Sounds of Storage Podcast: Charlie Kao on How to Persuade Rather Than Dissuade Self-Storage Customers

It may only take 10 days to lose a man, but in self-storage, it can take a facility operator less than 10 minutes—sometimes 10 seconds!—to lose a customer. A prospect’s perception of your business can be shaped almost instantly, so it’s important to start the relationship on the right foot. In this podcast, Charlie Kao discusses how to make an outstanding impression and set the stage for long-term tenant loyalty.

December 15, 2023

How do you earn customer loyalty in self-storage? Not just the rental, but honest-to-goodness brand allegiance? It starts with a good first impression. A prospect’s perception of your business can be shaped almost instantly, so it’s imperative to start the relationship on the right foot. Any stumble can negatively impact conversions, online reviews, length of stay and referrals.

Charlie Kao, a principal with Twin Oaks Capital, recently proposed a seminar to Inside Self-Storage (ISS) titled “How to Lose a Customer in 10 Days,” spoofing the popular 2003 rom-com of a similar name. In this “Sounds of Storage” podcast, he discusses just the opposite with ISS Contributing Editor Tony Jones. The two of them talk about ways to win over prospects in a big way—sometimes in less than 10 minutes or even 10 seconds! You’ll learn ways to positively sway tenant opinion and earn that long-lasting devotion all operators crave.


Kao is a self-storage operator in addition to being an industry expert in real estate brokerage, asset management, feasibility studies, consulting and building-construction management. Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Twin Oaks is a commercial real estate company specializing in self-storage and multi-family assets. Its affiliated companies have owned, operated and planned more than 3 million square feet of self-storage across North America, with a specialization in Northern climates and building in difficult terrains.

Duration: 8 minutes, 40 seconds

To learn more, access the hundreds of free resources on our Customer Service and Experience topic page. For additional insight, browse the related products in the Sales/Customer Service category of the ISS Store. To hear additional installments in the “Sounds of Storage” series, visit the ISS Podcasts page.

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