There’s a difference between customer service and customer appreciation. Great customer service in the self storage industry means communicating with new and existing tenants in a way that’s friendly, professional and helpful. Customer appreciation expands on that by providing a truly memorable experience to existing tenants through gratitude, personalization and a healthy dash of creativity.
As an added bonus, customer appreciation doesn’t stop at making your tenants feel welcome. It’s also an effective way to grow your business. Customers trust word of mouth marketing more than they trust traditional advertising efforts, and yet so many business owners forget this fact and focus exclusively on social media. While digital marketing is certainly effective, there’s a lot to be said for using customer appreciation as a way to increase word of mouth marketing for your self storage business.
Here are six simple and cost-effective solutions to start a customer appreciation marketing campaign today:
In a world of junk mail and spam email, a message that’s actually personalized goes a long way. Take the time to handwrite cards to your customers. Be sure to include the tenant’s name instead of a blanket statement like “Dear Valued Customer” and go ahead and personalize the message further if you have a friendly relationship with the customer. You can do this at any time to say thank you to your tenants for their business, you can do it around the holidays or if you really want to go the distance you can do it for your customers’ birthdays.
Offer existing customers an incentive for referring their friends and family to your storage facility. This can be something like one month of free or discounted storage, a gift certificate or free or discounted use of some other amenity that your storage facility offers.
Give back to loyal customers by offering them something to show that you appreciate their business. For month-to-month tenants, you might want to do this when they’ve been renting with you for a year. For long term leases, reward them when they renew their lease. This reward can be something self storage related (like a discount, free month or free lock) but it can also be something non self storage related, like a restaurant gift certificate, free movie tickets or gas station gift card.
For contests and giveaways, it’s important to reach your customers both online and in the real world. A simple in-person effort can be a free lunch giveaway. Have a bowl in your office that customers can place their business cards in and enter to win a gift certificate to a local restaurant. For online efforts, run a contest on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can challenge customers to caption a photo, use a hashtag or answer a trivia question. The prize can be a free month of storage or something tailored to your market, like passes to a popular local attraction.
Offering something like free coffee in your facility’s office is a nice start, but to really demonstrate customer appreciation, think outside the box. Make a habit of offering bagels once a week, hosting a lending library for books in your office or bringing in something homemade. Tenants will associate your world famous chocolate chip cookie recipe with quality self storage, and having your business compared to tasty baked goods is never a bad thing.