As a self-storage facility owner, operator or manager, you’ve likely run across customers who think they’re right. What happens when they’re not right? Check out these four situations where you should stand up for your business.
1. They’re Breaking Basic Rules.
Assuming that your customers read your contract, they should be well aware of common rules like not blocking traffic and not parking in a fire lane. When you confront them about things like this, you might hear something along the lines of, “I’ll only be another minute.” The fact is that you know this could be a safety hazard, and that “another minute” could mean 10 or 20 more.
How to handle the situation: When a customer is breaking basic rules, remain calm but firm. In the previous example, ask the customer nicely to move his or her vehicle. When the customer says, “Just one more minute,” don’t give in. Again, tell the customer nicely that you’re going to need him or her to move the vehicle, as it’s a safety hazard where it is. Be sure you explain to why you need the customer to move; don’t just demand it.
2. They Think Hazardous Materials Will Be Safe.
Your storage facility likely has rules about storing hazardous materials such as gasoline and fireworks. What happens when an occupant is storing these items? You might hear, “I’ve never had any issues with storing gasoline” or “Where else am I going to store it?” The fact of the matter is, you can’t let something like this slide, especially when it’s such a safety hazard.
How to handle the situation: In this scenario, politely ask your tenant to remove the materials. Give him or her a timeline to remove it, such as by the end of the week. If the tenant is reluctant, follow your contract’s terms for ending the storage contract. The safety of your other tenants and your business is more important than pleasing a single customer.
3. They Have a Problem With One of Your Employees.
You know that customers aren’t always right, and when they quarrel with your employees, it may be time to let that customer go to show your employees how valuable they are. As a bonus, putting your employees first will boost morale and improve customer service.
How to handle the situation: When an argument breaks out between a customer and an employee, act as a mediator. Don’t take sides at first, but rather listen to what each person has to say. After calmly assessing the situation, then you can decide whether your customer is worth keeping around.
4. They Make Unreasonable Demands.
Unreasonable demands aren’t necessarily good for business. Sure, complying with them can ensure that you have one more customer, but it also can mean less time spent on other customers.
How to handle the situation: When a tenant wants you to check on his or her unit daily or wants you to stay open after hours, let the tenant know that you simply can’t comply. You don’t have to end the contract. Keep the relationship with the tenant strong by offering services you do feel comfortable with.
JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance writer in Tampa, FL. Follow him on Twitter at @JTRipton.