By John Dunlap for the CSSA
Thomas Jefferson is generally accepted as the person who created the line “Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.” That would seemingly be the mantra for Ruben Flores, the GM of the U-Haul Moving and Storage Corona, California, facility. It is fair to say that very little gets put off for tomorrow by Flores and his employees at the Hemet facility. And one might add another adage that he lives by, the old Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
You see, Flores is a people person and he considers that to be among the most important skills any manager of a self storage facility can have.
“I think it is so important to provide excellent customer service, “ Flores says. “Word of mouth travels fast. I know how aggravating moving can be, so our biggest goal here is to make it as easy, simple, and cost effective as possible. I have learned that customer service and communicating with the customer is the most important thing. The increase in customers helped is due to better communication. Talking to the customer and really understanding what their needs are to fulfill them is so important.”
Oh, and you can also toss in “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness.”
“I take great pride in having my facility ‘top notch’ and my great custodian here does a wonderful job keeping everything in excellent condition,” adds Flores.
Among the comments from customers speaking about Flores, his staff and the facility are “Fast, efficient, courteous and professional,” “I have already recommended to a friend relocating in two months,” and “Staff was great and helpful.”
Flores comes by his passion for customer service naturally. A former supervisor at a casino, he also has done custodial work for a U-Haul self storage facility, then bumped up to assistant GM at the Hemet, CA, U-Haul facility. It was there that he learned the ropes of running a facility, from payments, maintenance and reservations.
This past February Flores became the GM of the 201-unit Corona facility. The facility is two stories in height, offering climate controlled units and 24-hour access to premium customers. Having worked his way up through the system has helped him appreciate the ins and outs of the business and how best to serve his community.
Speaking of which, Flores also makes sure his facility is active in the Corona community.
“We help local fundraisers and businesses by providing dollies and trucks to help them out,” Flores says. “This month we will be donating a truck rental to Food Runners who make events where people can donate canned food and they deliver it to people in need.Food Runners is a non-profit group that we love to help year after year.”
Flores also is a big supporter of the CSSA, notably because it keeps him informed and up-to-date.
“Over time I've notice that the self storage industry is constantly changing and improving,” he adds. “There are new and better ways to serve our customers and also, new regulations and laws that change. I think it is great that the CSSA has people who are experts on subjects to inform us. The CSSA truly represent us, guides us, and helps us to help others.”
When Flores isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter. He also enjoys reading, drawing and being outdoors with his family.
In the end, though, he believes that his success in self storage comes down to the attention he gives his customers, his staff and his facility.
“Caring about the customers needs and making them my own is so important,” Flores concludes. “Keeping my staff and facility in the best conditions possible. And always communicating with customers and staff. I strongly believe in leading by example.”
Wise words to live by.