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