How to forge positive relationships with your tenants

Michele Cataldo
October 16, 2017

For many prospective storage tenants moving into a storage facility can be emotional and even uncomfortable.   We as operators all know there are several circumstances that lead up to this move or transition, some negative and others positive.

With all emotional ties with each of these life-changing events, it is the job of operators to be put the minds of customers at ease.

Why do people move?

According to the American Moving and Storage Association people move for the following reasons:

  • 40% for work
  • 42% personal reasons
  • 18% military or government relocations

Early in the life cycle of the move the property manager can build rapport that can turns this entire experience into a pleasant one.   As we all know, a satisfied tenant will refer your facility to a neighbor or a friend. There is no debating that referrals are key part of successfully operating a facility.

Moving can be an exciting time in your life. Or, it can be a negative, unwelcome event. In fact, moving is one of the top stressors in life, right along with death of a loved one, divorce, a major illness, and job loss.   Huffington Post  Nov 30, 2016

 Providing tips and tools for your customer will promote loyalty during the process.  You want a smooth transition, and most importantly longevity, from this rental event.  Providing boxes, locks and other moving supplies can ease the experience on a somewhat emotional and arduous task.

We all know that large operators provide a one-stop shop experience, so why not you?

Creating simple “how to” collateral that you customize for your tenant can show them how to save space, time and keep organized.  These materials are not costly, but make sense.  Even hosting or sharing content on your blog or social media profiles can go a long way towards reinforcing positive connections between you and your tenants.

If you can provide helpful tips that keep the process from becoming overwhelming, it will not be forgotten. Helping a customer choose correctly the number of boxes or right sized space they need will avoid pain and friction in the future.

Ideas for outreach

  • Boxes of various sizes can be used improperly, which can make them unsafe.   Remind your tenant that small boxes are for heavy items; medium-sizes for lighter items and a wardrobe box can make emptying a closet a snap.
  • Marking the content on the outside of the box is a welcome tip and often forgotten. Many times a tenant comes back to retrieve an item they have may have mistakenly packed, like a child’s special toy.  This can cause unnecessary repacking if boxes are not labeled. You  might even consider selling labels, or providing them as a courtesy.
  • Stack lighter boxes on top of heavier boxes and keep an aisle inside the unit so that they can be easily accessed for later use.   How many times have we seen this mistake?
  • Furniture can be shrink-wrapped leaving small items in the drawers.   Positioning furniture and appliances properly can be a space saver too using all negative space.
  • If you do not have supplies for sale at your facility, make note of where the tenant can easily access these materials.   Always be cognizant that they are close by and convenient to your location.
  • Renting a truck may seem second nature to most but this could be a first time event.   Who can you recommend?   Do you have a contact at Penske, Budget?  Providing advice on what size of a truck they need can ease their mind.   Think it through so they can concentrate and filling the unit and that call for a truck rental will be easier.

Go the extra mile

Advising the customer on how best to pack their items, how to pick the right size unit and how to fill it with their “stuff” prior to the actual experience can keep your new tenant satisfied and smiling.   Even a seasoned storage customer won’t mind a new tip or two.

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. – Jeff Bezos, founder of

Jeff Bezos got it right!

Doing more than what is expected will leave the customer relieved and content.  The tenant’s  to-do list is long enough, so lend a hand.  Even if they don’t want it, the gesture is key to enhanced service.

These simple tools just take a little research and training for your property manager, however it will always be rewarded in many more rentals.  Whether you provide useful products to sell on site or are able to even suggest a simple solution, this will make a huge difference.

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