From Good to Great Customer Service!

I found a brilliant article that re-enforced my belief that customer service is vital to an organization.

Here is an abridged version of what it said:

While excellent customer service is a no-brainer for businesses like retail stores, restaurants and hotels - other industries (self-storage included) struggle with customer service. Potential self-storage customers generally have many facilities to choose from - sometimes within a single block – so it’s vital for managers and owners to continually improve service to stand out from their competition.

Here are some key strategies to take you good customer service to GREAT customer service.

1. Change Your Hiring Tactics
A single employee with a bad attitude can turn off countless potential renters and make existing customers vow never to return to your facility. And if one of those negative encounters fuels an angry review, tweet or Facebook post, it could harm your business for years to come. To keep a bad apple from spoiling your business, beef up your hiring strategies so you’re consistently adding employees who have top-notch service skills. Not sure what to look for in a new employee? Start by hiring for "attitude before experience" because while it may be tempting to bring on the candidate with a dazzling smile and a perfect resume try to find an applicant with a naturally bright personality—even if they are slightly less qualified. Remember that you always can train a new employee on certain skills for a position, but it’s extremely difficult to teach compassion and friendliness.

2. Make It Personal
When customers are looking for self-storage, there is typically a ‘story’ related to their need. If your employees can remember personal stories and bring up those details when renters come back in, you’ll create lasting impressions that promote long-term customer loyalty. Worried about employees getting confused about who’s clearing out his home after a flood or who’s making room for a new baby? Train your employees to automatically plug these details into a customer’s account file.

3. Create a Good First Impression
Now that you’ve hired a team of employees who are warm, friendly and bring a personal touch to every face-to-face interaction - don't ignore the “self” aspect of self-storage. Even if renters go straight to their units and don’t have any contact with employees - you still can improve their rental experiences by always making sure facility is clean and inviting.  A customer’s first impression of your business begins as soon as they pull into the parking lot. Keep close tabs on details like landscaping, trash removal, bathroom supplies and lighting in the storage area. And while you’re sprucing up your property, don’t forget to review your online presence. Make sure your website is well-organized and easy to navigate, and lets renters pay bills and check account information.

4. Respect Your Customers’ Time.
Many self-storage businesses struggle to take care of their customers in a timely manner, but time is often a big concern for renters.  Most storage customers are coming into the office to rent space but their minds are on the movers or starting to mentally unload the truck into the space. Facilities should try to condense and streamline any paperwork that customers would be required to fill out.  A suggestion to help streamline the process would be to invest in automated kiosks that carry out certain steps in the rental process because these machines can take the pressure off employees and speed up the flow of customers during busy times.

Whether you carry out all of these tactics or just one - just remember that great customer service is simply to make your customers feel appreciated. If you and your employees keep this philosophy on the top of your minds, you’ll be well on your way to providing better service to each and every customer.

To read the article in its entirety, select the link below

http://blog.selfstorage.com/self-storage-operations/how-to-improve-customer-service-3235

 

 

Why should I get software training?

These days technology changes at an exponential rate, particularly in the software industry. Keeping up can be a real challenge especially since most of us all already have a full plate but we can’t discount the fact that training is hugely important, not only to stay on top of  endless new technologies, but also for personal development and satisfaction.

Training comes in handy to get a jump on new technologies and become comfortable with them. One of the main benefits of training is that the student will be able to focus on learning a specific topic.  Since we live in a busy world and time is hard to come by, if you don't have the appropriate training, you may end up doing things in a non-ideal way and never really grasp the complete concept.

Here are some of the personal benefits of training:

  • Staying current with updates and best practices
  • Cutting time in the learning process
  • Learning from real-world examples
  • Increasing your productivity at work by applying the learned principles

When it comes to training, however, you aren’t the only one who needs to be convinced. The benefits of training aren’t limited to just you – there are plenty of ways the company will gain from sending their employees to training as well.

Here are some of the benefits the company will see:

  • Dramatically reduced ramp up time
  • Increased productivity by the employee
  • Defined training curriculum with a mix of lecture and hands-on labs/exercises
  • Customizable training classes that can be tailored to your company's training goals

Living our dream life

Recently, I had read an article by Brian Kelly about the courage to live your dream life.  I thought it had a good message so I have included it in this post. 

What have you always dreamed of becoming? What feelings come up for you when you dream about the life you have always wanted? We’ve all done it. Ever since we were children, whether prompted by curious family members or friends, we have always entertained the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

How many of us are truly living our authentic, dream life? If you are among those who are not, what is stopping you from creating that life?

For many of us life’s circumstances create a reality where we make choices not aligned to our dream life. We become afraid of change and get comfortable living with the status quo, rather than honoring our dreams for our one life. Fear and self-doubt become our captains rather than ambition and faith. We get off-course from our factory-default settings and wonder in adult life, “How did I end up here?” What happened?

We begin our life as curious, happy, imaginative, wonderful human beings. We observe, we listen, we interact, and we form a connection with others. We explore our curiosity, learn, and imagine endless possibilities. We build awareness, knowledge, and skills that shape our choices of the activities we enjoy and pursue. Yet, somewhere along the way, we lose touch with the joyful exuberance, wonder, and innocence of youth, and become unintended versions of ourselves. We make choices disconnected from our authentic selves, so enveloped in who we have become, we fail to connect with who we are, and to believe in who we can become.

If you find yourself in this place, how do you affect the change you want for your life? You start with acceptance without judgment. Acceptance of oneself, any lingering issues or thought habits from your past that are not serving you, and acceptance of each person, for the unique gift he or she is, without judgment. From this place of acceptance, you can become the person you want to be. You can create the future you want for yourself. You can foster the relationships you want in your life.

Are choices that you make to live today and every tomorrow in alignment with your dreams? Will you commit to doing the work required to realize the change you desire? The journey will be challenging. Meaningful change usually is. Ask yourself, “Isn’t your one and only life worth living on your terms?”

Will you continue to give credence to your inner voice telling you all the reasons why it’s not possible, or will you ask yourself, “What do I need to do to make this happen?” “Can I really do it?” The answer is: Yes, You Can!

Why Computer Training?

Many organizations neglect the computer training which would enable employees to use IT effectively.  Software and computer training can be the missing pieces of a company's IT strategy.

Training helps you make the most of your investment in IT.  Having employees who know how to do things properly will make your company more efficient, cutting support costs and streamlining business processes.  Additionally, the right software training can reduce frustration amongst your staff.  There is nothing worse than wrestling with a computer to make it do what you want - especially when it might only take a brief training session to learn how to do it.

Remember that computer training is only effective when you give your staff the chance to practice and absorb what they learnt. This may cost you some time and money, but your whole company will benefit in the long run.

 

Your Experiences Are What Matter Most.

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Your experiences in life truly do matter. What are the experiences you create for yourself? Make time to experience wonderful situations that light you up. You are here for the ultimate experience of life, so make it count.

Be Happy Now.

Be happy now. Because happiness is not a destination.

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored. ~ Earl Nightingale

Just like living for the moment, be as happy as you can when you can. Realize that you don’t have to be happy when you have attained something. Happiness is something that you choose, a mental state that attracts more things to be happy about!

Make Every Moment Matter

Don’t hesitate to live every moment out of your life in the best way you can because living is once, chances are rare and nothing is certain. ~ Blaze Olamiday

Too often, we are stuck feeling bitter about the past or thinking about what might happen in the future. We are either holding regrets or worrying. The truth is, there is only now. You can only live in this moment — that’s why you need to make this moment count.

What’s happened has passed and what is going to happen depends on what you do right now.

Make every moment matter.

Why I won't be making a New Year's Resolution for 2014

You read that right - I won't be making a New Year's Resolution this year.

Here's why.   

I read an article somewhere on why you shouldn’t make a New Year's resolution and thought it made a lot of sense.

Here is the gist of what it said:

The key to accomplishing things is to create systems, not goals. What's the difference? A goal (like a resolution) is a specific end-point that you want to reach.  For example, a runner's goal could be to run a marathon or a writer's goal could be to complete a book.

Your system is the strategy that you would use to achieve those goals. For the runner, it’s a training plan and for the writer, it’s a writing schedule.

What would happen if you ignored the goal entirely and only focused on the day-to-day? You'd still get results and end up be happier, too. The problem with goals is that you trick yourself into believing that once you reach that goal you'll be happy and successful. A mindset like that puts unnecessary stress and weight on your shoulders.

A better way for us to motivate ourselves in the long term is to commit to a process, not a goal or series of goals. The runner is better off leaving some workouts unfinished, if it helps them stick to a long-term schedule. The writer doesn't necessarily have to pen 1,000 words a day, as long as they sit down and write something on a regular basis.

Goals are about the short-term result. Systems are about the long-term process. In the end, long-term processes always win.

So in the spirit of using systems and not pursuing goals, consider not making a New Year's resolution this year. Instead, start a system. If you want to lose weight, move more and eat better rather setting a benchmark number of pounds to shed. If you want to read more, try getting in the habit of picking up a book after work instead of challenging yourself to get through 50 of them in the next 12 months.

That's why we shouldn't make a New Year's resolution this year - let's create a system and stick to it.  Individual goals and resolutions can come and go, and can be overwhelming to achieve but  a new system that we keep has the power to change our lives. 

Have a Safe and Happy Holiday!

The holiday season is upon us – for many of us this means time with friends and family, food, caroling, lights and gifts. It is a joyous time of year filled with warm thoughts and best wishes for a wonderful holiday and a very happy new year.

Enjoy!

No Multi-Tasking Allowed

The evidence against multi-tasking is overwhelming. Trying to do more than one thing at a time only slows the brain down, taking precious processing time to switch between tasks, and adding to brain fatigue. Why not ask everyone to spend one hour doing just one thing and then report the results? It’s a simple concept, but many of us will find it very hard to do.

Just pick one thing that you need to get finished, start a timer and do it, without multi-tasking. That means no instant messaging, no checking email, no talking on the phone while working, etc. Really. A recent study showed that people not only take more time to accomplish tasks while alternating between several tasks at once, they also commit more errors. So do everyone a favor and suggest that they drop this unproductive habit.

Is training ever finished?

Can you possibly over-train? NO and NO. For whatever reasons, too many people feel “My people have already been trained” or “I’ve got good people…they only need a little training.” But training never ends.  Encourage “tune- up”/“refresher” training sessions every so often to keep users on top of changes and updates to the software.

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