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The Customer is Always Right

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Most, if not all, retail and service businesses claim to pay attention to customer service. Of course, the importance of customer service cannot be underestimated – nothing happens in any business without a customer, preferably as many as required to have a successful business.

Meeting customer needs does not happen automatically. It is something that has to part of the core beliefs for an organization; it is something that needs attention from everyone in the business, and most particularly, from the president. If customer service is to be part of the culture for the business, it must become obsessive as an operating practice throughout the entire business.

The most obvious reaction is to consider how the personnel in a business treat their customers. (While this is critically important, the package of customer service for self storage includes every aspect of the business – the quality and cleanliness of its premises and its storage units, the products it sells, the additional services it offers (like insurance), its security, its staff relations, its maintenance programs, etc. However, this blog will deal only with customer relations.)

What does customer service mean? What is customer service? Is the customer always right? When is a customer wrong, if ever? These are extremely subjective questions, and any responses will be equally so.

Every business has customer service success stories, some of which are outstanding. Of course, every business has an occasional breakdown in customer service, some of which are disastrous and forgettable. Perfection in customer service exists only in fairy tales. Perhaps the best that a business can do is aim to at a minimum maintain (and also strive) to increase the percentage of all of its customer interactions that can be rated as outstanding customer service, or at as least satisfactory customer service.

At Abacus, and since we opened in 1999, our goal has been and remains to deliver a high level of customer satisfaction, and to constantly make an effort to improve on the level of customer satisfaction. What stands in the way of perfection in this respect?

First, mistakes happen; people have bad days; uncontrollable factors sometimes cause undesirable outcomes (weather could cause a leak in roof – even a new and well maintained roof); in summary, life happens!

Secondly, customers occasionally have bad days as well. In spite of that, a great majority of customers are courteous and are reasonable in their expectations. However, there are those who for whatever reason stay in a bad day funk and who sometimes do not act reasonably, and we have had some of those at Abacus. Notwithstanding that this occasionally happens, it is expected of Abacus staff that they will deal with such customers in a courteous and even handed manner, and make the best of a temporarily difficult situation. At the same time, what is not expected of Abacus staff is that they have to accept any unacceptable or aggressive behavior passively but in a way that is calm and protective of themselves and the Abacus property.

In this respect, and since the beginning, Abacus personnel as a group have been highly successful in this respect; explosive and awkward situations have been handled so that customers are treated with respect and courtesy regardless of the circumstances. The end result – a high percentage of overall customer satisfaction, even if difficult customers are included in the total of all customers.

In summary, customer satisfaction is an elusive target which staff at Abacus strive to achieve, and since 1999, have largely and successfully met. We welcome you to put us to the test!

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