On the Phone
Good customer service begins with how we treat a prospective customer on the first call. Managers, if your company has a phone script, learn it, and then put it into your own words. Callers will know when someone is reading lines vs. speaking genuinely. If you take the time to make the customer feel comfortable, acknowledge and respect his needs, answer all his questions and offer a good value for the price, he’ll rent with you.
Great customer service also applies to collection calls. One way to put a positive spin on this dreaded process is to make these calls before your tenants become past due. It then becomes a reminder rather than a collection call. Tell them you’re trying to help them avoid a late fee by paying now. Then ask for a credit card payment over the phone or direct them to your website to make a payment.
On the Property
Good customer service doesn’t stop at that initial call or visit or even after you’ve rented the unit. Once a person has become your tenant, you should continue to offer excellent service. Do you get up out of your chair when a tenant enters your office and greet him with a smile and a handshake? You should. If you’re on the phone when someone walks in, immediately make eye contact and acknowledge him. No one likes to feel ignored.
It’s also a good idea to keep your gate log up on the computer screen so you know who enters your facility. That way you can call each person by name when he enters the office or you see him on the property.
Walk the property several times a day. Stop and talk to your tenants. Ask them how they’re doing. Carry some water bottles and offer them a cool drink on a hot day, or direct them to the office for some coffee or hot cocoa during cold weather. Ask if there’s anything you can do to make their stay with you a better experience.
Now, be honest ... Are you doing all you can to offer your customers the best service possible? How can you improve? Would you rent a self-storage unit from your business? The Golden Rule is the basis of good customer care. Offering good service will get you referrals from your tenants and keep them coming back when they need storage. Remember, a kind word and a smile don’t cost you anything.
Pamela Alton is the owner of Mini-Management Services, a company that has been placing self-storage managers all over the United States since 1991. She can be reached at 321.890.2245 or www.mini-management.com .