Customer service is the backbone of all thriving businesses. Trying to please every customer is virtually impossible in any industry with no exception to self storage. No matter who is at fault, it’s your job to clean up the situation or you’ll lose a renter and one of your storage units will be sitting empty. You can’t dodge customer conflict your whole career, so here are some tips for dealing with it:

1. Stay calm during the conversation

Think about the last time you were rubbed the wrong way by a business and brought it up to the manager. Would you be happy if they started acting snarky or raising their voice? Probably not. The customer wants to be heard and if you don’t stay calm, they won’t think you’re really listening. If you stay calm, it will also help you consider the customer’s point of view, which is vital for conflict resolution.

2. Ask many questions

This is especially important if the customer is acting irrationally. Start by asking, “Why are you angry?” And end by asking, “What can we do to remedy this situation?” Calmly asking questions can help you get to the bottom of the conflict and can start diffusing the situation. Without all the information, you won’t be able to come to a resolution you are both happy with.

3. Own up to your mistakes

If during the conversation you realize that you or one of your employees has made a mistake, own up to it immediately. Customers appreciate honesty and want to feel validated.

4. Determine how much you’re willing to pay

Figure out what it’s going to cost you to keep the customer happy. When figuring out your own resolution, remember to look down the road to seehow much it would cost to lose their business entirely. Put yourself in their shoes and try to think of what you’d want in this situation.

5. Negotiate a resolution

Once you’ve determined how much you’re willing to sacrifice to appease the client, ask them how you can resolve the issue. Sometimes it will be as simple as an apology and you won’t have to worry about giving them free rent for a couple months or reimbursing for previous months. But if the conversation becomes unproductive or verbally abusive, stop it immediately.  Use a calm voice to say you’re going to step away from the situation until everyone cools down. Give the customer and yourself a couple minutes to get your bearings. Then tackle the negotiations again.

6. Thank your customer

Once everything is hammered out, make sure you take a second to thank the customer for bringing this problem to your attention. It shows that you value their opinion and their business.This also ends the confrontation on a good note and leaves the customer feeling appreciated.

Resolving the issue quickly and to the customers liking can not only keep their business, but it can also keep a negative review of your facility off the internet for potential customers to see. Now that you have all these tips, put them to work at your facility the next time a conflict arises!