Sponsored By
Amy Campbell

December 11, 2009

2 Min Read
The Danger of Specials: Dealing With Tenants Who Pay More

Each day for the past two weeks, I have been digitally bombarded with sale and discount offers from nearly every online retailer with whom I have shopped over the past year. Free shipping, 25% off, cash rebates, buy now and pay later ... There seems no end to what sellers are willing to do to move product this season.

Many self-storage operators have felt a similar compulsion this year to offer discounts. Even the REITs have been willing to sacrifice income to entice customers, using free and low-cost rent specials. But the effect on revenue aside, we're all aware of the other possible landmine involved in these sales tactics: fallout from existing customers who pay a higher monthly rent than your new ones.

I often get e-mails from disgruntled tenants who think ISS is some sort of consumer-protection agency that will come to their aid in struggles with storage operators. They seem to assume that because we wield the power of industry media that we will rally to their cause, contacting whichever operator is giving them  grief and demanding justice on their behalf. Today, I received just such a message through the software that allows readers to post comments to our website.

Without burdening you with intricate details, I'll tell you this customer is engaged in a scuffle with an operator in California. He claims a fellow tenant urinated on his unit and he wanted the manager to get involved—but that's not the sole basis of his complaint. When he got no immediate satisfaction locally, he went to the corporate website to find additional contact information. There he noticed the company is currently renting his unit size at a lower rate than the one he is paying, and he wants the operator to downwardly adjust his rent accordingly. (You can read all about it on the company blog.)

Ah, see how the onion unwraps. I guess you could say that had the facility manager been able to satisfy the customer regarding the "tinkle attack," the issue of rent might have been avoided. But there simply is no way to avoid having current customers be aware of your lowered rent or special promotions—not if you're marketing them correctly.

So how do you deal with current customers who come to you with complaints or requests to have their rent lowered? I'm curious to know how managers are coping with this very real and likely prevalent situation. Please post your comments to the blog; I'd love to hear your potential solutions to this customer-service conundrum.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter
ISS is the most comprehensive source for self-storage news, feature stories, videos and more.

You May Also Like