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Knowing Your Product is Good Customer Service

May 11, 2012

by Brom Hoban, TSSA Director of Communications

My refrigerator is on the fritz. So, I find myself in the situation of researching what my best options are for purchasing a new one. Much like a prospective self-storage customer, I am looking at what’s available out there, what the prices are, and last but not least...who I want to buy from.

Who I buy from is an important factor, because even though we live in “virtual” times where many things are done electronically, we still value one-on-one service. Ironically, I believe we value it even more than we did 10 or 20 years ago, when e-commerce had not yet emerged as a viable sales model.

Upon first visiting a large appliance store, I realized that a lot has changed since our last refrigerator purchase some 15 years ago. Refrigerators now have many new electronic features, and the same big electronic companies that make flat-screen TVs  like Samsung and LG, now make refrigerators.

There was much to learn.

I liked the look of both a GE and a Whirlpool model, but was unsure which to choose. Fortunately, the salesperson who helped me was extremely knowledgeable about the products she sold. She explained to me that Whirlpool also makes refrigerators for Kenmore, the Sears brand, as does GE. She also explained how all models today are equipped with filters, and that the filters need to be replaced about twice a year. However, the GE model had a “cap” for the filter, meaning I could bypass it, if I so chose.

She went on to explain how newer models had integrated the icemakers into the inside of the freezer door to allow more storage space inside of the freezer itself. And finally, she explained how at the time of delivery, I could get a $50 rebate if I filled out a form for the City of Austin to collect my old refrigerator.

In short, she knew her product inside out and upside down. I was impressed, and confident that a purchase through this store would be the right decision.

For the sake of due diligence, I visited a different store. All the models and brands were pretty much the same, but the sales person only breezed through a 10-second explanation before moving on to some other more pressing business he had.

So really, it was a no-brainer. Besides being friendly and engaging, the salesperson at the first store sold me because of her knowledge of the product--a big factor in customer service.

The same ideas apply to selling self-storage space. If you demonstrate a good knowledge of what space will meet my needs; whether I need it to be climate-controlled; and if I need turning room for a large truck, for example, you’re going to boost my confidence that I’ve chosen the right storage facility.

And all because you’ve taken the time to know your product.

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