April 02, 2015
Call the Landlord? Ugh, We’d Rather Not
People these days are shunning traditional phone calls for other types of communication through the web, email or on their mobile phones.
From mobile banking, online shopping and social media like Twitter and Facebook, people are hooked on digital communications. Consider a recent study that found 95% of 18-29 year olds used text messaging and send or receive an average of 87 messages a day!
Although older tenants may be more comfortable with phone calls, it’s becoming increasingly preferable amongst all age groups to have a choice in the way they can communicate in their day-to-day lives. The issue is not so much that people are uncomfortable speaking on the phone, but that avoiding conversations is easier, and doesn’t require they spend time making chit-chat.
Getting with the Times
Most landlords are still operating as they have for decades, using the telephone, in-person visits and paper record-keeping to interact with their tenants. But the world has moved on and landlords need to get with the times if they want to attract and retain renters.
It comes down to choice and convenience.
Being able to send a quick text message to your landlord to let them know about an issue can be done whether you’re climbing into bed at the end of a long day or if you’re riding the subway to work. Likewise, some tenants may prefer email, social media, or a web-based form. Still others may still prefer to have that face-to-face contact or over the phone experience. The point is that although there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, that’s exactly what most landlords offer.
One way to modernize is to use web-based solutions, like an online portal, for tenants. It’s a great way to give them all the communication options they crave, whether it’s about rent or a maintenance issue.
With a portal, the tenant can report a maintenance issue on the web, via email or through text 24-hours a day, not just when your office is open. Your renter can also choose to be notified by text message or email when the problem has been addressed, eliminating the need for manual follow-up, while still assuring your tenant that the issue has been corrected.
When it comes to paying rent, allowing tenants to pay electronically through the web or with a credit card is another way to offer choice and attract renters, many of whom don’t use cheques any more.
An online solution can also track every interaction and provide instant access to the current status of maintenance requests as well as up-to-the-moment account information. This is not only incredibly convenient for the tenant, but it also gives the landlord a way to track the activities of a property through a trail of digital communication. And, with no more paper maintenance requests to manage, the risk of something falling through the cracks is minimized making the property more productive and efficient.
More Choice = Better Customer Experience
Offering a portal to your tenants gives them an exceptional customer experience, which in the age of social media is more important than ever before. People are more likely to share their bad experiences online, which could affect the reputation of your property.
However, in an industry like property management which has been slower to adapt to a digital world, tenants who receive great service, convenience and choice are much more likely to share that information positively on review sites and through social media.
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