It’s a given that the property management industry is a customer-service industry. Smart property firms recognize that in addition to attracting and retaining tenants, keeping residents happy is equally important. Today’s renters are smarter and better informed, and want more options. They are also critical about the customer experience they receive, and willing to share their experiences online.
Whatever the current market conditions, landlords and property firms need to stay on top of the customer experience. Operations and marketing departments will have to anticipate and react to the new reality. Let’s look at the customer service trends that will continue to dominate 2018 in the property management industry.
1.) The tenant mindset: Help me help myself.
Your residents don’t want to have to call the office to report a maintenance issue, or change their rental payment option. They want easy, convenient self-service options. We will continue to see a rise in tenant portals, resident FAQs, online help avatars, and other support services.
2.) The increase of customer service expectations.
In every industry, from high tech to retail, the differentiator is how well a company can service its clients throughout the customer journey. Consumers know exactly what good service looks and feels like, and if your customer service doesn’t cut it, watch out. This means that property management firms will need more centralized communication systems to ensure that teams can work together more effectively to serve their number one priority: the prospect and residents.
3.) Despite the rise of the machine, humans are invaluable.
We’ve all been there – on the phone with our bank, our telephone company or some other service, and the only thing you want to do is talk to a living, breathing human being who can help you sort out your problem. Even though self-service is on the rise, property management companies still need agents and other property professionals to deal with higher-level issues, and more complex resident problems.
4.) The mobile phone is the preferred method of communication.
More and more in the property industry we are seeing customers (both prospects and existing residents) who want to connect and interact with your company through their mobile phone. This means browsing your website, as well as receiving SMS messages about maintenance issues or available unit details.
5.) Technology is here serve two masters: the resident and your team.
Yes, software-as-a-service offerings like online rental payment and maintenance requests, are aimed at improving the customer service experience, but technology that supports property professionals is also mission-critical. When your team can improve their efficiencies through technology, it helps them deliver a better customer experience. When your people spend less time on menial and repetitive tasks, they can spend more time effectively addressing the needs of customers and growing the property business.
6.) Customer personalization is key.
Property management gather a ton of information on their residents, and should be able to use historical information to provide customers with a more personalized experience that strengthens their relationship with your property. Empower residents to be able to receive notices via text message or by email. Personalize perks, like discounts for local pet supply for your tenants with pets.
7.) The future is virtual, or augmented.
Expect to see more VR or AR in the property management sector, especially for customer-centric activities like virtual property showings, or property simulations. With virtual reality, property professionals can offer prospective residents 360 degree tours of units across their portfolio, along with facilities and local conveniences, without ever having to leave the office. Both prospects and residents can use augmented reality to imagine paint colours, or see their existing furniture in a potential rental unit.