recently had the privilege of speaking to the members of the
Pennsylvania Self Storage Association at their annual fall conference. My topic for the manager tract was customer service. We have all heard proven techniques on what to do to close
a sale, but how do we go above and beyond for our customers?
I explained that self-storage customers are typically struggling
with major life events when they come through our doors. As
managers, we have the unique opportunity to make a difference
in someone life that can have a huge impact.
The session went very well and several attendees thanked
me, stating that they thoroughly enjoyed it.
After the day was complete, I went into the hotel restaurant
to grab a bite to eat. I never eat before I speak so by four in the
afternoon, I was starving. Since I was alone, I sat at the bar.
There was a gentleman who was also sitting alone; after several
minutes, he struck up a conversation with me. We exchanged
the typical small talk: Hi. Where are you from? What brings you
As I explained what I was doing there he asked what I had
spoken about. I told him how in our industry we typically deal
with people going through major life events such as divorce,
death of a loved one, and moving. I told him that I was explaining to attendees the fragile state most of our customers are in
when they visit us, and how we should go above and beyond
to help them.
He sat for a minute, and then he teared up. he
said, just went through that [divorce]. It was devastating and I
had to get a storage unit. I had to pack up all of my belongings
and find a place to put them. I went to a storage facility and the
manager was so nice. He have to
But it was this comment that really got me. This is the comment I feel compelled to share with you: found kindness where
I never expected
You see, our industry is so amazing and there are tons of
exciting things happening with technology. Our rental rates and
occupancy levels are seeing record highs. Facilities are selling
at a fast pace with amazing returns. Employees are being paid
well. In these good times, are we missing what is really important? We have the power to make an impact. Facility managers
have the opportunity to make a difference, so smile when you
greet someone. Think of how you are treated when you are the
consumer. Go to work, be proud of who you are, and make a
difference in life today!
Stephanie Tharpe is the senior vice president of operations at A+ Storage of TN,
LLC, and the 2016 TNSSA Board of Directors Event and Education Chair.
FOURTH QUARTER 2016