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  • Take Care of Your Storage Company’s Staff
    By jeff on February 4, 2011 | 164 Comments164 Comments  Comments

    Sometimes when you are doing everything that you to maximize the potential of your Crown Heights self storage company you lose site of what makes your organization great. You focus a little too much on the bottom line and storage rentals. If you are that committed to being the best in the New York area, you probably are running a successful business. You need to take time to recognize all of your wonderful employees every once in a while. Loyal employees will guarantee long term success for you Crown Heights self storage operation. Here are some great ideas on how you can make your employees feel important.

    You could have an awards ceremony every year where you recognize the top performers at you Crown Heights self storage locations. You can give out awards for many different things. Honor the person who gets the most storage rentals. You should also have an award for best customer service since that is a vital part of your company, as well. You should think up as many awards as you can and get plaques with their names engraved. This is a simple and cost effective away to recognize the people that make your Crown Heights self storage organization great.

    You should also cater lunch from time to time. Make sure to announce when you are going to do this so the employees know that they do not need to bring their own lunch. This is a great social event for your Crown Heights self storage employees, as well. A little team unity never hurt anyone in the New York storage industry. Drama can often develop in the office over petty agreements and special events can help keep the team on the same page. At the same time, you could have dinner where everyone brings in a dish. People will feel proud when others ask their recipe for their special dish. You can also bring in donuts or bagels to show appreciation, as well.

    A company picnic is always a great way to build team unity. It is nice for employees to be able to include their families so they can introduce them to all of their co workers. They have probably told their families stories from work and now they will be able to put faces to the names. You could have a cook out. You could even have a dunk tank. Some employees may enjoy seeing you go into the dunk tank a little too much, but it will be a good time for everyone. It just shows that you care about more than just storage rentals.

    You should always remember that family comes first. Some of your employees may have family responsibilities from time to time and you should respect their needs. A lot of bosses get agree when people miss work for family emergencies. It should be ok for most of the time. If it is a regular thing, then you may need to say something, but do not worry too much about it otherwise. You could offer them sick pay and vacation time that they can use when they need to miss work. That way, they do not lose money while dealing with an occasional family emergency. Being a great storage property owner requires a certain level of consideration for all of your employees.

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  • Welcoming Customers to Your Storage Facility
    By jeff on February 2, 2011 | 7 Comments7 Comments  Comments

    When someone comes into your Shawnee self storage location, you want to be ready to help them with whatever they may need. A lot of your visitors will be coming to the store to pay a bill or buy moving boxes. As soon as they walk in the door, greet them. Let them know that you are here to help. Go to them; do not make them come to you. Some customers complain about walking into businesses and being greeted. This is because there is no enthusiasm from the greeter. Greet them like you mean it, not like you are required to by your Shawnee self storage boss. It is kind of like saying have a nice day. There is not point in saying it if you do not mean it.

    When someone comes into your Shawnee self storage site to pay a bill, tell them all of their payment options. Most sites should allow a variety of payments. Payments can be made with credit or debit card, cash, check, or money order. Work with the customer, as well. This may be more of a message to owners as opposed to store employees, but you should accept partial payments because customers will not always be able to pay the full amount. The fact is that most people who are storing are on hard times so money is hard to come by. Running a successful business long term is all about making the customer happy. You do not want to make people angry because word of mouth is an important part of your marketing plan. The only way to have a good public image is to bend over backwards to help the customer out.

    As a Shawnee self storage manager, a lot of your store visits will be for moving and storage supplies. A lot of employees in Kansas do not put as much emphasis on selling moving supplies as they do storage. This is not the right approach. As much as twenty percent of revenue can come from moving and storage supplies so you really need to focus on it. It would be the difference between breaking even and making a good profit. Make sure to place the best selling items up front so they are easy to get to. You could feature boxes and locks since they are typically the best selling items. When someone buys boxes from your, make sure to offer them tape and packing material along with it.

    Some Shawnee self storage customers will visit your store to check out your business operation. A lot of employees in Kansas feel that the unit is sold when customers decide to visit. This is when you need to do your best selling. This is your chance to really show the customer why your facility is better than the rest. Showcase what your have by showing them around the property. This is when it is important to actually schedule a time when a customer calls in. You can have enough employees so that you can show them around the property and still have someone to watch the phones and the office. You do not want to miss calls when you are showing someone around the property. This will just cost you customers that may be calling in to find out prices.

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  • How To Keep Your Employees Happy
    By admin on August 25, 2010 | 138 Comments138 Comments  Comments

    Sometimes, it is hard to figure out how to keep your workers happy.  I mean, your company is not about having fun, per se.  Your company is about producing results, right?  You have a job to do, and you would like to make sure that your workers are doing that job well.  Even so, there are a few small things that you can do to make sure that your workers do not have an eternal case of the blues.  Granted that you are willing to take a breather for a few minutes every couple of weeks, you are going to be able to keep your workers perfectly happy.

    One of the best things that you can do for your office is host an occasional potluck.  I mean, when you let all of your workers take a break and enjoy some great food, you are going to see their morale improve rather dramatically.  They get to talk to each other and sample a ton of different foods, and you are hardly going to have to pay for a thing.  Just be sure that you stress the importance of bringing a dish, and you are going to have nearly all of the food provided for free.  Set the date on the calendar, make sure everybody knows by sending a mass email, and you are good to go.  Before you know it, your workers are going to be enjoying themselves tremendously.

    Of course, if you would really like to improve their morale, then you are going to provide them with a lunch free of charge.  And really, there are several ways that you can go about doing this.  For one, you can call a catering company and have the food brought to your office.  This is going to guarantee that you are not going to lose much work time, as your workers are not going to have to leave the office to get their lunch.  IF you want to get fancy with it, though, you can take the office out on a little field trip.  You can treat them all to lunch at an actual restaurant and make an afternoon of it.  If you choose to go down this road, then you are going to find that your workers are working a lot harder from then on.  I mean, small perks can go a really, really long way when it comes to improving the overall morale of your office.

    Finally, reader, you are not going to want to forget about birthday parties.  While you do not have to fund all of them on the company’s dollar, you are going to want to be sure that your workers are getting the acknowledgement that they deserve.  Send out happy birthday letters, and be sure that you are open to the idea of having a cake in the break room for that day.  A little bit of a party is going to make that worker feel special, and that is always a good thing.

    Sure, some of this stuff may seem like a stretch, but if you are not giving your workers an occasional treat, then you are, simply put, a terrible boss.  You do not have to be their best friend, but you should treat them like real people.  They need some acknowledgement once and a while, and you are in charge of giving it to them.

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  • Improve Your Sales Presentation
    By admin on August 19, 2010 | 78 Comments78 Comments  Comments

    Are you sick and tired of losing your sales?  Do people step all over you when you are giving your sales presentations?  Do you feel that with a little bit of extra practice, you might be able to significantly improve your sales success rate?  If so, then you have arrived at the right article.  Here, I am going to provide you with some really great strategies for improving your sales figures, whether you are just starting out or you have been working in the field for quite some time, now.   While some of this advice might seem kind of simple, you are going to want to bear it in mind when you head out on your next sales call.  The simple things are the things that you forget the easiest, after all.

    First and foremost, reader, be sure that you are not falling victim to the stalls that your customers are going to deliver.  Most of the time, you  are going to catch them in the middle of their shopping process, which means that it is going to be somewhat hard for you to get them to put the phone down and reserve with you.  This, however, does not mean that you should not be trying to get them to do precisely this.  Enumerated, here, are several of the stalls that your callers are going to use, and the ways in which you should ideally respond to them.

    If you caller tells you that he or she has to wait for their significant other, then you are not going to want to be too pushy with them.  Chances are that you are going to offend them if you go too far.  Tell them, here, that your concern is the availability of your units.  You are concerned that if they do not reserve, then you are going to run out of them before they get the chance to make it in.  If they insist upon waiting for their significant other, then there is nothing else that you can do.  Try to get them onto your property for a tour as soon as possible, but do not press the issue any further.

    If your customer objects to the price and insists upon calling around, you are going to want to do what you can to be sure that your price is not without its context.  If your caller seems overly concerned with how much he or she is going to be paying when they are at your property, simply explain that you have the best security features that are in the area, and that they are going to be getting a lot of valuable services in exchange for those few extra dollars that they are going to be paying.  If you can make them feel as though they are getting a bargain for their money, then you have essentially guaranteed the sale.  Truly, reader, it is just as simple as that when you really sit down and think about it.

    Improving your sales skills is not exactly going to happen overnight, but that does not mean that it is not going to happen, period.  If you are ready and willing to do a little bit of research and practice your objections, then you are going to find that you are able to close many more sales, and that you are not as nervous when you are talking to a nonplussed customer.

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  • More Resposibilities of a Self Storage Manager
    By admin on January 8, 2009 | 155 Comments155 Comments  Comments

    Self storage manager is the ultimate responsible person for anything and everything of a storing unit. Many people have a wrong idea about this profession that a property manager is only responsible for collecting the monthly rent from the customers. But, practically the scenario is not that. Many medium or small sized storing centers do not have the financial ability to hire several people for different types of jobs. So, the owner hires only one professional to take care of anything related to the stores. For these managers, it is really difficult to keep track of his responsibilities. Starting from gate handling to accounting, he has to look after everything.

    However, there are some primary responsibilities of a self storage manager . These are described below.

    • The most important responsibility of a manager is to deal with the renting unit or space. He has to enhance the saleability of the warehouse. He should be planning out different types of marketing and advertising strategies to increase the popularity and reputation of the store within that locality. Providing superior client service skill, he has to convert potential customers into permanent renters. The main objective of any store owner is to have more customers and an efficient manager is the most important tool to do that.

    • The self storage manager be responsible for any type of help to the customers. He has to solve or answer any problems or queries faced by the clients, in a timely and courteous way. He has to attend the telephone calls also, with a total professional attitude having an objective of converting the telephone inquiries into real life renters. He should always be aware about the service provided by other storing facilities, so that he could compete with them.

    • He has to handle aggressive collection practice to maintain the standard of the company.

    • He will also be responsible for entering payments, bank deposits, maintaining records and reports and looking after the office room.

    Sometimes, on top of all the above duties, a self storage manager is also responsible for running the front office, keeping the facility clean, spraying insecticides, mowing the lawn, doing electrical jobs, maintaining the entry point, working on general mechanical repairs and many more. For many facilities, there are specific service providers for taking care of the lawn, the building, the electrical connections and equipments etc. However, at time of emergency, the manager is the only one, to give primary support. Unless the manager is a jack of all trades, he will not be able to manage all these together.

    If you want to succeed as a self storage manager , you should have certain abilities in some specific areas. Some of these areas are telephone and online sales, merchandising and displaying the unit, tenant management, auctions, light maintenance, accounting and record keeping, security processes, computer or storing software etc. A managerial position in a reputed storing facility offers various benefits like medical, dental, vision, paid vacation, paid holidays and bonuses. However, relocation may not be available all the time. No specific education is required for the post, though the incumbent should be smart, energetic and professional.

    Many such jobs are available over the internet. If you are interested to start your career in this industry, then you can search the job sites for this type of position.

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  • Job Desciption of Self Storage Managers
    By admin on January 8, 2009 | 4 Comments4 Comments  Comments

    As the self storing rental property industry is growing day by day, the requirements for efficient self storage managers are also increasing. The industry is always in need of these professionals, as very few people are really eligible to tackle the multi faceted responsibilities of a storing unit. Usually, a dynamic and energetic team is required to carry out all the works at the warehouse. Some big storing companies have their branches all over the country. They have various kinds of requirements for different types of works at the storing facility. However, some smaller sized storing facility cannot afford to hire many people for different type of responsibilities. These storing facilities can at most manage to have a team of 2 to 3 smart, dedicated and efficient professionals.

    The responsibilities of self storage managers vary from place to place. Mainly, these are the post of administrative managers, who are responsible for looking after the daily operations of the storing facility. These managers will supervise the other employees of the warehouse. They also have the authority to hire or fire subordinates with the approval of the owner or the director. The senior managers are also responsible for managing the financial aspects of the storing facility. Sometimes, they have additional responsibility to look after the marketing and sales part of the business. Thus, the major part of the responsibilities lies on the shoulders of these managers.

    There are various types of positions available for the job of self storage managers . Other than administrative managers, the most common posts are location manager, location assistant manager etc. A location manager is completely responsible for the warehouse. He should be living on site providing whole hearted service to the customers. The location assistant manager post is mainly available at the bigger sized companies. The person should be assisting the location manager by all means. Normally, the storing companies look for smart, dedicated, customer and sales oriented persons for these positions.

    The self storage managers earn a lot, in terms of money and benefits. The senior positions are offered a good compensation package, along with different types of allowances. However, these positions require some amount of experience in the industry. Without any experience, you will not be eligible to apply for this post. In case of other positions, experience is not a must, but preferable. Most of the companies pay competitive salaries, commissions and bonuses for these positions. As these posts require the employees to stay onsite, the cost of renting a residence and transportation for commuting to the warehouse can be saved. This amount of savings is another great benefit earned from this profession.

    Over the internet you will get to see many positions for self storage managers . To get a list of all available jobs in the storing industry, search the websites. At these job websites, you can apply online with your resume and details of work experience, if any. These job websites will send your application to the respective storing companies. Otherwise, you can also apply directly to the individual websites dedicated for specific storing companies. These storing firms advertise regularly their employment opportunities in their own website. Anyone can apply for these vacancies. If you are energetic, sincere and dedicated to your work, nothing can stop you from reaching the top position in this industry.

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  • Self Storage Delinquients are like Cattle
    By admin on December 6, 2006 | 13 Comments13 Comments  Comments
    A few thoughts about late paying customers, reminder calls and late fees.
    Living here in Missouri, you get to see quite a few cattle farms as you drive around in the rural areas. I heard a great analogy once that compares keeping customers current on their bills to keeping cattle.
    The ones that are only a few days late slipped out of a tear in your fence and are munching the green grass that comes up just on the other side of the fence. You can send those cows back into the pasture with one quick sting form your electric cattle prod and you can mend the fence easily with a piece of wire and your pliers.
    So if you keep a close eye on your fences, you can catch cows real easily and get them back in the pasture before they even know they are out.
    The customers who are 15 days late are like the cows that got out of the pasture and wondered off into the woods near the pasture. You have to go into the thicket to coax them out or send your cattle dog in there to spook them back to the gate or the gap in the fence. If the gate or the gap in the fence is within sight, the cow will run back into the pasture for safety and familiarity. If not, you could be chasing Bessie all afternoon. If the gap or gate is not within sight, you can sting the cow all you want with an electric cattle prod and the cow will freak out with fear and confusion.
    So if you let one of your customers get even this far behind, it is tough to get them caught up and paying regularly unless you can re-sell them on the value of their purchase and unless you can create a little fear in them about losing your valuable service. This is not always so easily done.
    The ones who go 30 days are like the cows that wonder way down the road. You have to get the cattle trailer and your horse and your dog to go round that cow up. You either have to find a way to get the cow into the cattle trailer to haul it home, or you have to be very good at using your horse and dog to drive the cow home across roads and through fields. There are lots of ways a recovery mission like this can go wrong. It takes a lot of time, trouble and expense. In the process your customers get a taste of life without your service and may decide to do without you. You also become a pain in their necks because you are working hard to get them current. Even though it is the customer’s fault he or she owes you money, customers can get angry at you about it and go away for ever.
    The ones that go 60 days are like the cow that wonders far off into a ravine and gets stuck. The chances are you won’t find it before the wolves do and you’ve lost that cow and any future calves you were counting on. Shame on you if you let someone get this far from your pasture. There are many other companies and priorities competing for your customers’ dollars. After 60 days of not paying you and after 60 days of playing hide and seek with you, it is very hard to get a customer back into your pasture and keep him or her there.
    So if we can get them back in the pasture as soon as they stick their heads through the hole in the fence, we win…especially if they are paying a late fee.
    Every business will tell you that the attrition rate of people who are 15 or 30 days late is exponentially larger than current customers. So we must do everything we can to keep people current. A late fee is a good way to keep people current. It is a stinging reminder to pay on time. It is also a way to create some revenue to cover the time and effort it takes to manage late payer accounts. There is a lot of expense involved in keeping people current. Doesn’t it make sense that the late payers fund this effort? You don’t want to pass the cost along to all customers. That would punish the ones who pay on time. That wouldn’t be right, would it?
    Some ask why we don’t notify customers they are late before late fees kick in. Well, the self storage customer signs a lease agreeing to pay by the first of the month and agreeing to the late fee schedule. It is the customer’s responsibility to pay on time. It is not our responsibility to help a customer pay on time. You don’t get reminders from your commercial landlord or your apartment landlord if you are a day late. You don’t get a reminder from any other creditors when you are a day late and still within the grace period before late fees kick in.
    We also make it easy for people to stay current. We accept auto-pay by credit card. We have drop boxes at the properties for checks. We accept pay-on-line and pay-by-phone. When we have made it plain when the rent is due and made it easy to pay, and the customer has agreed to late fees, the customers have no one to blame but themselves if they have to pay late fees.
    If we are consistent and thorough about calling people after the first late fee has been charged, we are saving them from having to pay additional late fees. We could just let late fees pile up. But this is counter productive as it lets customers wonder away from our pasture. Additional late fees only cause fear and loathing in your customers and cause them to freak out.
    We need to make sure they don’t get far from the fence, so we can shoo them back into the pasture. One late fee is a slight sting and is good training for customers. They will then take it upon themselves to get us paid by the 6th, so they don’t have to pay more than one late fee if any at all.
    If we called people before late fees kicked in, then customers would see it as our fault if they were ever charged a late fee, for not tracking them down and getting them to pay on time. This would be a bad situation for everyone.
    So look at your late payer handling strategy and make sure you are catching them before they wonder far from the fence and that they get a little stinging reminder to stay in the pasture next time.

    Written by Tron Jordheim, Director of PhoneSmart, your offsite sales force. Call Center in Columbia Missouri.

    Thanks for reading today’s self storage blog; the truth behind managing and selling self storage.

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  • Take A Deep Breath
    By admin on October 4, 2006 | No Comments  Comments

    Written by Kay Johnson PhoneSmart call center blog editor, and business blog writer.

    Welcome to the PhoneSmart call center blog, an inside view of the self storage industry.

    In any customer service position there are just some folks you are not going to please. It is no different with self storage callers. During my last shift in the call center I dealt several times with a lady whose voice grated on my soul. She was so abrasive that when I saw the store code come up on the phone I just knew it would be her and was getting to the point of cringing at the thought of talking with her again. She complained loud and long about the managers and the storage facility and the people who had the unit next to hers. While I was being engulfed in her venom I realized that she was an unhappy and probably a very lonely person. I decided that I had so many blessings in my life that I could afford to be a little patient with her. I am not sure that it made any difference to her but it made me feel better.
    Patience is a valuable sales technique. Sometimes a caller can be converted to a tenant if you just stick with them. Sometimes when they call they have called so many places that they are numb, sometimes they are frazzled and sometimes they have just had enough shopping. It is important to take a deep breath and let it out slowly and smile before you answer. The person who is calling may have felt rebuffed and shrugged off so you want to be on your best game for every call.
    Good information and a friendly voice can go a long way to create sales increase for the store. Sell the facility well and connect with the callers. Help turn the facility’s missed calls into profit.

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  • Cheat Sheets and Brain Freeze…
    By admin on May 5, 2006 | No Comments  Comments

    Welcome to the PhoneSmart blog, an insider diary of the self-storage industry.

    Robin Turner, call center manager addresses a training issue of great importance to phone center operators

    Why would you NOT want to use cheat sheets? Do they clutter your area? Do you already know all of the information? It’s not pretty to look at?

    All of us, at one time or another have had brain freeze… other than from slush.

    Just because you know the materials, you could always have an off day and simply NOT be prepared with a back up plan if you don’t have cheat sheets near by to get you out of a jam. Cheat sheets come in very handy and can save you from losing a sale.
    Whether you have a packet of information ready at your fingertips, or sheets posted in your work area for quick reference… you’ll be better prepared to handle the job. I suggest that you post them if possible. (They’re easier to look for without having to flip through pages, which can take a little more time to retrieve the info. you’re looking for).
    This insures that if you get distracted for whatever reason, you have back up! And make sure you update your materials from time to time as information changes.
    If you don’t already have cheat sheets handy, it may take a bit of getting used to. But once you have it laid out and easy to read, I’m sure you’ll notice that it saves you from time to time. It’s always best to be safe than sorry.
    We have found this most helpful since we deal with self storage, property management and apartment communities.

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  • Mirroring
    By admin on January 5, 2006 | 102 Comments102 Comments  Comments

    Welcome to the slef storage blog, our self storage diary. Today’s self storage blog comes from Angela, one of our sales reps. She has been taking self storage calls for a long time in our call center and has talked to people all over North America.

    When It is Okay Not To Be Okay

    As I write this blog I want you think what the definition of a “mirror” is. When you look in the mirror what do you see? You see the same thing as you would see on the other side. In a mirror you get what you see, this way there are no surprises nor do you have to worry about seeing something that makes you look funny or something that you feel is too high class for you. The same thing works for when we are on the phones talking to our customers about storage.
    Since we are a national call center, our customers are from coast to coast. Like everything else from coast to coast it changes; whether it is the cost of living, the gas prices or even the type of education that is offered. We should keep this in mind as we speak to our customers. Here at PhoneSmart it is ideal to keep the caller in their comfort zone.
    In order to do this we should mirror our customers. Of course, it is hard to fake an accent such as presented in the New York, southern, or even Canadian stores but using words like “our”, “here”, and “we” will give the caller the impression that you are talking about a storage unit that is at the facility where they called; which will make them feel comfortable. It is important that the caller feels comfortable so that he or she will not be reluctant to give out personal information or even a credit card number.
    To ease the caller’s suspicions or to avoid the caller being hesitant, speak their language. A person may say, “Ma’am, I have a 2 bedroom house that has a sofa, bedroom suite (pronounced suit) to store.” So in return you should say, “Okay I understand that you have … to store, is that correct sir?” pronouncing words the same that they did in their initial explanation of what is needed.

    Although in the back of your mind you may want to say home instead of house or couch instead of sofa or even bedroom suite pronounced sweet, or perhaps you are not accustom to using ma’am or sir. But if they used the title with you then it is appropriate do the same with them. Does it really matter how you pronounce it? No, just as long as the caller and you are speaking the same language.

    There are times that we may answer the phone and someone uses improper English and says “aint” or “fina” or even use language that is not appropriate for a professional call such as “yeah” or “uh huh”. Again it may be hard to train yourself to use improper English but if they say “yeah” then you should do so as well. Giving the caller a comfortable dialogue will ease their mind and allow them to focus on what their initial call was about… which is storage. If a caller instead tries to concentrate on how we talk or how to mirror us, it may seem as though we are talking “above” them.

    My pastor once said that when giving a sermon or talking to a large group of people, you should try to find the youngest person in the audience and base your lecture to them, that way if the youngest member of the audience can understand what you are saying then the most intelligent or advance person in the group can articulate what is being said as well. That way no one in the audience has missed what is being said. This makes the same sense in storage as well, not only through calls but through your everyday life. Try to mirror the person you are speaking to this way this will eliminate the stress of how the conversation is being presented and will allow both of you to focus on what the conversation is about.

    Angela

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