Just started working in self storage? Congratulations; you’ve chosen a career in a dynamic and growing industry. No matter what facet of self storage you’re employed in, whether it’s customer-facing, behind the scenes or both, at some point, you’re likely going to want to advance your career.
Maybe you want more responsibility. Perhaps you have the next great idea that could bring innovation to the self storage industry.
No matter what your professional goals are in self storage, if you’re looking to grow your resume and move up on the career ladder, you’ve got to possess these five skills.
As you already know from either firsthand experience or through your coworkers, not everyone who is hired to work in self storage has industry experience. Some employees are hired based on their amazing ability to have rapport with customers, some are hired because they’re skilled at delegating responsibilities to others and some are hired for other reasons entirely, few of which might have anything to do with self storage experience. But the one thing all of these employees must eventually have in common if they’re looking to grow successful careers in self storage is this: industry knowledge.
You can get ahead by learning even more than just the self storage basics. Identify a colleague or manager who has been in the business for a while and ask questions. Log on to a self storage forum and ask questions of your peers. Read up on self storage news, trends and in-depth articles. Having industry knowledge (and staying up to date on it) will make you an intelligent and desirable candidate.
You might already think that you know more than enough about customer service. And ten years ago, you might have been right. But in this day and age of online reviews, every industry is expected to be a customer service based industry. This is especially true of self storage.
Brush up on your own customer service skills by making sure that you greet customers in person and on the phone in a friendly manner, by thinking of a few ways to wow tenants and by asking a manager or coworker for honest feedback on your customer service skills.
The self storage industry is built on change. That change occurs in day to day operations—things like tenants moving in and out and employees coming and going. That change also occurs in big picture ways through the form of new technology and industry trends. Your storage facility might be toying with the idea of valet storage, social media marketing or an increase in self storage auctions.
A strong employee embraces these changes, even if that means learning how to use new technology or understanding the needs of a new demographic of customers. One of the smartest things you can do to move forward in your self storage career is embrace industry changes.
On that note, let’s talk about creativity. Employees who are creative problem solvers are the ones who stand out from the pack due to their ability to think of new ways to conquer existing hurdles. As the saying goes, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Can you think of a problem at your storage facility that won’t go away? Can you think of a current procedure at your storage facility that is more of a short term fix than a long term solution? Start identifying these situations and brainstorm new solutions. Your ideas might not all be winners (Or maybe they will be!), but your willingness to think creatively will be noticed.
Ask any industry professional and they’ll tell you how important communication is in the workplace. In the self storage business, this translates to staff communicating information with tenants—things like missing rent payments, changes in facility hours of operation and other relevant updates. This also means staff communicating with each other on policies and procedures.
A great employee excels at communicating with customers and fellow members of the team. He or she is able to ask questions of superiors, share important news with tenants and make sure all co workers are caught up to speed on new information. Most importantly, a great employee is able to communicate in a manner that’s polite but purposeful.
Now that you know the five skills that will advance your self storage career, it’s time to identify which ones you can develop further. Maybe you’re great at thinking up creative solutions but you’re unable to implement them due to a communication breakdown. Maybe your customer service skills are second-to-none but you freeze up when asked about self storage topics you’re not well-versed in. Identify your weakness, and make it your strength. And then put those skills to work.