While not every self-storage auction is avoidable, there are things you can do as a facility operator to keep delinquencies to a minimum. Pay close attention to collections and make sure your staff is adequately trained in this area. While a lot energy goes into getting customers to rent, once they do, you must take steps to ensure they pay on time. Successful rent collection is a result of company culture and strong effort.
Building a Culture
Your company culture is comprised of the underlying attitudes that influence the behaviors and functions of managers and customers. It will influence how hard managers work and how they interact with tenants. Think about your own corporate culture:
- Does it promote customer service?
- Do your managers feel accountable for their performance?
- Do your managers and customers feel it’s important to make timely payments?
- Are your policies and procedures enforced and followed ignored?
- Do your managers enjoy their jobs and interacting with customers?
Company culture plays a major role in collections success. It determines how a manager treats the task and how the customer responds. A lackadaisical attitude will cause a manager to put in little effort and make the customer feel like he can pay whenever he gets around to it. A culture that’s too rigid may cause the manager to come across as coarse and angry when dealing with collections and have a negative impact on customer service.
What you need is a culture that promotes professionalism and respect. The manager will be courteous and consistent in his collections efforts. He’ll respect the customer. In turn, the customer will respect the manager and be more likely to make timely payments.
Your tenants have many financial obligations and sometimes have to prioritize them. Create a business environment in which they feel obligated to put you at the top of the list. Managers should be pleasant but firm when it comes to collections, viewing the task as a way to bring in revenue and help the customer avoid late fees and sales.