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

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Tapping the Emotional Fountain

Developing emotionally satisfied customers who enjoy value (beyond functional benefits) might seem like a pie-in-the-sky ideal, but there are several notable examples. Think about a Rolex watch and your reaction when you see one. Any watch can give you the time, but they’re not all Rolexes. What captivates us about a Rolex isn’t its function; it’s the prestige. Wearing a Rolex suggests more than your need to tell the time. It says you appreciate the finer things. It shows you have earned enough success to purchase one. It means you’re knowledgeable about the value of the craftsmanship and precision it represents.

That’s the connection you should seek to develop with your customers. You want to deliver more value than the functional benefits inherent in your product or service. You want your customers to experience the added value you bring to the relationship by being emotionally engaged throughout the buying process.

It Pays to Be Ethical

A recent USA Today poll revealed 72 percent of consumers will pay more to use the services and products of a company they perceive to be ethical. An easy example of this for consumer products is the higher prices consumers pay at eco-friendly stores such as Whole Foods Market. Another example is the movement of customers away from large banks that leave customers navigating though a labyrinth of automated phone systems to credit unions and community banks where a real person answers the phone.

These are examples of how the perception of ethical business practices can make a difference. It reflects the influence of emotionally satisfied customers. People feel better about themselves when they believe they’re dealing with an organization that cares about “doing the right thing.” 

By optimizing the behaviors that create value, you can successfully tap the emotional bonds within your customer relationships. The investment your company makes in aligning your people, processes and products with what loyal customers want and need, will enrich your core business and provide new opportunities to increase market share. If you stay engaged and stay ethical, you’ll transform your business.

Walt Zeglinski is the former CEO of Integrity Solutions and current managing partner for Vital Factors Inc., a training and consulting organization that helps its clients accelerate strategic execution. Zeglinski has almost 30 years of experience in applying his expertise to diagnose, plan and implement practical solutions for building customer-centric organizations. For more information, e-mail .

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