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Customer-Service Savvy for Self-Storage

Dianna Tuttle and M. Anne Ballard Comments
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Be a Star

When you must deal with multiple tasks simultaneously, prioritize and keep everyone informed. If you are on the phone and someone walks through the front door, make sure you acknowledge the person with a wave or some direct indication you have seen him and will be with him shortly. Most of us just want to be recognized as existing rather than ignored as so often happens in retail these days. This is why it is so easy to be a star in the retail environment today.

Stand and greet everyone entering your office. It sets a great tone for the rest of the customer’s experience with you. Invite the customer to be seated and maintain eye contact while he describes his self-storage needs. Have a firm but friendly handshake. Practice at home or with friends to make sure you are not bone-crushing or wimpy as either case can be off putting. When you greet someone, smile, look him in the eye and shake hands; it is the start of a new relationship.

What if you’re with someone and the phone rings? Most would agree you should let the phone ring and focus on your customer. However, if you can notice from the caller ID it is someone you have been trying to reach, it’s acceptable to ask your customer if it’s OK if you grab the phone. Usually when informed of a special circumstance, your customer will not mind.

Likewise, if you need to put someone on hold to pull records or call your supervisor about a situation, ask if the caller can hold for the specific amount of time. You will find the customer doesn’t mind waiting as much when given a specific time span. Remember, under-promise and over-deliver.

So go on, challenge yourself, have fun with your job and, most of all, with your customers!

Dianna L. Tuttle has been involved in customer service at every phase of her career from her experience with the U.S. Army, and her tenure with Fleet Mortgage to her current position as an accounts payable staff member at Universal Management Co., which provides global consulting for evaluations, feasibility studies, training and development services. Anne Ballard is president of Universal Management Co. For more information, visit

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