Warren Buffet – the Oracle of Omaha, who may know a thing or two about business – provides the following advice: “Any business that has delighted customers has a sales force out there that you don’t have to pay. You don’t see them, but they’re talking to people all the time.”
Mr. Buffet’s right. There’s a big difference between satisfied customers and delighted customers. Satisfied customers will continue paying their monthly rent with little to no loyalty to your facility. But a delighted self-storage customer? They’ll leave favorable reviews for your business and will continue advocating after the sale by referring your facility to family and friends.
In this post, we cover self-storage customer service, and how to exceed your customer’s expectations to delight them:
The game has changed. 20 years ago, owners only had to worry about providing stellar self-storage customer service over the phone and in person. With the advent of the internet, customers have adapted to a world that’s multi-channel and multi-device. Now, everything’s connected and correlated. To exceed expectations and provide self-storage customer service that delights, master these three touchpoints:
1. Web Experience – Does your customer have difficulty finding your website online? Can they view your website across multiple devices without difficulty? Does it take 5 clicks or less for customers to complete an action on your site?
Focus on the following to make sure your web experience is a positive one for your customers:
2. Phone Experience – Is your facilities phone number listing accurate? How long are customer call hold times?
Assume that everyone who calls your facility is in a hurry. Have ongoing promotions, offers, and rates available to quickly address customer questions and concerns.
3. Onsite Experience – Is your staff friendly and attentive to customers who walk through the door? Does your staff have the authority to provide discounts where applicable?
Your onsite staff is the face of your facility to the public. Make sure you’ve hired a genuine ‘people person’ who can address customer complaints and concerns. You won’t win over every customer, but having a knowledgeable staff member that can provide solutions for customers in a timely manner will set your facility up for delighting customers in the right circumstance.
Some facilities have automated kiosks in lieu of an onsite staff member. The same recommendations apply here, but make sure the kiosk is intuitive for customer use and that it’s frequently checked to ensure it works properly for customers.
Your facility accomplished the task of having its online, phone, and onsite experiences catered to customers. Now, take it a step further and integrate these suggestions to delight your self-storage customers.
1.) Personalize Self-Storage Marketing and Customer Experiences – We know that at least 75% of customers live or work within a two-to-five-mile radius of your facility. Take a deep dive into your facility’s data to understand who your local customer truly is. That will help your team prioritize who to target and create self-storage marketing material around. The clearer the picture your data creates about the local customer the better.
For example, if you discover that your local customers are Millennials, your facility can emphasize the charitable giving it donates to organizations. Data shows that Millennials like to have a positive sentiment associated with the businesses they spend their money at. Charitable donations in this case could delight those customers and provide a level of confidence behind renting one of your facility’s units.
A hyper-local focus will ensure that your self-storage marketing outreach doesn’t fall on deaf ears. Your facility should utilize:
Hyper-local content will provide relevant information to the customer who lives near your facility, and demonstrates that your facility has a handle on what’s happening within the community. Use the data to create content that speaks directly to frequent customers and provides solutions to their needs. This SSA post provides three hyper-local content marketing strategies to incorporate into your storage facility’s marketing.
Your storage facility can promote that hyper-local content with a geo-targeted PPC spend. Geo-targeted paid ads will serve your customers relevant information about your facility, while helping to meet occupancy goals.
2.) Create Seamless Experiences for Customers – Speed matters. Don’t let anyone who works in self-storage marketing tell you different. This is true regardless of the device your self-storage customers are finding your facility from. This upcoming July, Google’s “Speed Update” algorithm change will make page speed an even more prominent ranking factor for mobile search.
Back in January, our team recommended facilities adopt a mobile-first strategy, so your storage team should already be preparing for the algorithm update now. Today’s self-storage customer doesn’t have time for slow loading times on pages. Instead, they’ll impatiently leave your site in favor of your competition.
That’s why your storage facility needs to create seamless experiences for prospective customers to delight them. Apply the 5 clicks or less rule and focus on these areas to delight your customer with ease of use and fast speeds:
Referring to our advice about exceeding the phone experience for self-storage customers, assume that every prospective customer visiting your site is pressed for time, and respect that time by continually improving page speeds and the UX on your website. That will provide an opportunity to delight your customers, so they can get back to their days while becoming a customer your team can make efforts to encourage loyalty from.
Unlike other industries, going ‘above and beyond’ to delight self-storage customers isn’t as difficult as you might think. The customer renting a 5’ X 10’ unit might simply expect it to be clean when they arrive, for it to be the correct size, and for additional fees and insurance to be communicated before finalizing the sale.
Keep in mind: customer expectations are correlated to price, so climate-controlled units and specialty units with a higher price tag will require your staff to incentivize that customer accordingly to delight them.
Our team will be delighted to speak with your self-storage marketing team today at SSA Orlando 2018. Find us at booth 126 during Trade Show hours (specified below).
Thursday, March 15th: 11:30am-1:45pm
Stop by and take our survey about voice search, and the emerging opportunities for self-storage marketing teams. After the survey, you’ll be entered in our drawing for a Google Home Mini. What are you waiting for? Find our team if you’re at SSA’s Spring Conference!
Not attending SSA Orlando 2018, but still have a self-storage customer service question? Don’t be shy. Contact us and we’ll do our best to delight you with thought-provoking and actionable advice.