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Cubesmart Customer Service Training Team

How to EnterCompany: CubeSmart, Malvern, PA
Company Description: CubeSmart is a self-administered and self-managed real estate company focused on the ownership, operation, acquisition, and development of self-storage facilities. With over 1,200 locations, we are committed to creating an exceptional self-storage experience. We offer a variety of services and amenities, and we partner with companies we trust to better meet our Customers' needs.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Team Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service Training Team of the Year

Nomination Title: CubeSmart: Learning, Living, and Leading Our WOW! Culture

Tell the story about what this nominated team achieved since the beginning of July 2012 (up to 525 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

CubeSmart’s Customer Service-focused Culture is called “WOW!”; it means “surprise and delight Customers by always giving more than expected.” Culture education is the responsibility of the WOW! Department.

Learning the Culture

In 2012, a "WOW!1–Learning the Culture" class was launched. It includes high-energy activities that educate participants on WOW!, the VALUES, and the 6 S’s. The VALUES are CubeSmart’s guiding principles (e.g., A = Accept Responsibility). The 6 S’s detail expected behaviors (e.g., Smile). By December 2013, every employee, including President Chris Marr, will have completed this program. New employees attend this class soon after hire. Participants leave clear on expectations with the tools necessary to promote and enhance the Culture.

Initially, only the Director of WOW! facilitated this class. In 2013, field and corporate employees applied to be WOW! trainers. Successful candidates completed a train-the-trainer and certification process. Seven facilitators, including the new WOW! Manager, now teach this class; it is an elite group that ensures a consistent experience. In addition to their job duties and teaching WOW!1, these individuals are WOW! ambassadors and critical to the Culture’s success.

Living the Culture

In November of 2013, a "WOW!2–Living the Culture" class was piloted. This one-day program challenges employees to put the VALUES and 6 S’s into action in an engaging format. Participants leave with a WOW! flip grid that provides examples of how CubeSmart employees live the Culture. It also contains questions employees can use to assess themselves in terms of the VALUES. This grid acts as a constant reminder to live the Culture and strive for constant improvement. All employees will complete this class in 2014.

Mystery Shops ensure that employees are providing outstanding Customer Service. In 2013, the WOW! Manager conducted training for all District Managers so they could better understand Shop scores and provide coaching to their employees.

A Strong Culture from the Top

President Chris Marr has supported WOW! from the beginning. Thanks to his support, the WOW! Department held the following leadership events in 2013:

•Three-Day Retreat: All leaders from Director level up participated in sessions on leading employees to live the VALUES, give more than expected, and use the 6 S’s. Leaders left with the knowledge and resources necessary to lead by example and strengthen the Culture.

•National Meeting Training: An outside expert in leadership conducted training for Store leaders, giving them the knowledge and resources necessary to develop their teams, promote the Culture, and improve the employee experience.

Better Training = Better Service = Better Business

•Increased conversions (moving from sales call to reservation): up 23% since 2011
•Q3 of 2013: occupancy averaged 90.5%, up 500 basis points year over year
•Q3 of 2013–General Manager Survey:
o71% think Training and WOW! positively affect how they do their jobs; a 20% increase over Q4 of 2012
o64% think Training and WOW! positively impact their business; a 19% increase over Q4 of 2012

What’s Next?

In 2014, the recently expanded Training team will introduce more Culture and Service training via eLearning and webinars, as well as a Culture class for people managers. New corporate and field onboarding programs will be launched, with an increased emphasis on the Culture.



Provide a brief (up to 125 words) biography about the leader(s) of the nominated team:

In January of 2014, Chris Marr will be CubeSmart’s President and CEO. He has been President and Chief Investment Officer since November 2008 and Chief Operating Officer since May 2012. Chris served as Chief Financial Officer of the Company from June 2006 to November 2008. Shelly Azen, Vice President of Human Resources and Training, joined CubeSmart in July of 2013. Shelly brings over 20 years of experience in HR and Training, as well as a strong background in Corporate Culture. Tim Killion, Director of Training, Development & WOW!, joined in August of 2011. Tim ran the Culture department at TD Bank for over eight years and was hand-picked for this role at CubeSmart.