How do you want your storage facility to be known in your community?
Do you want to be the cheapest? Do you want to have the best customer service? Do you want to have a premium self-storage facility in your area? Building your self-storage brand must be a conscious effort. If you don’t put effort into your brand, you might be labeled in a way that is not appealing to you, your customers, or your community.
Taking time to think through how you want to position your business is imperative unless you just want to flounder. What constitutes a brand image? By definition: brand image: noun the impression of a product held by real or potential consumers. How do they come to an impression of your business?
Facility Curb Appeal
1. Facility Curb Appeal
First and foremost, your brand image, specifically the image part is defined by how your facility looks, curb appeal.
Good curb appeal means the property is well maintained. Well maintained properties are more welcoming and appear safer. Women rent most storage units and they need to feel safe. Be conscious of the image you project from the outside of your facility. Put yourself in the shoes of people driving or walking by your property. Is it clean? Do the lights work? Are there vagrants loitering around the front of the property? Simply, if a customer doesn’t feel safe in your facility, they will not rent there.
The most identifiable part of any storage property is the doors. Keeping painted doors clean will not only improve curb appeal, but will extend the life of the paint. If the property is near the ocean, check for salt corrosion. Salt corrosion will feel like bumps on the top of each rib of the door. Also, if salt is used for ice control, check bottoms of the buildings for salt damage. Have your managers try washing a door. If you can tell the difference between the painted metal when it is clean and wet vs when it is dry, then it can be restored to look new again. Keeping a clean looking facility goes a long way towards people feeling that they are safe, and their belongings are safe.
Have your manager Inspect the facility regularly, daily. They can wash windows, pick up litter, kill weeds, reduce clutter and check signage. You can refresh your signs and gates as well as your doors with the same protective coatings!
2. Customer Service
Last week the SBOA had a Self-Storage Unlocked webinar titled “Strategies for Delivering 5-Star Customer Service,” if you missed it, you can watch it on the SBOA YouTube channel, where all the episodes are archived. It talked about the challenges of finding and hiring managers who fit the business and the location. First step is to find someone who LIKES PEOPLE! Not someone who will think, “ugh, here come more people.”
“Customer service is a department; customer care is a mindset.”
Treating the customer like they are important, using their name, saying “thank you.” All these things lead to great customer care. But it starts with a phone call, answering the phone with a smile on their face should be the first goal of a manager. Followed by smiling, standing and greeting everyone who walks in the door. Chivalry is not dead; it is alive and well in those that thrive giving great customer service, and THAT is who you should hire. Search the earth, take time in the hiring process to find someone who wants to give excellent customer care, expect top-notch customer care, then reward them handsomely for taking care of your customers.
3. Community Involvement
Community involvement can go a long way in building your reputation. The ways you can do this are both large and small. For example:
- Help out when there is a disaster in your area by giving first month’s rent free.
- Sponsor children’s sporting activities where you can place a banner at the ballpark. Kids don’t need the service of course, but their family might.
- You know those transients who loiter in front of your property? Help them find a shelter nearby, so they don’t make a camp in your units or scare away your customers.
- Host a blood drive in your parking lot.
Admittedly, all these ideas have been taken from your peers. But they are great ideas for staying active in your community and building goodwill.
To learn more about “How to Build a Self-Storage Brand,” join me and the SBOA on Thursday, September 22nd at 2pm ET for another Self Storage Unlocked.