There was an interesting article posted on Inside Self Storage the other day. The author Jim Chiswell was exploring the idea that while technology is improving our ability to perform self storage tasks, it should not replace the personal touch that makes tenants feel welcome.

Here is a quick summary of his concept:

I’ve realized over the past few years that the performance of many managers has started to suffer as a result of using…various technologies as crutches. They are looked at by some as substitutions for old-school customer-service principles. Nothing will ever replace a warm smile, a confident handshake and a sincerely delivered message during your conversation with a prospect that tells them, “I am someone you can count on to help solve your storage problem.” – Jim Chiswell

As private owners of a storage facility with an investment in the area we serve, we have found Mr. Chiswell’s sentiment to be quite true.

Large storage conglomerates may have such high through-rate that they needn’t pay particular attention to each customer. Furthermore, tenants of those large facilities may not expect much. However, in smaller towns (like our Leesport) it is beneficial for both tenant and owner to pay attention to relationships.

With a limited marketing budget in our modern economy word-of-mouth is still a critical method of gaining new clients. Word-of-mouth can be spread online or through the verbal grapevine. Either way, experience is what drives the story of a brand.

We have paid attention to our online visibility and the type of image we present to customers. Our desire is to express attention to detail, easy usability, and attractive design. At the same time we try to express the simple fact that we are paying attention to tenants and have invested in becoming a reliable resource for local residents and businesses.

We have stayed reachable via phone, online contact, and in-person visitation. When you call DAK you will be able to communicate with one of the owners (Joe or Donna Krezdorn). We are also the ones there to help individuals at our in-house packing/moving store.

Of course, a “personal touch” requires more time and effort and can be unrewarding at times (some tenants like to abuse hospitality and then spread negativity about the business). These types of situations can’t be avoided entirely, and it is up to the owners to power through and focus on the positivity resulting from their effort.

If you are a small business owner, especially in the storage industry, do your best to keep the personal touch. If you are a potential client for a self storage facility, realize that you can find places that will treat you as more than a locker number.