I recently read an article about a self storage business that had had a fire. Immediately after the fire, tenants were not allowed to get to their units to check on their belongings. A day passed. Several days passed. They still weren’t allowed to be on the premise.
When they finally were allowed on the premise, they couldn’t find any of their possessions. They asked and asked the manager what had happened to their belongings. The tenants finally found out that the storage company – without consulting the tenants whatsoever – had taken everything to the landfill. The customers were devastated at not being allowed in to at least try and see what they could salvage.
This is a good example of poor customer service!
Customer service expert, Shep Hyken lectures and writes about customer service. He has good advice on how to have good customer service. One of the first things a company should do is follow the saying: hire for attitude and train the skill.
He recommends employers look at the attitude of a prospective employee. An employer should hire someone who is customer-focused and who has good people skills. Employers should look for people who take initiative, who engage with the customers, and who have the mind-set of providing customers with a good experience.
Hyken tells about a fudge making company. As part of their job, the employees sing for their customers. During a job interview, applicants must sing before they are even interviewed. It doesn’t matter if they can’t hold a tune – they could still get a job. It has nothing to do with singing ability and everything to do with willingness to sing. If the applicant isn’t outgoing enough to sing before being interviewed, that applicant doesn’t have any chance of getting hired.
The same principle applies to the self storage industry. An employee should have the willingness to go above and beyond to provide good customer service. He should be outgoing and helpful and have a true desire to provide the best ever.
Brian Whetten, a leadership consultant, believes that customer service is one of the last frontiers of ‘sustainable competitive advantage. To do that, he recommends that a business ‘start at the top.’ You have to have leaders who care about good customer service if you don’t, that value will never trickle down to the employees.
Whetten also recommends shifting from a win/lose mentality to one that is a win/win one. In moments of conflict, employees should try to find a resolution that satisfies both parties.
“Author and Speaker Shep Hyken: The Best Companies Hire For Customer Service.” The Storage Facilitator; 4 March 2014.
“Companies That Care: How to Turn Customer Service Into a Compelling Competitive Advantage.” Huffington Post; 5 March 2014.