Customers are the lifeblood of a service-oriented business like self-storage. To retain existing tenants and attract new customers, facility employees need customer-service skills. But what does that mean exactly?
Is customer service about simply providing the product the customer seeks from you? Is it giving in to a demand that is perhaps not part of your offering? Is it in the way you package the product? Or the way you allow customers to pay? Is customer service about what the customer requires, expects, demands, needs or all of the above?
A Personal Experience
I recently went to the store to buy a present for my wife. Not being a sophisticated (or willing) shopper, all I had to go on was a broad description of the product she wished to have. A woman greeted me at the entrance: "Is their anything I can help you with?" Of course, being the macho man I am, I said, "No, thank you."
After 15 minutes of looking in the general area where I thought I might find the item, I finally gave up and returned to the sales representative. Not only was she willing to help, she walked me over to the correct area, helped me pick out the right product, and then walked me up to the cashier. "This young man has found the perfect gift for his wife," she told the cashier with a smile. "Can you wrap it for him before he checks out?" I paid for my now wrapped gift. On my way out, the sales rep concluded my visit with, "Thank you for shopping with us. I hope you have a wonderful day."
Several things should be noted here as a lesson to all of us in the business of self-storage operation:
- Not everyone needs help, but the offer is nice should you be the one to require it.
- The sales rep provided help without making me feel like an idiot. Her assistance was sincere and courteous.
- The sales rep went above and beyond when she suggested the gift be wrapped. I didn't feel pressured, and yet I couldn't say no. In the end, she saved me time and effort and increased her sales total.
- Saying, “Thank you for your business” is customer service at its finest.
Believing in Customer Service
When someone enters your self-storage office to rent a unit, do you greet him with a smile and ask if you can help? Do you take the time to show him a unit and demonstrate how the doors work, then point out the clean, wide driveways that make moving in easier and more pleasurable? Do you emphasize your amazing security system, including the cameras, gate access and lighting?