What Self-Storage Customers Really Want: It's Not Just Price

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By Walt Zeglinski

Does your self-storage business have what it takes to win consistently in today’s market? Does it have a contingent of loyal customers? If you think the price of your products or services is why you’re attracting and maintaining tenants, think again. Today’s customers are savvy and want much more than low cost. 

Customers are looking for the unique value that comes from relationships. By learning to tap into this deeper level of emotional satisfaction, your business can increase its revenue with current customers and uncover a steady stream of new ones.

Are Your Customers Emotionally Satisfied?

You may have asked your customers if they were satisfied storing at your facility. But the true measure is if your customers are repeat customers and if they’re referring you to others. In an average customer poll, you may find that eight out of 10 customers were satisfied. That sounds great, but studies show that only four or five out of 10 will become repeat customers. Why? Because rational satisfaction is only part of the equation. Customers return when they are emotionally satisfied. Moreover, emotionally satisfied customers will also recommend your facility to others.

Here is the bottom line on measuring emotional satisfaction:

  • How many of your customers intend to store with you again?
  • How many of your customers would endorse your company to others?

Creating Exceptional Value

Exceptional value occurs when your customer perceives your product or service to be worth more to them than the price they pay. There are two components in any strategy for creating exceptional value with customers. The first is how well you’re communicating the unique value of your products and services as compared to alternatives. This is important and can result in a high level of rational satisfaction. However, it takes emotional satisfaction to develop a loyal customer. It’s the second strategic component—building deeper, trust-based relationships—that’s the key to emotionally satisfied customers. This happens when your employees understand your customers’ needs and deliver more than what’s expected.

Exceptional value stems from exceptional managers. Your staff is the “secret sauce” in your organization’s ability to deliver on its value promise. You have to hire and retain the right people to make it work. These employees are those who do not need management mandates to engage customers and adhere to company values. These employees are your customers’ problem-solvers. They provide the discretionary effort and intellectual capital that can take your customers from satisfied to loyal. Additionally, studies have shown that an increase of only 5 percent in customer loyalty can add from 25 percent to more than 100 percent to your bottom line.

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