When I drove cross-country from Connecticut out to Phoenix nearly four years ago, I did so in a Ryder moving truck with my car hooked in tow off the back. To this day I still get this quirky little twitch in the left side of my face when I see one of those bright-yellow demons.
It wasn't so much the drive--although it was long and grueling in the July heat. It was the nightmare of organizing the whole move. The day I went to pick up my rented vehicle, the small, independent owner from whom I was borrowing it informed me that the 15-foot truck I had reserved had not been returned by the previous customer and I would, instead, be driving a 20-foot truck out to Arizona. Then there was the negotiating of this vehicle through the self-storage facility where I had stored my belongings the preceding year, the unloading of the unit and the loading of the truck. There were seemingly endless stops for gas, late-night, greasy-spoon gorging sessions and too many hours of listening to the drone of wheels on asphalt. In the end, I made it, but it was a trial.
People in a state of transition have enough on their minds without having to deal with additional inconveniences and hassles. This is just one of the many reasons why Kirk Nash recommends offering rental trucks at your facility. In his article, "Become the Competition" Nash discusses the advantages to adding this ancillary product to your list of services. It could be the key element in your winning formula. The stresses involved in changing locations or needing to store personal belongings and other goods are also the reason why Kara Jill Stancell-Salazar stresses the importance of effective customer service in her article, "More Than a Smile." She demonstrates how a little kindness goes a long way with a customer when times are tough.
There is hardly a self-storage owner or manager out there who would dispute the importance of customer service. The problem can be finding the right people to execute that service. Research conducted by industrial psychologist Gregory Lousig-Nont demonstrates the value of honesty and integrity testing in selecting job candidates, as well as the importance of understanding certain aspects of a person's physiology during an interview. Recognizing certain clues and red flags may prevent the hire of the wrong man or woman for the job.
Having strong staff representation will grow in importance as more and more facilities are established. Pam Alton discusses the significance of management, pricing and marketing in the face of market saturation, while Harley Rolfe continues his discussion on marketing for the self-storage industry. Cary McGovern also addresses questions of staffing in his discussion of training issues for those involved in records-storage management. Finally, learn more about sale-and-disposal legal-liability insurance from David Wilhite.
Continuing the discussion of transitions, you may have noticed that there's a new signature at the bottom of this page. They say, the more things change the more they stay the same. With that in mind, you can expect the same quality publication we have always striven to provide, because its production is supported by the generous contributions and feedback of our readers. It was wonderful to meet many of you at the Inside Self-Storage Expo in Las Vegas. For those I haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting, I look forward to opportunities to do so.
Best Wishes to You,
Teri L. Lanza