A few weeks ago, I walked from my room to the hotel lobby where I was staying to inquire about a late checkout time. When the woman behind the counter asked what time I needed, I told her 2 p.m. would be extremely helpful. She frowned and told me the best she could do was 12:30 p.m. I accepted knowing that wasn’t late enough, just to give me some extra cushion should I need it.
By the time I got back to my room, I decided it would be better to check out early and lug my stuff around with me, rather than risk running behind in returning to my room to retrieve my things and get to the airport. I grabbed my luggage and headed back to the lobby.
When I walked in, another guest was at the front desk. I’m guessing maybe 15 minutes had elapsed from when I was in the lobby earlier. I waited patiently in plain view. Coincidentally, the customer also asked for a late checkout, only this time, the woman immediately volunteered 1 p.m., which he happily accepted.
While an extra 30 minutes wouldn’t have worked for me either, I couldn’t help but feel a little slighted. Why did she handle both queries differently? After all, I had been polite and respectful, just like the other guest. Though I left the hotel with the answer being a mystery, the incident was a good demonstration about the need for consistency.
When it comes to service and the overall customer experience (CX), consistency is key. There are certainly times when some situations need to be handled differently or on a case-by-case basis, but consistency helps shape perspective and creates expectations—particularly when you’re the face of the company as all customer-facing employees are. Changing policy in a 15-minute span and within earshot of a customer you gave a different answer to isn’t putting your best foot forward.
Today’s service sphere is incredibly complex for self-storage operators. Tenants and prospects have high expectations for conveniences, while being less patient and more demanding. Creating consistency across all touch channels—walk-ins, phone, call center, e-mail, social media, website, newsletter, brochures, property grounds, and so on—is a challenge that requires a thoughtful approach and better execution.
This is partly why the theme for the 2019 Inside Self-Storage World Expo centers on perfecting the CX. The notion of experience reaches far beyond direct interaction and service. It embodies the totality of your operation from your business plan to how your facility is designed to how units are cleaned, and collections handled.
This year’s event, which will run April 1-4, at The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, includes six education tracks, eight workshops, several networking events, and two days of product and service exhibits. Bestselling author, speaker, consultant and former stand-up comedian Brian Carter will deliver our keynote, “Eruption, Not Disruption: How to Bulletproof Your Self-Storage Customer Experience to Attract and Retain More Tenants” on April 2, 8-8:50 a.m.
The larger seminar program includes 42 sessions covering industry construction, development, finance, investing, management, marketing, ownership, risk management, sales, staffing and more. As always, it’s a lot to take in, and I strongly encourage you to map out a plan ahead of time. To help you be omnipresent, we will be recording the six education tracks in their entirety. DVD pre-orders are now available exclusively through the ISS Store. Special show pricing will run through April 4.
In addition, the “Self-Storage Operator Essentials 2019 Education DVD Package” includes all 28 sessions from the Management, Marketing, Ownership and Technology education tracks, while the “Self-Storage Builder/Investor Essentials 2019 Education DVD Package” includes all 14 sessions from the Building and Investing tracks. The entire 2019 collection is available through the “Total Self-Storage Solutions 2019 Education DVD Package.”
Technology and how it shapes consumer expectations and behavior is going to continue to evolve. While some operators continue to conduct business with hand ledgers and without a website, others are embracing products and services incorporating artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things. In the quest to perfect your CX and consistently meet or exceed customer expectations, time is of the essence.