Jenelle, Albert and Melissa

I have a couch, the fifth season of Lost, and a Magic 8 Ball–what size storage unit do I need? What if I want to rent out a storage unit for teaching pottery classes in San Diego–should I get climate control and will that help me recreate the scene from Ghost? What’s the difference between humidity control and climate control, and why should I care? What’s the best way to store a motorcycle? Basically, how do I do storage?

When you call SpareFoot to book a storage unit, you’ll be connected to our Customer Experience team, who have doubtlessly answered all of these queries with aplomb. But what makes up those wise and helpful voices you hear on the phone? I caught up with the three bastions of our CE team, Melissa van de Putte, Jenelle Cottriel and Albert Hood, to get an inside look at the people behind the silky voices.

As a startup, it’s especially important to us that our storage-seeking customers walk away happy and taken care of. On a daily basis, the CE team will make reservations and handle anything that involves the consumer and their reservations. This includes canceling reservations, changing dates, and answering queries about facilities and unit prices, to name a few. According to Melissa, most people aren’t extremely familiar with storage, so the team spends a lot of time educating customers on sizes and amenities.

“Most of the time, customers don’t really know what they want,” said Melissa. “They’ll often look for the cheapest unit–but if they’re storing something valuable in it, like a piano, I’ll remind them: you need drive-up access and climate control! I try to educate them on what’s best for their situation.”

Jenelle agreed, stressing that customers should call in to satisfy any questions or confusions.

“I’m a storage expert,” said Jenelle, “and most customers haven’t had the experience of shopping for storage yet. I’m like their Wikipedia or Spare-pedia–I have information that they don’t really think to ask about. It’s really worthwhile for them to give us a call so that I can give them all the help that they might need.”

“Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for you,” said Melissa. “You call us and we’ll help you figure out what you want; for example, what the best size and promotion would be. We’ll help you weigh the factors against each other.”

Think of them as your personal shoppers for self-storage.

“I try to hone in on what they really want,” said Albert. “It’s not just finding something that’s close or cheap, but finding what they really want–and that’s the most important thing to do when you’re talking to customers. I try to make sure they smile at the end of the call.”

If you’re absolutely stuck and stressed over storage jargon, give the CE team a call. They will compare and contrast prices and promotions together, then consider them in relation to location. Like the average storage-seeking customer, they’re most concerned with finding the best deal without sacrificing safety or quality.

“I do whatever’s needed to help support a customer,” said Albert.

When they’re not answering your calls and satisfying your storage needs, Melissa, Albert and Jenelle like to dabble in a variety of interests. Melissa, who was born in Brazil and speaks Portuguese, is big into crafts, especially costumes.

“I love to make costumes, so when there is a costume required–at our happy hours, for example–I will have one. I’ve done hobbits, Bellatrix Lestrange, Jedis, Shaak Ti from Star Wars, and a Rebel Fleet Trooper. I worked two weeks on my Bellatrix Lestrange costume for our first happy hour, and I won the contest for best costume!”

She also painted a particularly stunning masterpiece featuring the honey badger, which appeared in our Adventures in Storage series.

Albert, meanwhile, may have more in common with a storage-seeking customer than you may initially think–he actually rents out two storage units.

“I’m a collector–knick knacks, comic books, toys, games, video games, stuff that most people decide to leave behind in their childhood years–I’m trying extend my childhood into adulthood.

Albert is also reading My Beloved World, a memoir by US Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor–he promises to give me a full review once he’s done with the book.

Outside of SpareFoot, Jenelle likes going to bars, namely Austin’s beloved Crown and Anchor Pub, and enjoys trivia, kayaking and camping.

“I’m the tattooed-punk-rock-bar person on the team, but I also like being a huge geek–a super geek. We’re all kind of geeky though.”

She is also the proud mother of a new puppy, Hans Gruber, who is responsible for the entire SpareFoot office dissolving into squeals and adopting baby voices.

Self-professed geeks or not, one thing’s for certain: our Customer Experience team rocks, and they’re true storage experts. If you’re unsure about your storage-booking process or just want to know if a 5×5 can fit your Jane Austen collection, don’t hesitate to give them a call.

“Call us,” said Jenelle. “We’re more than happy to help you and give you all the answers you’ll need–and ask for me, I’m awesome.”

  • Lucky13X

    Who is that handsome devil in the red shirt in the pic at top? Oh wait, it’s me. Ha ha. Thanks for the great write-up Jenny.

  • WEmpie

    Seems like a great team and company. Looks like a place I’d love to work at. Now to find that Apply Here button.