When the Worst Case Scenario Happens

Scott Meyers - Business

There are horror stories about self storage facilities all over. You read them in the paper, see them portrayed on tv shows, and maybe have even experienced some yourself. Have you ever thought to take a step back, though, and make a plan on what to do if you find yourself and your facility in the spotlight for something nefarious? When a body was once discovered in a functioning freezer in a facility in California, I bet you manager had wished he planned on saying something better than “ I can’t look at every freezer that comes onto the property.” So, in the slim chance that you have the media and police knocking on your door, have a plan in place for yourself and ALL of your employees to follow. Here are 5 practical tips to consider:

  1. Be prepared! Getting caught off guard is when stupid comments and decisions happen. Go over all protocols with employees and make sure that they are confident in how they should handle the situation of a reporter arriving at the facility. Have a reminder meeting once a year so it stays fresh in the mind!
  2. Have a spokesperson. If you know you crack under pressure, pass the buck on to someone else! Make sure whomever is doing it, though, has a full understanding of the situation and can answer questions.
  3. Avoid becoming defensive. It is understandable that this is usually our first gut reaction. Reporters aren’t there for a friendly visit or to help us increase business. But be prepared and try your best to not become offended easily. Just know that sometime things happen and let it roll off your back. That’ll make it disappear sooner than if you throw a fit on tv!
  4. “No Comment” is not an acceptable answer! This just makes you sound like you are hiding something. If you aren’t allowed to talk about it, try going for something like “We are working directly with law enforcement to resolve the issue” or “At this time, I’m not authorized to say, but I can direct you to someone who can give you a statement”.
  5. Remember, reporters are legally not allowed to just be on your property. Even if they have “credentials”, you don’t HAVE to let them in. If they are being forceful, ask them to leave.

There are other things that will have to be addressed other than just the media. Your tenants are going to want to know what’s going on as well as potential customers. Be as open as you can with them, make sure you address their concerns and fears, and leave them feeling reassured. Now wouldn’t be the time to be humorous or flippant. And be consistent! Always be ready and prepared, better to have it and no need it than the opposite, right?

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