ISS Blog

Are You Keeping Customers Waiting?

In today's recession, customer service is more important than ever. Self-storage managers can hone their customer service skills at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, Oct. 5-8 in Washington, D.C.

A few weeks ago, I purchased something at a nearby retailer, then decided to return it. I entered the store, headed to the back where returns are made and came to an abrupt stop when I saw the long line. There was only one person behind the customer service counter—on a Saturday afternoon. So rather than waste my time standing in line, I decided to try another day.

Have you noticed lines are longer these days? As retailers, restaurants, banks and grocery stores cut stuff, longer lines are inevitable. There simply are fewer employees to man registers, serve food or accept payments. For impatient people, like me, a long line could be a deal breaker.

An interesting article in The Wall Street Journal chronicles the problem of long lines in retail—and dives into the use of single, serpentine lines, the kind you see at Best Buy and in banks.

As a self-storage manager, you’re often faced with serving multiple customers, perhaps in the office, on the property and on the phone simultaneously. How long do you balance their needs? Do you keep the caller on hold so you can help the person standing in the office? Or keep the person within eye contact waiting?

While creating a single-service line is ludicrous in this setting, you do need to learn how to prioritize you customers so you not only meet their needs but exceed their expectations. The last thing you want is a tenant popping in, seeing several people ahead of him and ducking out the door. This could be a payment, a new rental, a chance for retail sales, etc.

To boost your customer service skills, read these articles from the ISS archives.
Partnering With a Self-Storage Call Center  

Service Matters! Eight Steps to Superior Customer Relations 
10 Tips for Making a Good First Impression in Self-Storage 
If you’re planning on attending the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5-8, you should consider attending Joe Niemczyk’s Management Workshop. Joe is a veteran of the self-storage industry and an engaging speaker. The add-on workshop will help newcomers and experienced managers hone their customer service and sales skills, brush up on legal issues and uncover new marketing strategies.

The expo will also have a day-to-day operation and facility management education track loaded with information-packed seminars. To view seminar and add-on workshop descriptions and to register, visit

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