Here at A-1 Self Storage, we know our success is due to our wonderful team. The care they give our customers is unparalleled and we want to highlight their milestones along the way. Below is an interview with Sarah, who is celebrating her 1-year anniversary with A-1 Self Storage.
You can meet Sarah at A-1 Self Storage in Paramount, CA.
Shannon: What year anniversary are we celebrating?
Sarah: This is the first one.
Shannon: Okay great! Let’s talk about where you were before A-1 Self Storage. What kind of jobs have you had?
Sarah: I’ve always been in various customer service rolls. Right before this job I was working in imports and exports.
Shannon: Can you explain what you did there?
Sarah: In that job I helped with the containers coming in from the ports or shipping stuff from one side of the country to the other. I worked in customer service there, so I talked to customers and helped get them their delivery receipts. I did a lot of trouble shooting too, but also really anything that had to do with customer service.
Shannon: Interesting. How does working in self storage compare to your previous job?
Sarah: They are completely different. The only thing that is at all close to it is the customer service side of it. Except the customers in self storage are even different compared to any other job I’ve ever had before.
Shannon: Oh really? How so?
Sarah: Here you deal with customers that can be a little more aggressive, so you find yourself trying to keep your calm. It’s a whole new level of customer service. Luckily I’ve had plenty of experience in retail, so I’ve been able to handle most issues that have come up.
Shannon: It sounds like you’ve been in quite a few different industries. How did you end up in self storage?
Sarah: Actually I was interested in getting into property management. But in property management you have to have a certain amount of years of experience before you can get into it. Storage, I feel like, was a way for me to try it and get my foot in the door. I really like it though, so much that I don’t know that if I would want to leave working in self storage to get into property management.
Shannon: That’s fantastic!
Sarah: Yeah, I feel really blessed I got this job! I found out about the position from an ad on Craigslist.
Shannon: Was there anything that surprised you about the industry once you got into it?
Sarah: Just the different level of customer service.
Shannon: Gotcha. Do you have any advice for anyone interested in working in self storage for the first time?
Sarah: Yes. Be open to different personalities. Don’t take everything to heart. Sometimes it’s not that you are doing anything wrong, but that the customer is just having a bad day.
Shannon: What is the most important thing you’ve learned working in self storage for the past year?
Sarah: Learning all of the different policies and procedures for dealing with rentals and customers. Also, of course, learning how to handle different kinds of customers.
Shannon: I see. Do you have an example of a positive interaction you’ve had with a customer?
Sarah: Oh yeah! I have a customer who will bring me coffee in the morning once or twice a week.
Shannon: What? That’s amazing!
Sarah: Yes, he is very friendly and he really likes the facility and how we keep it clean and how we deal with our customers. He likes to show us his appreciation by bringing us some coffee or even lunch occasionally!
Shannon: That’s really special and says a lot about you and the team! Switching gears a little, I want to hear about the people you work with who have influenced you. Is there anyone who has been a big help in answering your questions throughout the first year and mentoring you?
Sarah: There are two people. Stephanie, who trained me, is amazing at her job. The things that I’ve learned from her have definitely outlined how I want to be a manager in the future. She’s very strict and has a no-tolerance attitude. Then there’s my manager, Patricia, who is a little more soft. Having her as a manager has helped me to also know when to not be so harsh and balance out being rigid.
Shannon: Sounds like you have good mentors to help keep you well rounded! Switching gears again, since you’re not always at the office I was wondering; What do you like to do in your free time? Where is your favorite place to eat or hang out in town?
Sarah: Well, I have two kids, so a lot of my time is spent hanging out with them. There is this restaurant that we love to go to called Dirt Dog in LA. It’s a hot dog place and it is SO GOOD. You know the Mexican corn where they put the chili and the parmesan over the corn? They do that to a hot dog.
Sarah: Yeah! It’s about 20 minutes away for us though, so it really becomes an outing for me and the kids and we have a great time.