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The Lost Art of Phone Etiquette
Posted 5/26/2017
Author March Chase
 
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Whether conducting a market study for the benefit of our clients or for our internal company use regarding a new development, acquisition or expansion, I systematically phone every facility within the primary marketing area of a subject site. From start to finish, this exercise may involve several phone calls to the same facility over the course of days or even weeks to ensure I get every rental rate per size and class possible. Additionally, I dedicate time to call competitors and verify the results of quarterly competition surveys.

Regardless of the state, city or marketplace, there is one constant subject matter that stands out among all others: phone etiquette.

As an optimist, I am always expecting to hear a clear, professional and courteous manager on the other end of the phone. Unfortunately, the majority of the time I am at the receiving end of a flippant and often lethargic attitude displayed by some facility managers. Many times, I am not even asked my name.There are plenty of managers who are well versed, knowledgeable and professional in their discourse with potential customers. However for those who are not, consider the impact this has on potential tenants and the word of mouth surrounding your self storage business. 

Being client facing, store level management upholds the reputation of the facility. To overlook the fundamental practice of being courteous reduces the accountability of the most important element in our industry: the store level manager.

When the phone rings at your self storage business, consider the following:

  1. The most important aspect of a phone call is to get the caller to the facility. Invite the caller to your business as a friendly gesture and opportunity for a lead conversion. 
  2. Ask for the caller's name and use it throughout the phone call. This promotes a sense of relationship and trust.
  3. Convey an enthusiastic and authentic tone with the customer to let them know your self storage business is customer service oriented. Your conversion ratios, overall occupancy and revenue performance depend on your tenants and they should be treated with the utmost respect. 
  4. Differentiate yourself and your facility and provide superior phone etiquette. There is a strong likelihood that your competitors may not be as polite and/or helpful on the phone and your interpersonal skills can be what sets you apart from the competition.

A customer will often forget their due date, their unit number and their gate code, but they never forget how they were treated or their initial experience. Make it an experience to remember.

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