The Oxford English Dictionary states that customer service is "the help and advice that a company gives people who buy or use its products or services" and it's no secret that it is essential, vital in fact. This can be seen by a study which found that 81% of customers claim that receiving good customer service enhances their likelihood of making another purchase (Zendesk, 2022). Many businesses put a lot of emphasis on customer service in order to set themselves apart from the competition. But what about the self storage industry? Is customer service still crucial in an industry where many facilities are unmanned? The answer is absolutely yes! Customer service has always been an important factor for any business; after all, you will not want to do business with a company that does not treat you well. With the popularity of unmanned facilities growing and the evidential working-from-home lifestyles that have become a norm thanks to the Coronavirus Pandemic, even if your facility is unmanned, your self storage facility can stand out from the crowd with exceptional customer service.
Self storage is a service-based industry, which means that customers are paying for a service. You can ensure you are providing quality service by maintaining regular communication with your customers, whether it is through Intercom or just a phone call. Let them know about any changes or updates that may affect their storage unit, such as new security measures or modifications to the access hours. Just because your facility is unmanned, doesn't mean you have to neglect customer service. By keeping your customers in the loop, you are building trust and showing that you care about their experience at your facility. Since you are still taking care of your customer even though they are not at your facility at that particular time, it shows that you are prepared to go above and beyond for them.
In terms of Intercom, this can be an influential method for providing a high standard of customer service. Yes, you are missing out on the face to face interaction, and the personal touch is far from the traditional methods, however you are still able to assist the customer in almost real-time. Intercoms are great for answering queries regarding factual answers, which need limited conversational dialogue, such as opening and closing hours, and whether your facility offers climate-controlled units.
For unmanned facilities, customer service can also include offering a 24/7 customer support line. This is beneficial as it provides customers with reassurance that there is always someone they can contact if they need assistance, even if it is outside of normal business hours.
A major advantage to self storage facilities with on-site staff is that you can provide a personal touch to the customer experience. Greeting customers by name and getting to know them on a personal level can go a long way in making them feel valued. It can be as simple as having a smile on your face when they enter the facility. If you have repeat customers, take the time to ask them how their business is going or how their family is doing. Be engaging and express an interest in their day and life. This small act of kindness can really make a customer feel appreciated, and it may even encourage them to refer your facility to their friends and family.
Along with adding a personal touch, having staff on-site means you are able to assist customers there and then. This could be locaing the nearest trolly for them, or opening the gate for them when their hands are full. Little things like this can make a big difference to customer satisfaction levels. If a customer feels like they are being taken care of, they are more likely to be happy with your service and continue using your facility in the future. With on-site staff, not only can you assist customers with physical actions, you can offer advice to customers who are new to self storage, or who may be unsure about what size unit they need, or even what type of unit they need. Customers will appreciate the expert advice and it will make them feel more confident about using your facility.
In today's self storage industry, customer service is more important than ever before. With so many facilities to choose from, customers will choose the one that provides the best experience. You are able to provide a high standard of customer service whether your facility is unmanned or has on-site staff, whether using applications such as Intercom, or being engaging with customers whilst they are at your facility. You can make sure your facility is the one they choose by providing quality customer service at every opportunity! It is important to remember that customer service should not end once the customer has left your facility. You can follow up with them via email or phone call to ensure that they are still happy with the service they are receiving. This way, you can catch any issues early on and nip them in the bud before they become bigger problems.
Sources - Zendesk, 2022, Customer Experience Trends CX Trends 2022