16th November 2009, 02:14 PM #1
After Hour Phone Calls - Call Forwarding.
Good afternoon everyone!
I wanted to ( with your permission ) pick at your brains and thoughts for a minute.
At our Storage Facility, we're owned by a much larger corporation. We only have three buildings, but they are really nice buildings. ( 5-6 stories high each, 90+ security camera, climate and humidity controlled, etc ).
Do your facilities have after hours call forwarding?
Has it been a problem?
Is there certain times you do not answer the calls?
Do you feel that it's overkill, even for greater customer service?
Is there any real benefit for after hours call forwarding you can think of?
If you aren't doing it now, are you considering it?
No need to reply to all the questions or comments, I am just curious. This is my first experience in this type of facility ( though I have been in it for two years ) and cannot think of a single incident where a tenant calling someone at 11:30 pm to ask for prices did make or break the deal.
Last edited by LordsBreed; 14th December 2009 at 09:19 AM.
16th November 2009, 03:29 PM #2Junior Member
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
- Dallas, TX
I run a facility in Dallas, TX and have been in the business since '98. NEVER have I regularly answered the phones after hours. I have always let my tenants know that, just like them, when the office is closed I am off work. In case of emergencies, of course, I take care of things, but as a rule, I work 9-6 (no lunch break) and I'm gone.
I've found that my tenants are very considerate of my off time once they understand that living onsite does not mean I work all the time.
We have a digital answering machine that lists our business hours and invites folks to leave a message. It seems to work very well.
Have a good one!
Absolute Storage, Dallas
16th November 2009, 03:41 PM #3
We do have call forwarding at our facility. BUT, we only forward the phones on Saturday nights and holidays (as we are closed on Sundays). During the week, the after hours phone calls go to an answering machine. We do have an emergency phone # posted at our entrance and exit gates and those calls go directly to our owner. We've found that there aren't many real emergencies! If the owner is out of town, I just have the phones forwarded to my cell phone, in case someone needs storage on Sunday or watns to make a payment. In 4 years, I've only gotten maybe 4-5 calls that I couldn't take care of over the phone. Our security system is set up so that we can pull our cameras, our gate logs, and our computer program up at home or on our iphones and pretty much do whatever needs to be done. The call forwarding has gotten us quite a few Sunday rentals, but we don't have to pay someone to be here as we just make an appointment with the prospective customer.Have you ever stopped to think and forgotten to start again?
16th November 2009, 04:31 PM #4alexlekas Guest
lot of facilities simply turn on the answer machine after hours or have an answering service do the work, much like the majority of businesses. While you CAN be a 24-hour operation, do you need to be - is there a benefit to being such, does it make/save money, does it keep customers who might otherwise leave - in other words, is this anything more than a nice-to-have feature?
The payment issue you can resolve by letting tenants pay on line and price inquiries can similarly be handled through your web site. You do have a website, don't you? No reason it cannot become your silent helper, especially since the technology is there to perform multiple functions. Look at teh payment issue this way - your landlord or mortgage company is open during certain hours, same with the company financing your car, or anyone else to whom you may owe money.
Cell phone carriers and some utilities may be an exception but not paying them can mean an interruption in service; no one's things are tossed out over being a day late with rent. Service is a great thing, but only where it lends value without adding to overhead. Companies with extended or even overnight hours aren't doing it out of concern, they're doing it because they believe the approach will help them make money. There is no pricing question that must be answered at midnight. Politely explain teh rules and the vast majority of customers will abide by them.
16th November 2009, 06:44 PM #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2009
I'm with Alex on this one; I can't imagine why in this business 24 phone-answering would be needed. And then again, if I were a self-storage customer (and I have been) I would never in a million years call after-hours, just like I wouldn't call say my mom & pop tax-preparer or car insurance co. (local/Mom & Pop/not Geico or something that is) at 11 at night! I think once that's done in this business the rare (but can be annoying) customer will take advantage, 99% of the time it's non-emergency issues that can definetely wait until the office opens. Just my 2 cents worth, but then again I'm very blessed (in my book) to not work for a large corporation.
16th November 2009, 08:33 PM #6
We are just a single facility and I am the resident manager so my answers may be a little different.
As a resident manager I will usually answer the phone after hours -- at least till bed time! After that the answering machine can get the calls.
Most of these calls have been from existing tenants, but we have had a few that are looking for a rental. We have even opened after hours to rent a unit.Wayne
All arguments can be resolved ... with high explosives and Humor!!!
17th November 2009, 10:25 AM #7
Thanks guys, that was more or less the opinion some of us had and we just wanted justification.
Customer service is great, but for me to get a phone calla at 11pm to ask for out prices ( we don't keep them on the website to get more people to call us ) then it just becomes silly.
17th November 2009, 12:14 PM #8Moderator
- Join Date
- Feb 2008
- Cashiers, NC
Let me put my $.01 worth in. I agree with Alex. I am curious at what point did we become a 24 hr, 7 day business? I am currently and non-resident manager., but have spent most of my nearly 20 years as a resident manager. I have worked hard for far more hours that I have been paid to work. Currently, I work 5 1/2 days every week, and am getting tired. At what point does business overrule your health? At what point do you say I can't make good choices anymore today?
Will you grocery store reopen for you to buy those emergency bananas? Will the bank reopen for you to make that CC payment? Does your hardware forward it's call to the owners home so you can buy that toilet bowl cleaner?
No, they won't
Posted hours are posted hours. Yes, if someone calls and says I have a problem, can you help, I will help. But in most instances, It could be taken care of before you close, or the next day.Bob Taylor (Astro)
Blue Ridge Self Storage
Disclaimer: What Gina said....'cause the the cheese fell of my cracker.