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.
Why Customer Service Matters
It’s no secret that companies that create exceptional customer service experiences can set themselves apart from their competitors. And, better yet, property management companies who excel in customer service can impact the bottom line. In fact, management consulting firm, McKinsey and Company, reported that their research “indicates that for every 10-percentage-point uptick in customer satisfaction, a company can increase revenues 2 percent to 3 percent.”
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. Today’s renters are more than willing to share their experiences online.
Customer Services Best Practices
Often, the quality of customer service boils down to three key factors: people, processes and priorities. Here are four ways to make sure you're delivering the very best experiences.
1. Build a Relationship
Remember, renters can’t follow the rules if they don’t know them! Make sure that when your residents move in they receive a friendly welcome package through your tenant portal that includes a list of property policies, helpful tips, safety and security information, contact numbers, amenity information and a listing of nearby resources, like libraries, parks and schools.
Be sure to follow up within the weeks following move-in to find out if everything is okay. Let your renters know that you are always ready to assist them.
In addition to the “business as usual” communications, don’t forget to show your appreciation. Small gestures can make a big difference. For instance, you can:
- Include a roll of address labels in your welcome package.
- Use your tenant portal to send holiday greeting, a birthday notice or offer a perk like a free month of parking for lease renewal.
- Recognize residents who have made a difference on your community board or in your newsletter.
- Arrange an open-house night once a year in the party room.
2. Improve Your Processes
Your processes and how you handle daily tasks and unforeseen emergencies dictate how good (or bad!) your customer service will be.
Onboard + Train Your People: The thing you never want to hear an employee say is “I didn’t know I was supposed to do that.” Give your people the knowledge and tools they need to do their job and deliver outstanding customer service. Encourage ongoing learning with internal or external education programs designed to enhance their career development.
Repairs and Maintenance: One of the most common reasons for tenants leaving a building is repairs and building maintenance being overlooked or ignored. Property managers should take advantage of web-based technology for managing repairs and maintenance that allows for automated repair notifications, post-repair follow-ups and repair satisfaction surveys with minimal administrative overheads.
Screen Well: One bad apple can have a negative impact on other tenants and their day-to-day enjoyment of the premises. So it’s important to ensure high quality tenants. The first step in preventing bad or “professional” tenants is screening. Have an extensive, unbiased and consistent screening process in place. See tenant screening tips here.
More Efficient Communication: How easy is it for tenants to get in touch with you? While some tenants will want to pick up the phone and talk to you, many will not. So make it easy to get in touch through a customer portal, which allows tenants to contact you whenever they want, and how they want – by using their computer or mobile phone.
Leverage Technology: Property management companies need to build an infrastructure—a powerful mix of social, mobile, web-based property management apps and related technologies—that allow the resident to do whatever they want, when they want and how they want. Customer experience is not a one-time, single channel event. It is an omni-channel series of unique interactions.
3. Listen to Tenant Concerns
Communication is a two-way street. In addition to outward-bound communication with tenants, landlords should actively encourage two-way dialogue in the form of surveys, feedback on maintenance or other issues pertaining to their rental unit. Successful landlords and property managers will listen and act on this feedback.
The ability to prioritize tasks and manage your time correctly is a must-have skill to deliver on customer service. Depending on where your properties are located, it’s not uncommon to have to be in two places at once! Being able to properly schedule your time and get your work done all comes down to time management and the ability to know your biggest priorities in any given day.
How We Help Build Success
At Property Vista, we give property managers the tools to help make more informed decisions and improve their bottom line. Our property management solution has at-a-glance dashboards to help tabs on KPIs and costs. It includes an owner and tenant portal to promote effective communication between the property firm, its residents and the building owners. Check out our pricing and book a demo.