Customer Experience (CX) is thrown around a lot these days. It impacts your sales and customer retention rates. In other words, it has a direct influence on your profits. Customer experience summarizes all interactions a (prospective) client has with your business. That is your digital presence, your physical presence, your staff, your customer-care processes, and your brand. As the world becomes increasingly digital, it is easier than ever for customers to compare companies. So it is no longer enough to have a good product at a reasonable price. CX has gone from being a cherry on top to a defining step in the purchase decision-making process. But what does customer experience mean in the context of self-storage? We will go over customer expectations, service and product delivery, and how you can manage it all.
Experience is not service
Customer Experience goes beyond providing outstanding service. It encompasses every aspect of the brand and business and is the sum of all touchpoints a customer has with a brand. Some of these touchpoints are only partially under the control of the business, so it becomes all the more important to carefully craft and manage your customer experience. One such example is a call center you use for out-of-hours calls. A bad experience will negatively impact you, even though a third party caused it.
Review each touchpoint from the customer’s perspective. A useful KPI for evaluation is the effort score – how much effort does it take the customer to complete a step and move to the next. The lower the effort, the better. Imagine these two self-storage businesses: Business A requires customers to send an e-mail to find out about free units, then sign up using an online form and come to the office to sign the contract. Business B lets the users select free units through an app, immediately book the unit and sign digitally. It is easy to imagine that customers will prefer the effortless way of Business B, even if it was priced slightly higher than Business A.
Take away: Lower effort for the customer is better and can even justify a small price premium.
Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes
The best way to learn about your customer experience is to go through it yourself. Don the ‘customer view’ goggles and begin the customer journey. From the moment a customer starts looking for a storage unit to the moment when the customer ends the contract and moves out – map out every interaction and every touchpoint. This will help to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement. Knowing what your customer has to go through, enables you to understand them better and anticipate their needs. This exercise will also help you spot redundancies and inefficiencies in your process. Keep tweaking your customer journey until you can proudly say that it is the best experience your business can give.
Take away: Looking at your processes through the customer’s eyes will help you craft a better customer experience.
Don’t take their money and run
You are here to make profits. But keep in mind that you are dealing with humans. Everyone loves to feel special and appreciated – so do your customers. Many businesses make the mistake of focusing too many resources on customer acquisition and neglect customer retention. It is cheaper to keep a customer than to find a new one. Just because a renter has signed a contract and moved in does not mean that their customer experience can be neglected. We all have made this experience – a great experience during the sale and a nightmare during after-sale. It leaves a bitter after-taste that once the customer has paid, they are not valued anymore. As mentioned above, customers compare, and they can leave. Your journey with the customer ends when they move out, not when they move in. Be proactive in approaching existing customers:
- Offer them a list of local moving companies and local charities where to donate unwanted things.
- Send a follow-up with new tenants asking how the move-in went
- Have information readily available in case they lock themselves out
- Keep some coloring books around, in case parents come with their kids
- Send them a happy birthday e-mail
These are just some examples of low-cost and low-effort services that can make your existing customers feel appreciated. They will be grateful for it.
Take away: Don’t neglect the CX of your existing customers.
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