As Senior Director of National Sales Center, Scott Hansen provides support for Extra Space Storage‘s call center. Hansen, who’s been with the company since 2013, oversees a team that handles more than a million calls per year and assists existing and potential customers with their self storage needs.
Learn more about Hansen’s work with Extra Space Storage and get insights into his career, the challenges he’s faced, and his greatest accomplishments in the Q&A below.
Q: How did your career path lead you to Extra Space Storage?
A: Before Extra Space Storage, I had 18 years of experience in retail. My roles included everything from commission sales, store management, and corporate functions in big box retail. In the last half, I worked in the competitive intelligence and pricing group for a well-known retailer in Minnesota. In 2013, making the change to Extra Space Storage was a great way to keep the family in Utah while my kids were young and allowed me to utilize my experience with a Utah-based company. It’s been the best career choice I’ve ever made.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve received in your career?
A: “Be the leader you want to work for.” As I navigate how to lead the teams I’ve worked with, I try and take that approach. Being open and transparent, taking the time to listen to your team members, and even the small stuff like celebrating birthdays, graduations, and what happened last weekend—all of this matters. If the employees know you care about them, they will give their best for you.
Q: Which experience(s) in your career influenced who you are today?
A: I’ve been fortunate to work for several great managers in my career that showed confidence and trust in my abilities. One experience that has stuck with me is when interviewing with a CEO, he presented his perspective and asked a question. I struggled with the answer. He could see this and asked why. I said something along the lines of the perspective he presented might have been flawed, but worried about disagreeing with the CEO whom I’m interviewing with for a role. The CEO asked me to walk him through my perspective. He then mentioned that “the day I become surrounded by people that agree with me all the time is the day I stop growing as a leader.” Hire people who you respect, create diverse teams, listen to their perspectives, and allow them to challenge you. Great ideas and plans will follow.
Q: What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?
A: I’ve shifted my career significantly a few times—from big box store management to a corporate role in competitive intelligence/pricing, then again moving from retail pricing strategy to the demand-based pricing strategy we use in storage. The latest challenge is pretty recent. This year, I’ve received the opportunity to lead our call center team. Each of these changes has required a significant investment in time and effort to learn the business, work with our teams to optimize processes, and maximize performance.
Q: What has been the most fulfilling aspect of your career?
A: I’ve worked with many great people in my career. Many of them have become life-long friends. Seeing my employees develop, gain skills, recognition, and promotions has been an enriching part of my career.
Q: Describe your most successful endeavor with Extra Space Storage.
A: I love the challenge of solving problems, especially when you can create something great for the customer and the company. Several years ago, while in the field at town-hall meetings with our store managers, one manager presented an issue that was creating what they described as an “uphill battle” with our customers in the sales process. The manager challenged me to solve this issue, and I could see how the issue negatively impacted the customer and employee experience. When back at the support center, I worked with two of our other pricing team members, and we created a new pricing and promotion strategy that was a win for our customers, employees, and Extra Space Storage. This strategy yielded substantial financial results and was critical in keeping us ahead of our competitors.
Q: What advice would you give to future Extra Space Storage leaders?
A: What we have in our company culture is rare—a culture that is willing to innovate, and it’s not just words on the wall or in the employee handbook. Many companies talk about innovation, but almost as many are not willing to take risks or trust in teams to execute, resulting in only trying out things that are a sure bet. When we fail or make mistakes, we still learn, and it’s important to share what you learn with others. It’s one of the ways we get better. Don’t be afraid to fail. If everything you attempt out works great, you are probably not pushing yourself enough.
This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews with Extra Space Storage (NYSE: EXR) team members. Scott Hansen is the Senior Director of National Sales Center at Extra Space Storage