In a struggling economy, you would think that all businesses—online and brick-and-mortar alike—would elevate service to a level of supreme emphasis and importance. Heck, you would think this should always be part of an enterprise's mission statement, but we know this isn't always the case. It amazes me, however, in the current climate, that any business owner would risk losing even a single repeat or new customer over something as basic as service. And yet ...
I could provide you with several first-hand examples of poor customer service I have received of late, but would much rather focus on something positive: companies that are doing things RIGHT. And today there are two very noteworthy mentions from our very own self-storage industry.
First, check out this article in the Mesquite Local News about Mesquite Self Storage, where service takes precedence in daily dealings with tenants. Managers Brian and Lisa Ramage deserve kudos for their simple but essential efforts: cold bottles of water and hot coffee kept on hand for customers, local maps and other resources posted in the management office, personalized facility tours ... the little things that make a big difference when customers form a first impression.
I also want to point the spotlight toward America's Best Self Storage of Torrance, Calif., which was featured today in ISS news (read the story). Owner Jack Donner explains, "We take good care of people. We treat them as individuals with unique needs. In this day of computerized phone systems and horrible customer service, we decided to do the opposite and provide world-class service to everybody who visits our property."
Well spoken, John. And right on the money.
If service doesn't reign supreme at your storage site, you'd better get with the program. Every industry expert and publication will tell you that self-storage is getting more and more competitive due to saturated markets. You're sick of hearing this, I bet. But it's true, and not only that, you have to now consider that it's exceedingly more difficult to compete because peoples' expendable income is dwindling. In the year ahead, they will become increasingly discerning about their expenditures. "Do I keep my storage unit or finally trash that junk? Seventy-five bucks a month is a lot of money."
So you think about that the next time the bell chimes on your front door. Slap a smile on your face ... and mean it. If you think "just one customer" can't tip the balance between success and failure, guess again. And if you have a service strategy that really works for you, please share it in this blog. We value your input.