Customer-Service Mastery for Self-Storage Managers: Sharpening Your Core Skill Set

With all the responsibility that comes with operating a successful self-storage facility, it can sometimes be tempting to let customer service take a back seat; but that’s a dangerous way to do business today. Whether you’re new to the industry or have been around for years, it never hurts to revisit your core service skills. Here’s how to sharpen them.

Sheri Meyer, Vice President of Human Capital Management and Talent Acquisitions

May 13, 2024

5 Min Read

In the dynamic self-storage industry, providing exceptional service isn’t merely a transactional necessity, it’s the cornerstone of customer satisfaction and loyalty, which leads to operational success. As a facility manager, you aren’t only the embodiment of your company’s cultural values, you’re the face of the business. This is crucial role to play in an age dominated by self-checkouts, artificial intelligence and kiosks, one in which the art of building one-on-one connections seems lost.

Outstanding service is a conduit for fostering strong relationships with your self-storage prospects and tenants, which is important because positive customer experiences are instrumental in determining your business reputation. Your unwavering commitment to service directly shapes the company’s image and market positioning. Why? Because satisfied customers will leave beneficial reviews and often become long-term advocates, renting with you longer and referring others to your facility.

Knowing this, lets look at the fundamental skills you need to facilitate smooth business transactions, resolve customer concerns, and transform negative interactions into positive experiences that generate trust and loyalty.

The Core Skills for a Customer-Centric Culture

A shared commitment among team members to prioritize customers and their needs creates a positive and welcoming environment, which enhances the overall self-storage experience. To achieve this type of culture and offer the best service, facility managers must possess the following core skills:

Communication. Clear and effective communication is the backbone of remarkable service. You must excel in both verbal and written methods, able to craft grammatically correct messages with clarity and precision. This proficiency fosters trust, especially in a technological era when these skills seem to be slipping. Good communication allows you to manage customer expectations through transparent information and realistic timelines.

Active listening and empathy. As a self-storage manager, you must be attuned to the unique circumstances and needs of your customers. Recognizing and addressing their feelings with genuine interest allows you to tailor your responses and solutions, creating a more personalized and less transactional experience. This empathetic approach builds a deeper connection, instills confidence and enhances customer satisfaction.

Proactivity. Outstanding customer service involves a preemptive approach to identifying and addressing customer needs. You should actively pinpoint potential issues and aim to resolve them before they escalate into serious problems. This forward-thinking strategy not only underscores a commitment to tenant satisfaction, it positions your business as a trustworthy and customer-friendly, fostering long-term loyalty.

Problem-solving. Self-storage managers encounter diverse challenges daily, from broken doors and stubborn gates to customers who are unhappy about a late fee or rate increase. For this reason, strong problem-solving skills are indispensable, as is the ability to think critically and creatively. If you excel in this area, you won’t only contribute to your facility’s operational efficiency, you’ll be able to provide swift and effective resolutions to tenant complaints, thereby increasing customer satisfaction.

Conflict resolution. Disputes are inevitable in any customer-facing industry, and you must be adept at settling them when they arise. This requires maintaining composure under pressure, actively listening, and finding fair and amicable outcomes. By addressing conflicts promptly and impartially, you contribute to a harmonious and respectful environment, which preserves positive customer relationships and fosters a sense of community, enhancing the overall experience for tenants.

Time management. Efficient time and resource management are paramount in self-storage operation. As a manager, you juggle many responsibilities, so you must be able to prioritize tasks, minimize delays and provide timely service. Organizational skills are vital for enabling quick access to information and smooth execution. They’ll allow you to be more efficient, lower stress, and create a seamless environment for customers and coworkers.

Technology. In this digital age, you can enhance customer service by leveraging customer-relationship-management systems as well as online communication tools and platforms. This helps you streamlines your processes but also demonstrates a commitment to meeting customers where they are, improving operational efficiency.

Keeping Them Sharp

To cultivate and refine your self-storage customer-service skills, you must actively participate in ongoing development programs that cover the above essentials. Regular training won’t only equip you with the knowledge required to excel but can serve as a platform for continuous improvement. Being current on best practices enables you to adapt to evolving consumer expectations.

Actively seek opportunities to stay informed about self-storage trends, tenant preferences and advancements in service practices. This commitment to ongoing learning ensures you remain adaptable and can proactively enhance the overall customer experience.

Practical application is key to mastering customer-service skills, and role-playing exercises provide a robust and interactive way to practice them. Simulate real-life scenarios to navigate various customer interactions, honing your abilities in effective communication, problem-solving and conflict resolution. This hands-on approach ensures you’re well-prepared to handle real-life situations with confidence and competence.

Actively seeking customer feedback through surveys and reviews is another way to improve your service skills. Gathering these insights will allow you to identify specific areas to target for development. Look at positive and negative feedback to understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Customer-service mastery is an ongoing journey. Through core skills, continuous learning and a culture that puts customers at the forefront, you can become an architect of unparalleled self-storage experiences. This journey isn’t just about differentiation in a crowded market; it’s about creating a legacy of trust, loyalty and enduring success.

Sheri Meyer is vice president of human-capital management and talent acquisition for Osprey Management, the in-house asset-management division of private-equity real estate firm Crystal View Capital, which has more than 58 self-storage facilities under management. With more than 25 years of human-resources experience, Sheri has a strategic business focus to empower people, unlock potential and drive success. For more information, call 702.935.2571 or email [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Sheri Meyer

Vice President of Human Capital Management and Talent Acquisitions, Osprey Management

Sheri Meyer is vice president of human capital management and talent acquisitions for Osprey Management, the in-house asset-management division of private-equity real estate firm Crystal View Capital. Crystal View has raised more than $200 million in equity and has more than $400 million in assets under management, including 58 self-storage facilities. With more than 25 years of human-resources management experience, Sheri’s strategic business focus is to empower people, unlock potential and drive success.

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