CSSA Pivots Due to Covid-19 Pandemic
Just as the Covid-19 restrictions and shelter-in-place orders has affected all other organizations, it too had changed CSSA activities and events for 2020. In California we have experienced a strict shelter-in-place order which has prohibited any gatherings. Both our major events were cancelled – the Napa Self Storage Owner’s Conference, originally scheduled for May 13 & 14 and the Annual Self Storage Owners Summit in Newport Beach, originally schedule for July 16. This eliminated our largest networking and training events for the year. This not only eliminated our major events but most of our in-person training sessions as well. In response to that, our Education and Training Committee stepped up the number of offerings, planning to do them virtually.
CSSA is pleased to announce the first-ever “Avatar Training” for self storage managers. We have developed two trainings – “Managing Customer Issues,” and “Smart Selling: Maximize Revenue – Minimize Discounting." These sessions are a joint effort between CSSA and the University of California Northridge SIMPACT. Each session will include 4 – 5 opportunities where individuals are in the “hot seat” and will interact with an “avatar” (live animated) customer in a face-to-face setting. Others in the session will observe and can critique what happened during that session. The last hour of the virtual session a communications professor will provide detailed information along with practical take-aways, using the avatar session outcomes as examples.
In addition, CSSA teamed up with the California Employers Association (CEA) to provide members with current HR information. CEA has revised the California Self Storage Employee Handbook with the latest laws. CSSA is also offering its members virtual HR training, which began with a FREE “Labor Law Update” in June, then new HR training each month – “Top 10 Ways to Stay Out of Court,” “Leave Law Update,” and “Conflict – Attitudes in the Workplace.”
CSSA is focusing on how to connect our vendors with our owner/operators, especially during this time of no-gatherings. CSSA has embarked on a much more robust Vendor Directory, giving vendors the opportunity to classify themselves in various categories. In addition, CSSA held several Business Partner Town Hall meetings, soliciting ideas that are currently being developed.
One suggestion that is being offered is an opportunity for our vendors to hold “Vendor Training Sessions.” These sessions focus on industry-specific topics where the vendor is a subject-matter expert. Rather than hold these as webinars where it is basically a one-way presentation, we are holding these on Zoom to allow for more interaction between presenter and attendee. While the vendors pay a small fee for these sessions, they are FREE to CSSA members and CSSA does the marketing and provides logistical support.
Covid-19 pandemic has caused a major disruption to the economy but CSSA has pivoted to provide continued support to our members, both owner/operators and business partners so that the self storage business can continue to grow in California.