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Serving Tenants in Crisis

Amy Campbell

July 24, 2008

2 Min Read
Serving Tenants in Crisis

Last week, I drove from Phoenix to Kansas City, Mo., to visit family. I took my grandsons and one of their friends, so the journey necessitated several stops for refreshments and souvenir-hunting.

I must say, we had some diverse service experiences. For example, at one "home of the golden arches," the food was served in a hostile manner and was cold, and the hamburger buns had the texture of a baseball mitt. Ugh! Another place shortchanged my youngest grandson by so much it had to have been deliberate.
But there were some occasions that really reinforced my faith that people in the service business are very special. In Amarillo, Texas, our half-way point, we were unable to find a hotel room. Seems a major religious group holds its annual three-week convention there. Despite the hotel being sold out, a young Drury Inn desk clerk tried for 25 minutes to find a room at other locations.

At a restaurant late one night, a truly funny waitress cracked us up with her comments and got our entire convoluted order correct without writing down a single item. There were many other shining, service-with-a-smile moments in the 2,400-mile journey.

This reminded me of a question I posed on our forum, Self-Storage Talk, asking managers how they handle customers who are obviously in crisis. Here’s a sample of the responses:

Wayne says his wife is very good at comforting upset clients. They must make a good team.

John reminds all his managers that 70 percent to 80 percent of customers are in the middle of a life crisis. He defines this as any event that varies significantly from the norm and creates substantial emotional or physical stress. In one month, his staff dealt with four tenant or tenant-family deaths, including a murder. He advises to listen with empathy and work to prevent the storage experience from contributing more stress. Showing compassion to a customer in crisis will go a long way toward polishing the often tarnished image of this industry, he says.

Of course, as Discountmini posted, it's always wise to stay out of domestic disputes and make sure no changes to the contract are made by one party without the consent of the other.

I say bravo to all who are in service work, and a special hats off to self-storage “counselors.” Your jobs aren’t easy, but I know if I need your help, someone out there in the wide world of self-storage will listen.

Got a crisis story? Click the "Leave comment" button and let us hear it.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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