Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the Latin America Self Storage Expo in Miami. It was my first trip to the city and I was stoked. The conference was being held at the Marriott overlooking Biscayne Bay and near the Miami Arts and Design Districts. From the website, the hotel appeared to have beautiful views.
During my two-day stay, I was fortunate to relish in more than just the breathtaking scenery. The hotel staff served up superior customer service from all angles. From the moment I walked through the giant glass doors to checking out at 4 a.m. (I had an early flight), I was treated like I mattered.
Now, I’ve stayed in many hotels for business and personal trips. They’ve been diverse, from those dubbed “luxury” (in Chicago) to “trendy” (in Washington, D.C.) and everything in between. All offered various degrees of customer service as well. But I’d put Marriott at the top of the list for one reason: everyone staff member was attentive. Usually, you’ll encounter at least one, maybe two, people who’ve mastered customer service. But to have everyone excel at it is a feat worth boasting about.
Let me give you an example. On my second evening at the hotel, I wanted to take a walk along the dock, but I wasn’t sure where to go or how to get back. I told a staff member my desire and asked his advice. He escorted me outside and began pointing this way and that, and told me what I might find in each direction. He offered many details and even made some suggestions about places to eat outside of the hotel. Turns out, he was Marriott’s food and beverage manager! This is but one person who was friendly or helpful during my stay.
While you may read this and think, “Big deal. So, she had a great customer-service experience.” But when I think about the interactions I had during the entire trip—at the airport, in cabs, restaurants, etc.—they all pale in comparison. In fact, I can’t think of a single recent encounter that comes even close to what I experienced during just two days at the Marriott.
Think about your own life. How many times have you been ignored by the cashier at the grocery store (the one who can’t offer a hello, let alone a smile), received poor service at a restaurant by the harried wait staff, or became exasperated with the “customer-service” rep over the phone? Or perhaps you’ve been the one offering crappy customer service. Maybe you’re not loving your job these days, have lost patience with a late-payer or simply don’t know how to do it.
In a recent thread on Self-Storage Talk, moderator MusicCity Gal reminds her fellow members the reasons why they should always provide superior customer service. She writes, “I am afraid our industry is becoming so money hungry and so paranoid by legal, we have lost sight of what really matters: our customers.”
She invites members to share examples of extraordinary customer-service interactions in which they’ve participated. I’m proud to say several have posted about positive interactions with tenants.
When the self-storage facilities in your community are all similar—location, pricing, amenities, security, etc.—there’s really just one thing that can sway a potential renter to choose you. It’s your ability to make them feel welcome and wanted. If you’re not interested in providing this, then maybe self-storage isn’t for you. For everyone else, consider MusicCity Gal’s words: “Managers have the power to be the best part of everyone's day or stressful situation. Recognize that and go make a difference for someone.”
How do you provide the best customer service at your storage facility? Post a comment below or at Self-Storage Talk, the industry’s biggest online community.