10 Tips for Planning Ahead and Forestalling Common Self-Storage Challenges

By Gina Kudo Comments
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5. Apologize

There’s nothing wrong with saying these two words: “I’m sorry”—not to admit guilt but to commiserate. “I’m sorry that special ended, but I’d like to give you this bundle of boxes or a lock as a thank you.” Or “I’m sorry (insert situation) drove you to needing storage, but let me show how easy and painless the experience can be.” “I’m sorry, we don’t have that available at the moment, but I would be happy to (insert your own ending here).”

6. Mix It Up

Vary employee routines and give each person a fresh perspective on another's position by trading jobs for a day. You might be pleasantly surprised at the ensuing dialogue once people see things in a new light by spending the day doing someone else’s job.

7. Open Your Mind

Be open to new ideas. Just because you’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. A good owner should occasionally engage employees and ask things like, “Can you think of a better way to accomplish this task?” or “How would you handle this?”

8. Be Pro-Active on Maintenance

As you make your rounds, you’ll likely see something that should be taken care of eventually, but are you pro-active? If the paving is looking tired and cracked, don’t wait because winter is here. Start obtaining bids now and ask for any special winter rates if you commit now to resurfacing after the thaw. Don’t wait until everyone else is in panic mode. Take a little time now and avoid stress in the springtime.

9. Try Something New

Do something out of your comfort zone. Whether it’s customer-, facility- or employee-related, just jump in and do something different.

10. Be Polite

Use the words “please” and “thank you” often, as these  little words make a huge difference. Always treat others in the same manner as you’d like to be treated. A surly waiter or waitress can ruin an expensive dinner, just as your attitude can impact your self-storage customers' experience. If people around you aren’t happy, start by taking a look in the mirror to see what you can do to affect change.

While this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, it’s a start. Plan ahead for maintenance items, consider your staff when doling out assignments, and always remember to employ your best customer-service skills. Just following these tips will ensure a better-run facility, a happier staff and loyal customers. 

Gina Six Kudo is general manager of Cochrane Road Self Storage in Morgan Hill, Calif. She has more than 16 years of self-storage experience, and a strong customer-service and sales background. She’s also a moderator on selfstoragetalk.com, the self-storage industry's largest online community. For more information, call 408.782.8883; visit www.cochranestorage.com .

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