A few years ago, I read an article that discussed how you can improve your gratitude. It was pretty simple, actually. It required a mason jar with a lid, scraps of colorful paper, and a moment to jot down just one thing that you were grateful for that day. At first, my entries were generic. You know, my health, children, my job or my dog. Soon, though, I begin to find appreciation for more specific things, like the sound of rain, a joke I shared with a family member, or a positive customer experience I had (at a pool supply store, no less). There are also some silly items like my love for cheese, getting eight hours of sleep or receiving a compliment from a stranger (still remember that one!).
I often take out those scrawled notes and recall what was happening in my life and what’s changed. Sometimes it brings a smile or chuckle, or can even make me sad. But they always remind me how short life really is and why expressing gratitude both to myself and others is important.
Last month I blogged about how self-storage operators can show their customers they truly care about them and what they mean to their business. Of course, this can be accomplished by providing an exceptional customer experience, but it goes beyond that. Gratitude should be at the root of these actions.
It’s been a ridiculously tough year. We’re hopeful for the future but we’re all still trying to find our way through this pandemic. While I’m sure you’re grateful for many things, it can sometimes be difficult to conjure up feelings of sincere gratitude in general when facing so many challenges. However, there are countless studies that confirm acknowledging the good more often can actually make you happier. It’s easy to dwell on the bad and play the “why me” or “this happened” game. Letting the positives live rent free in your psyche takes a bit more practice, but it comes with major rewards. When you recognize gratitude—tangible or intangible—you open yourself up to new feelings and experiences. It’s that glass half full/empty idea. Either you’re about to drink a half of a glass of something delicious, or you only get to drink half of a glass of something delicious. Which side are you on?
Gratitude should also be expressed externally. Self-storage operators are always cognizant of delivering excellent customer service but there varying degrees on how to do this. Sure, you’ll thank the new tenant in your office for renting with your facility, but can you do more to show your appreciation? What about a follow-up call a few days later to see if they have any questions, or even an email or text? Go old school and send a thank-you card. All these communications add a personal touch. Operators follow up with prospects, so why not with someone who actually rented a unit?
If you see a new tenant pull up with a full truck, head out and offer a bottle of water or coffee/tea (while wearing a mask and socially distancing). Call the person by name and ask if there are any questions. Again, thank them for doing business with you. Words matter! Maybe provide an appropriate compliment or offer a coloring book and crayons to a child who’s tagging along. Need more suggestions? Take a listen to this podcast with Stacie Maxwell, who shares the many ways Universal Storage Group is showing appreciation to its tenants amid the pandemic.
Storage rentals should never be treated as “one and done.” Expressing your gratitude can help cement these new relationships and encourage long-term rentals. We’re living in an environment in which consumers are seeking companies that care. If they don’t find it with you, you can expect them to move on. Heed the saying, gratitude is the best attitude.
I’d also like to express my appreciation to you, our readers, and my Self-Storage Talk family, our many contributors and advertisers. Your support during this crappy year means a lot to the ISS Team. That’s one the best things about the self-storage industry—there’s no shortage of kindness and the feeling of being “in this together.” I wish the best for you and your families as well as your business this holiday season and into the new year.