As far as self storage trainer Ken Walters is concerned, if a manager can pass the No Stress Test, he or she is on the road to success. Mind you, the stress we are talking about is not for the manager, but for the customer. Walters feels that if you can help reduce the stress that customers feel while dealing with a move, that customer will be a happy one…and likely pass the word along about what a wonderful manager you are.
Walters is the Training Manager for West Coast Self Storage’s California properties and is the California Self Storage Association’s Manager of the Month for May. He has served in the Navy, graduated from Southern Illinois University, was a Team Leader and District manager for Shurgard Storage from 1995-2006, worked for Lowes Home Improvement and in recent years has been with West Coast Self Storage.
A native of Detroit, Walters, who now lives in San Pedro, sums up his theory of dealing with a customer’s stress.
“We focus on providing a positive environment to relieve as much stress during moving as possible,” Walters says. “We provide free water, tea, coffee and sugar-free candies to all customers and vendors. We even provided lunch for really stressed movers a couple of times.”
“We’re very active in the community by assisting with various fundraisers, supporting the local high school and shipyard unions,” he adds. “Make the investment in the community with your customer service and it pays you ten-fold.”
Dylan Berg, District Manager – California, for West Coast Self Storage, is totally sold on Walters training style and the results he gets.
“When I think of a dedicated employee, I think of Ken Walters,” Berg says. “I can rely on Ken to offer his assistance whenever there is a need. He is friendly, outgoing, and well liked among the team. Ken is also a great salesperson and has a positive attitude, which makes him the perfect trainer for the District. He not only has storage experience, but also a retail background, which he can rely upon when he trains new people.”
Among his many positive traits, Walters wrote, researched and assembled a Standard of Operations book for the training manager’s role at West Coast Self Storage. He is always keeping an eye out for what West Coast Self Storage facilities can do in their communities and lists, among others, fund-raising car washes, monthly yard sales to open up a facility for more public awareness, donation of free storage bids in local Chamber of Commerce auctions, helping Red Cross and donating storage for community needs.
As for his dealings with the CSSA, he enjoys reading the CSSA newsletter, looking for new ideas, keeping up with old friends like Erin King (who he worked with at Shurgard) and attending trade shows and educational gatherings (like a recent audit/foreclosure course in Ontario, CA).
In his spare time, Walters enjoys attending jazz clubs and sporting events. He also is a fan of good cigars, which taste especially good relaxing on a beach. And he likes to hit
Las Vegas for poker tourneys a couple of times a year, which keeps him recharged!
But it is his love of self storage and the interaction between managers and customers, that gives him a tremendous amount of joy.
“My philosophy is to provide the most positive environment conducive to removing stress from moving,” Walters concludes. “Provide exceptional customer service internally and externally; this builds your reputation in the community as well. Handle each customer as if they are your only customer!”
Ken Walters most certainly passes the No Stress Test and is well deserving as the CSSA Manager of the Month for May.