Front-line employees should always be pleasant and friendly to customers, current and prospective. It isn’t always easy. Some customers are difficult, or the employee might have a bad day. But even on the phone, a smile (or lack of one) can be detected. A voice can convey friendliness, helpfulness and respect, or sound sharp, uninterested or rushed.
Employees also need to understand that customers require time, some more than others. A good employee should give the customer quality time for the service of his storage needs. If that’s not immediately possible, the manager should get the customer’s name and phone number, let him know his call will be returned within a specific period, and then follow up within that time frame.
Providing service that exceeds expectations means treating all customers equally, regardless of whether they buy immediately. Get their names, addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses—as much contact information as you can for follow-up. Explain that you need this so you can let them know about news and specials. Then send a follow-up postcard thanking them for calling or visiting.
They may not have decided yet where to store, and that small way of reaching out could be the deciding factor. Even if they do not rent from you, your database for future marketing efforts increases.
Show Employee Appreciation
Employees are your internal customers. Treat them with the same respect you expect them to give customers and prospects. Let them know they’re doing a good job. If and when you begin a training program, be sure they know you’re doing it to help them improve and succeed. When they do well, show appreciation.
Just as you expect employees to know customers, find out your staff’s wants and needs. That way, your show of gratitude can be something that’s important to them, whether it’s a plaque or certificate, paid time off, or dinner at a nice restaurant. Every customer, whether internal or external, wants to know he’s valued.
Sue Weinman is vice president of Yellow Page services for Michaels Wilder Inc., an advertising agency specializing in Yellow Pages, Internet marketing and talent recruitment for the self-storage industry since 1989. For more information, visit www.michaelswilder.com.