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  • Angry Tenants

    Great article on diffusing tense situations with an upset tenant. What steps do you take to stay calm yet appease angry customers?
    Amy Campbell
    Editor
    Inside Self-Storage
    amy.campbell@informa.com

    @AmyCampbell_ISS
    480.281.6091

  • #2
    It all depends on the situation and the customers attitude to be honest. Even if something happens that is not our fault (ie a leak), if the tenant comes in and is an adult about the situation, we will likely try to come up with a solution (even though our lease says we are not responsible and will not reimburse for any losses). If that same tenant comes in in a fuss, won't listen to us, threatens to sue us (happened a few weeks ago), then we simply apologize and try to explain the lease. The person a few weeks ago kept cutting me off, slammed the door, then left a nasty voicemail threatening to sue us. I politely blocked the number and will await the letter from their attorney. You can't please 100% of the customers, no matter how hard you try.

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    • #3
      Amy, you know how mellow I am and thin skinned and always cave. I would just cry crocodile tears and beg for forgiveness and offer any amount of money to them that it would take to make them very happy. It is so much easier that way. Don't ya' think?

      Just thinking about all this gives me tremors. High anxiety to the max.
      "Never let the inmates run the asylum!"

      Comment


      • #4
        I've been yelled at, threatened, dealt with carpet beetles, roaches, a hole in their ceiling and rain inside, a messed up bill etc. You have to be empathetic, but not a doormat. Tenants are simply not covered by the company, period. It's easy to fall back on that, but also I try and help with the resources available to me, including a unit transfer etc. Things I CAN control.
        I want buns of steel.
        I also want buns of cinnamon.

        Newcastle, WA

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by letsgosonics View Post
          It all depends on the situation and the customers attitude to be honest. Even if something happens that is not our fault (ie a leak), if the tenant comes in and is an adult about the situation, we will likely try to come up with a solution (even though our lease says we are not responsible and will not reimburse for any losses). If that same tenant comes in in a fuss, won't listen to us, threatens to sue us (happened a few weeks ago), then we simply apologize and try to explain the lease. The person a few weeks ago kept cutting me off, slammed the door, then left a nasty voicemail threatening to sue us. I politely blocked the number and will await the letter from their attorney. You can't please 100% of the customers, no matter how hard you try.
          This.
          The other managers at my sister facilities always make fun of me for being such a softie and a sucker for helping people but, that's just how I am. If someone approaches me with an issue and they're mature and polite, we will do everything in our power to fix the issue within the boundaries of the lease. If someone comes in the office ranting and raving at me, forget it. I will not do anything for you. I've been threatened to be sued so many times. Ive had things thrown at me. I had a guy in here one time yelling and being nasty because we gave him the option between two move-in promotions, then when the next month rolled around and he thought he had a different promotion, he went off the rails. I told him that I refused to be spoken to the way he was speaking to me and he needed to leave. My owners and corporate office back me up 100% even so far as telling problem customers they need to get their belongings out and move out of the units. I work here, I dont clock in every morning to allow myself to be abused and bullied. Storing belongings is a choice. This is not a necessary business like a mechanic or a dentist. If you dont like our property, our policies, or me as a manager - get out.
          This is kind of a hot topic for me because it seems like the past month has been nothing but people screaming at me. Their stuff is dusty so they're going to sue us. They gave someone else their stuff to set up a unit and their name is not the account holder so they're calling the police. There was a water leak after a massive rain storm and their couch is ruined so they're suing us. There's puddles in front of their units after it rains so we better get that fixed or else they're suing. YET NONE OF THESE PEOPLE WANTED TO SIGN UP FOR THE INSURANCE WE OFFER EVERY TENANT. The list goes on.

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          • #6
            For me it's all about killing them with kindness. Address the issue at hand, if it's something I can fix I do; if it's just them having a bad day or wanting to be hateful and abusive, that is not acceptable. Most situations can be diffused with kindness, understanding and listening to the customers complaint and coming up with a viable solution. For the hateful folks; they learn very quickly that I will not be intimidated or berated. I always have the upper hand because I can terminate their lease, and "end their suffering" at the touch of a button and I do NOT hesitate to remind them of that.

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            • #7
              AFSManD your post reminded me of a customer once who was so upset and demanded we clean his unit because it was "our dust and dirt" that was inside his unit that he hadn't accessed in over a year. He also went off the rails ranting about "your dirt, your dust, you clean it." It was laughable. Once he calmed down a bit I asked him; "How often do you dust your home?" He said his housekeeper dusts it weekly. So then I asked; "How would your house look if you didn't have a housekeeper dusting for a year?" I watched as the question and then the little hamster wheel in his brain started jogging and spinning, waiting... It took the scenic route but then hit home, LOL! The look on his face was priceless.

              I was feeling pretty omnipotent that I, yes, lil ole me, had the power within me to own the winds and the dust.
              Gina 6k
              twitter.com/GinaSixKudo
              VM: Four-Oh-Eight- Seven-Eight-Oh-Eight-Oh-Seven-Nine
              storagebizhelp@gmail.com



              You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!
              I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Gina6k View Post
                AFSManD your post reminded me of a customer once who was so upset and demanded we clean his unit because it was "our dust and dirt" that was inside his unit that he hadn't accessed in over a year. He also went off the rails ranting about "your dirt, your dust, you clean it." It was laughable. Once he calmed down a bit I asked him; "How often do you dust your home?" He said his housekeeper dusts it weekly. So then I asked; "How would your house look if you didn't have a housekeeper dusting for a year?" I watched as the question and then the little hamster wheel in his brain started jogging and spinning, waiting... It took the scenic route but then hit home, LOL! The look on his face was priceless.

                I was feeling pretty omnipotent that I, yes, lil ole me, had the power within me to own the winds and the dust.
                Our lot is gravel and we are out of city limits. The guy was so angry because he had dust everywhere....on a gravel lot. I told him I was sorry about that but that we do sell furniture covers to prevent that type of thing from happening. His response was why does he need to buy more stuff when he's already giving us money? Well....dude, it was YOUR choice to store here and YOUR choice not to be proactive so....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by AFSManD View Post

                  Our lot is gravel and we are out of city limits. The guy was so angry because he had dust everywhere....on a gravel lot. I told him I was sorry about that but that we do sell furniture covers to prevent that type of thing from happening. His response was why does he need to buy more stuff when he's already giving us money? Well....dude, it was YOUR choice to store here and YOUR choice not to be proactive so....
                  Had a similar situation. This goes back to how the customer starts off the conversation.

                  Tenant came in concerned about the construction we were doing (adding more units across from his unit). He was concerned that there may be issues with dust. He wasn't rude, didn't make demands, didn't threaten to sue us. We had a nice conversation, and I told him that there may be some dust caused by the construction and we would be happy to provide him with any dust covers, tarps or blankets if he wanted. He was very appreciative of the offer, never ended up taking us up on it.

                  He could have instead come into the office in a huff and made demands at which point I wouldn't have been willing to help in that way, but he spoke to me like an adult and therefore was treated as such.

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                  • #10
                    The old saying rings true "You catch more flies with honey."

                    I agree when they say I will help out if you are being an adult but if you are acting like an out of control teenager then I am less inclined to help. It is difficult not to mirror the customer's attitude if they are upset.
                    The future depends on what you do in the present.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by badgorillawife View Post
                      For me it's all about killing them with kindness. Address the issue at hand, if it's something I can fix I do; if it's just them having a bad day or wanting to be hateful and abusive, that is not acceptable. Most situations can be diffused with kindness, understanding and listening to the customers complaint and coming up with a viable solution. For the hateful folks; they learn very quickly that I will not be intimidated or berated. I always have the upper hand because I can terminate their lease, and "end their suffering" at the touch of a button and I do NOT hesitate to remind them of that.
                      "End their suffering" lololol
                      I want buns of steel.
                      I also want buns of cinnamon.

                      Newcastle, WA

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KrisinNC View Post

                        "End their suffering" lololol
                        Ah yes, the button that opens the trap door to the gator pit. I've been asking management for one but they said it's too expensive!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My Belgian Malinois comes to work with me sometimes. I dare anyone to speak to me crossways! I think Bogie (yes, I'm a Humphrey Bogart Fan, lol!) would quickly let them know who the boss is. See the bone he's chewing on in the picture? That's the mailman's shin...well, not really, but nobody else has to know that! In all honesty, Bogie is good at defusing bad situations - he just makes everyone happy.

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