Mission Statement: “Pack and exhale” – Offer peace of mind to customers by providing most efficient and reliable moving and storage services available. We strive to exceed customer’s expectations by building relationships between you and our team to consistently meet your needs. By utilizing the highest standards of design, development and management, we will provide facilities that consistently deliver satisfaction, value and peace of mind for our customers.
Company Description: Establish a self-storage business in the US and India that offers portable moving solutions, packing services and off-site storage solutions for residential and commercial customers. Move N Store Inc. offers long and short term storage in a warehouse type of facility with climate controlled and non –climate controlled floors. Some of the key features at each facility are: * On-site managers who reside at the facility and operate from the office from 9AM – 5PM. * Automated / Controlled gate access to the facility so the facility is accessible 24/7. Loading bay with large garage doors accessing the loading dock, so that vehicles can be parked directly outside the elevator lobby for ease of loading and unloading. * Surveillance cameras on each floor in several areas for customer safety. * Individual door alarm for each unit. * Well lit aisles and lobby areas. * Completely fenced facility. * Boat, RV or Car parking in some facilities based on geographical location and customer. A good marketing plan should focus on three objectives: increasing occupancy, increasing tenant value to the facility, and improving marketing efficiency.
It should also be based on results and flexible. It will clearly outline specific activities to accomplish those three objectives, with deadlines. The marketing plan will provide strict guidelines for logo usage, copy creation and offers so that the plan has a consistent and recognizable look and feel. The plan will also discuss how the marketing is going to be tracked for effectiveness and what constitutes “effective” so that quick, smart decisions can be made throughout the year. The marketing plan will be comprehensive and focused on the target markets that produce the best results.
It will be a combination of building relationships in the community, customer referral, key influencer referrals, search-engine marketing, social networking, Yellow Pages ads, and niche marketing specific to the local community. The marketing plan will be implemented on a consistent basis with tracking and measuring to make ongoing improvements. Online marketing will become an important part of the marketing plan as it attracts new customers and allows existing customers to maintain their accounts. As stated in an article by Carr, June 8, 2010: When was the last time you opened a phone book?
Do you remember what ad was on the last billboard you saw? You have probably thrown away or recycled all of the bulk mail unopened that you’ve received in at least the last year. I think there’s an important reason for all of this. All of these forms of advertising are relatively invasive and, at the moment the potential customer is receiving the message, they’re not actively in need of or searching out your product or service. On the other hand, internet marketing – more specifically, search engine marketing – is a different story.
The potential customer is actively seeking out a solution to their problem. They’re hoping that they will find your product or service to solve one of their problems. This means, as a business owner, it is critically important to the sustained growth of your business that you pay close attention to your online presence and aggressively try to improve it. Start a social media campaign, set up an email auto-responder, and, most importantly, discover which keywords you should be targeting and go after them with whatever resources you have.
The top three tactics that will be used are: Internet marketing, database marketing, and community-network creation and maintenance. The plan will include having an effective search-engine marketing program. Second, there will be a comprehensive program to target key influencers in the area surrounding the facility; these key influencers can be real estate agents, chambers of commerce, business-networking organizations, apartment communities, housing communities, etc. Lastly, will be a program to reach out to the community and become a credible organization that helps others.
Through helping others the business will become known throughout the community which can help improve business. A brief outline of the marketing plan is as follows – On a Daily basis, do the following: * Track all incoming calls to determine their sources. Keep track of the total number of calls, sources of the calls and the percentage of calls that turned into visits. * Speak with the store manager once a day to see if he needs any help. Supporting the manager keeps him/her motivated. Make at least five to 10 outbound calls each day to drum up business from commercial accounts. All managers should have a quota of outbound calls to make. * Send out postcards to those people who called during off hours.
Use a caller ID device to record the phone numbers of people who call when the office is closed. Use an online reverse directory to get their addresses. Then mail them a postcard with a time-sensitive offer. On a weekly basis, the marketing plan is: * Call all the “centers of influence” in town to remind them of the facility’s presence (i. e. call the real estate offices, truck-rental places and all of the other businesses who have the potential to send you business. * Play ’Mystery Shopper” by getting the District Manager’s to call the facility and disguise their voice to hear how your employees really handle themselves when they talk with customers. * Look for opportunities to get coverage by the local media. There are countless opportunities to piggy-back storage onto a current-events news story. Find one angle each week and send out a press release. * Consider running specials to rent slow-moving units.
Look at the units that aren’t moving and make weekly adjustments if necessary. Waiting until the end of the month may not give the management enough time to properly react to competition or the changing market in the local area. On a monthly basis the facility shall perform the following activities: * Call and/or visit competition to see what they’re up to. This is an activity that needs to be done at least once a month. * Conduct regular training sessions with managers to keep them up-to-date. Conducting monthly meetings for managers and other employees makes a lot of sense. Read industry trade magazines to keep abreast of current issues. Owners and managers must be committed to staying up-to-date with the latest industry information. * Schedule a monthly coaching session by phone with an outside self-storage expert, employees and managers like to listen to experts above owners. Using an outside expert to give basic feedback is a great idea.
* Go to monthly networking events, such as at the chamber of commerce. Managers and owners should make an effort to get out into the community to network. Review occupancy rates by unit size to make necessary price adjustments. * Hold a contest for store managers, and vary them from month to month. Give them some realistic goals to shoot for and then reward them for meeting those goals. This strategy is inexpensive and effective. On a quarterly basis, marketing plan for the store shall include: * Hold unannounced, random events for customers to thank them for their business. For example, wash the car of each one of your tenants who comes into the facility on a given day. * Create seasonal fliers.
Fliers are inexpensive and effective and can be created for any or all services at the facility. In addition to handing those out off-site, fliers can be designed to be placed under people’s unit doors to announce various promotions. * Direct mail can be tested on a targeted group within five miles of the facility. Direct mail and Value-Pak mailers can be effective. * Find an additional item to sell at the office based on customer feedback. * Play “Undercover Boss” by working at the facility one day each quarter to find out how things really work.
Owners sometimes never even see their storage facilities. Working at the facility is the single most-effective means for owners to understand what really goes on in their businesses. On a yearly basis, marketing plan for the store shall include * Attending the annual self-storage conference and expo in Las Vegas and taking store managers along. * Having a qualified consultant do an external marketing audit of the facility. * Review financial numbers with a qualified expert to see what areas of business can be improved.
Some ways to measure the effectiveness of advertising are : Using website stats – using a website counter to figure out how many visitors have viewed the website. As stated in an article by Kathleen, “At the very least you should be aware of what keywords are bringing traffic to your site, how many are coming directly by typing in your domain name, and other referring pages. More detailed info such as bounce rates, visitor paths, landing and exit pages will all give you additional information to assess what marketing value your website is providing. Use Direct Mailed Surveys – Mail surveys to current customers and customers who have made enquiries to figure out which areas need to be improved and work on those areas. Ask people how they found about the business – If a cold call is placed and if it is not known where the person came from, it is good to figure to where the person came from. Was it the sign in the yard? An ad that was placed in the paper? Craigslist? Check the response on ads – When ads are run continuously, stop the ads to figure out if it has made a change in revenue.
If there are no changes, then there is no point in spending dollars on the ad campaign and it would be better to divert the funds to other options. Call reporting – this is a methodology to ensure if incoming calls were being handled appropriately and in the most effective manner to hook more tenants. This system tracks how many calls were received from print and internet advertising, a report usually provides details such as time of day you receive the most calls, where the calls originate and the length of the call. It can also be helpful in measuring how many after-hours calls are being missed.
Call-tracking and recording programs – These programs help management play back calls whenever they choose to without the employees’ knowledge. If all call recordings are reviewed for the exact nature of conversations and how they are being handled, the management can begin working on refining the sales process. Other strategies that can be used in addition to advertising are: * Participating with the local community in hosting events such as food drives, charity auctions, provide storage for boy/girl scouts, provide assistance during natural epidemics such as storage for people who have lost homes during a storm or flood. Sponsor cookouts for a local fire or police station. * Partner with local baseball or football teams and provide tickets to customers based on a raffle each month. * Advertise on Valpak, Craigslist, GroupOn (for coupon discounts) and other local magazines. * Use social media network such as Facebook or Twitter for promotion. * Build LEED or environment friendly facilities to show responsibility towards the community and world as a whole. * Provide an online payment system for customers to pay their monthly rental fees.
Some ways to measure customer satisfaction are as follows: 1. Survey Customers This is probably the only way to get customer feedback, surveys can be provided in several ways (through mail, email, or over the phone). In order to get the best information, customers should be allowed to answer questions on a weighted scale (as in “Rate your experience on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 indicating complete dissatisfaction and 5 indicating complete satisfaction”). Repeat customers may have to survey again to see how their experience changes over time. . Understand Expectations The business must make an effort to discover the expectations of customers in terms of both service and products in order to ensure that their needs are met. 3. Find Out Where You’re Failing If customer requirements are not being met, the management needs to find out where the failure is occurring. Are the products less than what is advertised? Are employees making promises that cannot be met? Are customer service representatives dropping the ball on dispelling customer concerns and managing their complaints?
Whatever the case, it is important to know where the lines of communication are breaking down so that relationships with customers can be mended. 4. Pinpoint Specifics Whether a customer is satisfied or not, the data collected will need to accurately assess what is working and what isn’t. So inquiries into level of satisfaction should include more than just the overall experience. The business needs to determine the products or services they purchased, what they liked or disliked about their sales interaction, how the actual purchase compared to their expectations, and any suggestions they have for mprovement. 5. Assess the Competition As part of the survey process, the business may want to consider inviting customers to compare and contrast similar products or companies to find out what they are offering. This helps in understanding what is lacking in the business. As stated in an article by Kevin Cacioppo, “Customer satisfaction is the state of mind that customers have about a company when their expectations have been met or exceeded over the lifetime of the product or service.
The achievement of customer satisfaction leads to company loyalty and product repurchase. ” He also states that: In addition to a clear statement defining customer satisfaction, any successful surveying program must have a clear set of objectives that, once met, will lead to improved performance. The most basic objectives that should be met by any surveying program include the following: * Understanding the expectations and requirements of all your customers. Determining how well your company and its competitors are satisfying these expectations and requirements. * Developing service and/or product standards based on your findings. * Examining trends over time in order to take action on a timely basis.
* Establishing priorities and standards to judge how well you’ve met these goals. Gap Analysis is a popular assessment tool to find out the ‘gap’ between what exists verses what is needed or desired. The steps involved in this are – * Identification of customer expectations, Identification of customer experiences, * Identification of management perceptions, * Evaluation of service standards, * Evaluation of customers’ communications. Gap analysis generally refers to the activity of studying the differences between standards and the delivery of those standards. For example, it would be useful for a firm to document differences between customer expectation and actual customer experiences in the delivery of medical care. The differences could be used to explain satisfaction and to document areas in need of improvement.
Other tools to bridge gap in customer expectations and experiences could be by sending mail-in surveys to customer to get feedback on the service received, going out of the way to make sure a customer’s needs are addressed, providing top notch customer service are also ways to bridge gaps. Bottom line for any small business such as Self Storage is getting to know customers, listening to their concerns, making customers feel appreciated and personal touches such a learning their names might be important in retaining business and building relationships.
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