10 of the Self Storage Top Customer Complaints
It would just be splendid if you were to open a self-storage company, everything ran smoothly, and we never heard any complaints from any customers, right? Unfortunately, we’re dealing with human beings, not robotic beings. It’s only natural for any business that someone, someday will complain. So here are the self storage top customer complaints.
Firstly, how do you handle the self storage top consumer complaints? If an unhappy customer arrives, follow the steps illustrated below. More importantly, write these items down or print them out on a piece of paper and pin/tape them to the front desk!
- Stop what you’re doing and be sure to look that person in the eyes. This shows that you’re attentive and care.
- The moment that they convey complaints, acknowledge their issue, apologize for the issue and request a means of helping the valued customer.
- Make sure you listen intently to what they have to say.
- DO NOT interrupt them, let them finish what they have to say.
- Issue another apology, then explain how you will solve it, if possible.
The above process can take 5-10 seconds or 15 minutes. Regardless of the time, remember that your job and the company success depend on quality customer service! There are several companies out there the only difference between you and them is how you treat your customers and your surrounding environment. The following will help you avoid encountering the self storage top customer complaints.
Let’s take a look at each:
1. Being attentive to customers
Absolutely no one likes to be ignored, especially if they feel they’ve been wronged in some way. If you continue to keep your head burrowed into the computer screen, it will cause an even bigger issue than before. Direct eye contact is the only way to acknowledge you’re listening. Show sympathy, even if you haven’t any.
2. Acknowledge, then apologize and help
Firstly, you want to apologize. It’s helpful to say, “we’re very sorry you’re so upset. What can we do to help you?” this will defuse the conflict brewing. Many customers with complaints just want an ear to express their issues to someone that will care. ALWAYS remain calm, don’t let them make you angry.
3. Listen Intently
It’s very hard to listen to someone when they’re screaming at you. Listen to what they’re saying. Observe their body language. Is the breakdown the customer is having “the end all be all of issues” , or is this a real issue that needs to be addressed? Listening to the complaint helps you determine a solution if there is one.
4. Do not interrupt
If you don’t let the customer finish before jumping in, you’re adding kindle to the fire and adding to the turmoil brewing. Use the time you’re listening to formulate an answer or solution. Using terms like, “Oh My” or “Oh No” will validate their feelings. It’s always easier to give an explanation to someone who feels like they have had their side heard first.
5. Take swift action
When the customer is finished addressing their issue, apologize again. A simple “I am so sorry this happened” will do just fine. Explain to them how you intend to solve the issue. Regardless if they’ve caused the difficulty, (rent overdue, can’t get in gate, etc.) you can address the solution and be helpful to them in their time of need.
Always remain calm and don’t argue! Fighting with a customer is a can’t-win situation. They’ll leave in a fury and tell everyone they know not to use your company. Attempt to resolve their issue before they leave.
What are the ten self storage top customer complaints?
- My Gate Code Doesn’t Work:
Typically, the fault lay with the customer for forgetting their code, late on rent or misplacing their card. Educating the customer upon lease execution as to the steps and procedures if a payment is missed, is your best bet. During the lease process, teach them how to punch in the code for access and explain the details behind your late payment policies. When a tenant has forgotten their code or key, it’s important to ask for ID before helping them, this insures security over ones’ unit. Allowing a client to see that you’re protecting their unit give them a sense of ease and a feeling of protection.
If they’re entering the code incorrectly, demonstrate the correct way to punch in the code. Don’t use a speaker system if it can be avoided, go to the gate to greet them. Always be pleasant, don’t express frustration because they’re having trouble with a simple task.
If a customer’s rent is delinquent, explain in a pleasant mannor that they may not have realized their rent hasn’t been paid. Do not chastise or reprimand. In many cases it’s just an honest mistake.
- Late and Miscellaneous Fees:
Throughout the lease process, be sure to explain how fees are assessed. Make eye contact; make sure the customer is paying attention and understands the policies implemented by your establishment. Sometimes offering a one time “late fee waiver” will help them feel more comfortable. Clarifying and defining all miscellaneous charges at leasing can help you avoid misunderstandings in the future. Request initialing of the fee policy on the contract to acknowledge they understand the late fees, policy’s and procedures, if one was to be late with a payment.
- The Collections and Auction Process:
Many customers have claimed that they never knew about the collections/auctions policy and weren’t notified. Education is paramount; while processing the lease, explain the policy’s regarding fees, collections and auctions clearly. Presenting the signed lease with signature and initials will most likely help them settle down. This helps them accept responsibility and avoid an angry rant.
- Vacate Notifications and Refunds:
Many facilities require move out notices and don’t give refunds. Due to most leases being month-to-month, refunds for partial months aren’t really feasible. According to learnselfstorage.com: Stamping or writing “NO REFUNDS” on the lease, putting a copy of a move out notice in the lease package and explaining policy may help, but in most instances, people just forget. All you can do is to reiterate the rules.
- Your Climate Control Isn’t Cold Enough
Most people think that climate controlled storage units should be air-conditioned and heated like that of a home or office building is controlled. Truth be told, grandma’s old liquor cabinet doesn’t need to be 71 degrees at all times. Climate-control exists primarily to regulate humidity and maintain a consistent temperature. Customers will typically accept this explanation. Always explain the temperature policy at leasing.
- Access to the Unit
There are usually two issues that arise from unit access times, the first is access hours. In many cases, hours are regulated for the security of the people and their belongings. Storage unit access hours can sometimes be governed by government or by the owner or property manager. If a customer requests 24 hour access, define the policy and/or adjust hours for the customer for a surcharge.
The second issue usually has to do with a person or persons not listed on the lease agreement not getting access. Call the tenant immediately and ask if the person is permitted access. Make a note on the rental unit file to request update authorized access permissions. Authorizing access without approval can open the door to liability.
- Requesting Electric in Units:
The majority of storage facilities will not provide electrical outlets in the units. In most cases, it will be commercial tenants that require electricity. Find out the person’s needs; if the customer mows lawns or uses other electrically powered equipment, ask if they need access to electric and water. Upon showing them the unit, show them where the electrical outlets are and consider a surcharge if they intend on using the electricity a lot.
- Prices are way too high!
In the market of older worn-down facilities, price could be an issue. Newer storage facilities with more amenities will justify a higher price. Distinguish the customers’ needs and present the property in a manner that meets their needs the best you can. NEVER Criticize the competition!!! The manager makes the difference by making the customer comfortable with you through rapport building. A couple dollars over the competition won’t matter if you have all of your ducks in a row with customer service.
- Invoicing is very important
Many self-storage operators don’t invoice every customer. If you do invoice, charge a small fee; invoicing requires time and money. Address this topic during the lease process and also consider invoicing habitually late customers at no addition fee.
- Actual Unit Size isn’t what it says it is…
We love this complaint. If a person actually measures a unit, they will most likely find other grievances. Units are always approximated and should be listed as such on your lease agreement and your website. Your answer should be that all sizes are listed as approximate and the pricing stands. Many customers look at this as a loophole to request discount or they’ll threaten to move out. Let them.
If you’re catching an earful about the facility being dirty, doors or elevators not working, or lights are out, this is a maintenance issue and can easily be avoided by making sure the crew is keeping up on it. Customer feedback is the only measuring tool we can use to gage how the customer feels about our services. Offer the opportunity to fill out a brief survey.
Proven Ways to Market Self-Storage in 2018
Self-Storage companies have been amassing a lot of property to lease out empty space for storage, and many show interest in being part of the movement, but some find the terrain very hard to manage due to a lack of knowledge about self-storage marketing. So, here are 10 great ways to market self storage if you’re a new owner on a low budget.
For instance, what steps can you take to make sure your business is appearing for people looking for your services within your surrounding area? How much money will you have to invest into adverting and marketing? So, we’re going to attempt to teach you how to market your storage company and help you stay afloat.
It all starts with the value you provide to customers and the quality of your facility and staff. Several different facets come to mind when describing superlatives that carry a lot of weight regarding your company.
Awesome Ways to Market Self Storage – Build a Foundation
Location: Location is key. For an example, Safe & Secure Self Storage is located within a very short driving distance from NYC. The storage rental rates in New York are around double what we charge, so this offers a value incentive to those frequenting self storage facilities in Manhattan mainly, to save half the money they would spend on storage by just traveling a little further.
Facility Cleanliness: No one wants to store their belongings in a messy unclean storage facility. Remember you’re leasing out empty space, the least you could do is make sure it’s clean.
Customer Service: At Safe & Secure we take customer service very seriously, which is why we get several great reviews on several different sites listing our business. It’s important that you practice the same thing, because it creates more “noise” on the internet showing your company in a positive light. This, in-turn makes for a great signal your company has a higher trust level to the average analytical consumer.
Now that we’ve wrapped up the fundamental of maintaining clients and also appealing to them, below we’ll list several proven ways to attract them through various forms of advertising tactics.
Here are 10 Great Ways to Market Self Storage When You’re New in the Business
1. Leveraging Social Media
Don’t buy likes or follows as it will deter you from really seeing if your social media marketing is working. Network with company’s and customers alike address customer issues and resolve them all make for a perfect combination on social media. The leading customer acquision company SpareFoot.com addresses this all too well with 10,000 Plus followers and aggressive lead generation campaigns, but what if you’re just a one man show, can you do the same? Yes. The idea is to focus your campaigns on your local region and advertise specials as well as run games offering free gift cards. Now-a-days people on social media can leverage their profiles to learn about the best deals possible. Offering a free month for an average length of lease within 6-9 months is a no brainer. People love deals, give them too them. Check This Link to Social Media Marketing on YouTube
2. Run Contests with Your Current and Past Clients
Your customers and potential customers are your businesses lifeline. Treat them how you would want to be treated as a consumer. Running regular contests will help you keep them involved with your company and also let them know you care about them. Offering a free Starbucks or Duncan donuts gift card for participation in a game it one of the best ways to keep their attention and loyalty. For Example: Duncan Donuts used to be the leading coffee company in the United States, but once Starbucks opened up and started taking up ground it took a large portion of their market share. However, once a year Duncan offers “Free Coffee Day” which in turn brings a lot of those new Starbucks customers back to their home of Duncan.
People like to be involved, but they also like incentive, Give them what they want and they’ll give you what you want, business.
3. Reach Out to Local Movers
It’s no secret that the moving industry and the storage industry converge in several areas. Having one of your employees reach out to the local moving company’s in the area to build rapport with them is without a doubt a great idea. Some long-distance movers need to store stuff until their ready for the trek across the country. Offer them incentive to use your storage facility instead of the next guys.
4. Make Upgrades as Your Business Grows
Safe & Secure has a lot of property on their grounds and as we got older some things in the industry started changing, so we started to change with it. If you’re an out-door storage facility, see if you can get some temperature control or install a very advanced security system or even a fence to keep the un-welcomed guests from venturing in the property. If you offer the services people are looking for, people will want to use your services over anyone else, especially if you’re located in a very convenient location. Safe & Secure received a lot of requests for drive-up units and we only had a few because that majority of our units are indoor units. So we invested on installing outdoor drive up units to suffice our customer base.
5. Partnering with Affiliates
Creating affiliate relationships with Real-Estate Agents, Property Managers and other members of industries that frequent self storage is always good for a few leads per year, but this is business and many are in it for the incentive, so make sure you compensate them for their loyalty.
6. Loyalty Programs are a Great Way To Market Self Storage
Customers love a good referral program, especially when it offers free stuff and bonuses for their loyalty. Reward customers for their reviews and or patronage, by giving them a discount or some form of savings.
7. Educate Customers About Your Services
It’s not easy to convey all of the different services your business has to offer, but it becomes easier when you can display it on your website or business listing in an easy to understand fashion. For Example: Our Google business listing is just a listing until I fill it with information about our services which in turn tells google to display it if the persons query matches what our services describe and we’re in the area we’re searching. Our analytics show that after properly filling out and uploading information to our Google Business listing, the views of our business listing went up by 5000% (that’s not an exaggeration). We exceed our local competitors by 100%. Today’s the day of information technology, people want information and accurate information at that. Give them what they want.
86 percent of consumers believe these programs are worth the effort they put into them to achieve a particular reward, and 83 percent say they are more likely to continue doing business with certain companies because of their loyalty programs. According to: InsideSelfStorage.com
8. Get Involved with Local College’s
Several college students travel home for summer break but may not want to haul all of their stuff home too. Reach out to local college guidance counselors and tell them that you have special student discounts for their students. Be persistent in showing that you’re very interested in catering to their students. They will refer and if you’re located in a college town it’s a very good thing. Creating a game or a competition for the local students, maybe a competition to fit a bunch of things properly into a storage unit or designing a storage unit and offer them something in return. This will create some good press and show that you’re interested in the youth of the community.
9. Co-Op Marketing for Self-Storage
Many businesses want to advertise on Google but may not have the budget or the knowhow. However, maybe you have both and are looking for a place to send customers who’s needs you can’t meet. Negotiate a deal to share leads and share the budget with local businesses similar to yours. This allows you to have a budget to compete with the “Big Guy’s” on Google and Bing. Also reaching out to local businesses to layout your flyers is another great way of getting more business too.
10. Using Groupon in a Wise Fashion.
Without a doubt Groupon can drive a lot of traffic. However, many advertisers on Groupon don’t stay on Groupon because they don’t know how to package their deals wisely. There’s no point to using a service that will make you lose money after spending. Advertising is about ROI. So come up with a package that offers good incentive, but doesn’t make you lose money in the process. For Example: Don’t offer 6 months free when they pay for one month. This may seem obvious, but not to those who don’t advertise again on Groupon. Offering a free month when they sign up for the first month is the best way to go. However, you may want to take into account the average length of stay for your customers before you do this.
Well… This Concludes The 10 Great Ways To Market Self Storage in 2018
All-in-all there are undoubtedly more ways to acquire more customers. It’s up to you to do the research and evaluate different strategies through trial and error. If your going to take a shot with a certain form of marketing you have never had experience, don’t go “all in.” Test the waters first see if it’s successful then gauge whether it’s worth doing it on a continuous basis. Once you find a process that works, allocate a percentage of the budget towards that one process, then use some of the rest to try some other new things. Be frugal until you know it works.