Saturday, July 19, 2014

First Impressions Count

It’s amazing to me as a Manager in the self-storage industry for over 9 years now, how it’s still an exciting and entertaining job to come to every day.

At Storage Station, located at 2354 Hamburg Turnpike, Wayne, NJ, 07470, i.e. Self Storage in Wayne NJ I get to meet such a wide variety of people in various stages of their lives on a daily basis.

Whether it is for a move, death in the family, home renovations, etc., as a representative of self-storage, I need to be prepared for each instance, in an instant, when the perspective tenant walks through my doors.  From the moment the car pulls in to the parking lot, I begin my preparation for their first impression of me and the facility.

For example, if I’m working on a mailing project and there are envelopes, letters, envelope adhesive and stamps, no matter how neatly, placed across the desk, I remove them from view.  It’s important the first sight that perspective or new tenant sees is not clutter.  It gives an impression of disarray and could make someone feel like they’re being a disruption and I’m not giving them my full attention.  Another example of poor representation is food on the front desk when a customer walks through the door.  At a previous position, I had a manager who would continue eating while he greeted and helped customers.  That would never happen on my watch!  Again, any food is put aside and out of sight when a customer comes in the main office.  When a Storage Station of Wayne customer walks in the office door, they are greeted by a standing, smiling self-storage representative and greeted like we’ve been waiting just for them.

The small candy dish on my front desk is always full.  This way when a current or perspective tenant comes in to the main office, they instantly feel welcome with a sweet treat.

The water cooler is always kept clean with a good supply of cups for anyone who enters the office and needs a cold drink of water.  There is also tea and coffee available to anyone who needs to warm up, have a seat and unload for a few minutes.  We are always here for our customers.

The overall look of the main office is very important when it comes to new and current customers.  The merchandise on display for sale is conveniently and clearly priced for every customer.  The boxes we have for sale are displayed and priced so the customer can see what the box looks like and how big/small it is when put together and taped.

If a customer buys our merchandise, whether it’s a roll of tape or a bundle of boxes, here at Storage Station of Wayne, we always make sure we are available to help that customer to their car with their purchase.

The customer experience is always remembered.  To be catered to and doted upon is exceptional customer service and our customers at Storage Station of Wayne deserve no less.

When a customer walks in the front door of the main office and is looking for self-storage, they are usually aware they are making a major purchase.  As the representative of my facility, I need to make the customer feel the decision to store here at Storage Station of Wayne, is the right decision for them. I describe the amenities of storing with us, show them unit sizes and tell them costs.  All the time I am speaking to the potential tenant, I am selling myself as well.  For whatever the reason a customer is looking to utilize self-storage, I believe it’s important they know their belongings are in the care of someone who…well…cares! This comes across when they first walk in to the office and I greet them.  I greet them standing, I greet them with a smile, they are greeted at a clean, organized desk.  They are greeted by a staff member without a sandwich in their mouth, in their hand or in sight in any way.  As a consumer myself, I would not think highly of the person who greeted me that way and I wouldn’t feel they had any respect for me as well.

My father taught me that making eye contact with anyone I first meet is important, as well as a firm handshake.  The renter wants to know they are dealing with a representative with some integrity.  They will feel that way with staff that can look at them in the eye while they speak and not be fiddling with paperwork, typing in the computer and just not making eye contact in general during a conversation.

Depending on the reason the customer walks through the office door, sometimes as the staff member behind the desk, I am deemed the person to listen to a client, for lack of better words, spill their guts.  If there was death in the family, I am a sympathetic ear for them.  If there is an impending breakup of a marriage or other partnership, I am an ear to bend as to what went wrong.  If there is a big move, I am here to reassure them of the next adventure in their lives.  If they’re sending their child off to college, I am here to share in the excitement.

In today’s economy, price is important to most people.  It is not the cheapest price though that can attract every customer.  I think there is a behind the scenes assessment going on in the mind of every potential client.  If they visited multiple locations, the customers were shown large metal rooms, probably at various sizes, with the services that come with each facility.  The conversation to decide which facility best suits them will usually come down to which self-storage representative they liked and trusted more.  Which staff made them feel like they were the most important?  Who spoke to them with respect by introducing themselves when they walked in the office, asked and used their name during their tour of a facility?  Who gave them a personalized business card and told them to call, even if the decision was to store elsewhere?

There are so many reasons for making big decisions in life.  When deciding to use self-storage at Storage Station of Wayne, I’d like to think one of the decisions is the staff and the exceptional customer service we provide to each and every potential tenant who walks through our office door.

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