base begins. Think about what is important to you and what keeps you going back to a particular store or service. For me, a good attitude along with customer appreciation and recognition are the keys to keeping my business.
In self-storage, customers generally do not visit our facilities on a daily basis, so it is important to be in constant contact through other means. Developing a marketing/customer-service plan for “preferred” customers is a great way to follow up and maintain communication. Below are suggestions and ideas to try, or be creative and come up with something unique to your location or customer needs.
Customer service is contagious. Spread it around and see what happens!
Sharon Pallas is executive assistant to M. Anne Ballard and an area manager at Universal Management Co. in Smyrna, Ga. Universal manages 30-plus facilities in Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma and Virginia. For more information, visit www.universalmanagementcompany.com.