Prompt and knowledgeable communication is the lifeblood of property management. As such, it will likely be a key driver of tenant retention and attraction. There are a number of things that property management companies should be doing or at least considering to improve communications.
Why Property Management Companies Should Use a 24/7 Live Answering Service?
If your firm is relying on a voicemail system rather than a business answering service that specializes in the needs and clients of property management firms, you’re already in trouble. Even assuming that you have a property management answering service, there are a number of things you can do to improve its effectiveness for tenants and prospective tenants.
How Do Property Managers Benefit from Call Answering Services?
Property managers cannot be available 24/7 for their tenants and clients. Therefore, investing in a property management call answering service is a great way to save you time, respond to after-hours requests and calls, and increase client satisfaction. With excellent 24/7 live communication and appointment scheduling services, there are many reasons to use property management answering services.
Emergency Calls and Issues
Personalization is the key to your business and therefore the key to any scripting that you provide to your property management call answering service. This encompasses simple aspects such as providing a personalized greeting that includes the name of your firm to the more complex like a list of common emergency and non-emergency issues and how to handle them.
You need to provide a very specific list for the property management answering service as to what is and is not an emergency. In addition, this must include the way in which the agent should respond to the tenant if the issue is happening during business hours as well as after business hours. It’s important to provide tenants with the same list of emergencies and non-emergencies to ensure the best communication for all parties involved.
Tenant Issues and Concerns
Be sure that your residential property management answering service is collecting only the information that they need from your tenants in order to help them with their specific concerns. If your firm has only one residential location and only one building, only ask for the tenant’s apartment number to keep frustration levels low.
Your Staff’s Backup
In the event that the property manager will be unavailable to take calls during business hours, provide your answering service for property management companies with specific information on the time frame that you will be unavailable. You must also provide them with specific instructions on how to deal with the differing phone calls that may come in during your absence.
After Hours Property Management Answering Services
Often phone calls from prospects and tenants come outside of business hours when you are out of the office. A telephone answering service for property management companies can extend your office hours to 24/7 coverage. They can work for you with features like call overflow support, after-hours coverage, appointment scheduling, etc.
Be sure to take advantage of the ability to provide variable scripts to the property management answering service to accommodate each type of situation. These scripts can be changed when needed so also take advantage of this during holidays, or other times when business as usual is not so usual.
Regardless of whether it is a residential or commercial property management firm, the more information that they can share with their property management call answering service the better integrated they can become. The result is a firm that is more efficient and able to quickly respond to tenant and prospective tenant needs. This not only improves property management communications and beyond, but also goes a long way to improving the firm’s bottom line.
Regardless of whether a property management company handles several or thousands of units across different cities and even states, the need for a centralized property management answering service has been proven to be highly effective. This is in terms of tenant repairs/challenge resolution as well as rental communication. Both go to the bottom line of greater occupancy and tenant retention.
Dispatch Emergency Maintenance Calls
Once again, these services must be staffed by call agents that know more than the status of availability and location of rental units, the preferred personnel contact list/numbers, and the emergency/non-emergency repair protocol list. For many, it is imperative that they also be fluent in Spanish as well as have an understanding of cultural differences that regularly come into play with the broader Hispanic community.
The Hispanic community is far from a monolith and is made up of many different cultures that speak Spanish. Having cultural sensitivity and understanding of the largest sub-group such as those clients that originally came from Mexico or have extended roots going back to Mexico is often the best place to start. While there are certainly enclaves throughout the country, the choice of location for a home, rental unit or commercial property for Hispanic clients is as infinitely varied as the Spanish-speaking regions of origin or where they have familial ties.
Expand the Client Base
The most prepared and progressive telephone answering service as well as property management answering service has considered these needs based on the areas and states that they serve in order to provide a diverse bench of call agents. Consequently, they not only employ a suitable contingent of agents that speak Spanish, but they also have varied sub-group cultural understandings that can impact the interactions with clients.
This will ultimately allow these property management firms to better serve their clients, thereby increasing retention and expanding the client base. The truth is that cultural sensitivity is about more than good business; it is about good communities—both commercial and residential. The leaders in property management will be defined by these precepts as the country continues to grow and change to become even more diverse.
How Bilingual Property Management Answering Services Are a Great Solution to Improve Business?
As the country’s cultural demographics shift to an ever increasing percentage of Americans that speak Spanish as their first language, their impact can be felt in the workforce, as consumers as well as in their need for quality housing and business locations. While this growing opportunity for property management companies can be tapped with the additional support that a property management answering service can deliver, it only becomes possible when they can provide bilingual answering services.
The most recent Pew Research Center report data available shows that the U.S. Hispanic population reached 62.1 million in 2020, up 23% over the previous year and up to 50% or more from 2010. As the largest non-white group in the U.S. at 19 percent, the Hispanic population will continue to grow and be a deciding factor in the future majority-minority makeup of the country. This represents a sizable percentage of growth in the rental and sales market across the U.S. It is only by providing bilingual outreach to this population that property management firms can tap into the potential.
When it comes to an answering service for property management companies, the ability to engage Hispanic clients in their first language goes beyond general communication. The best of these services employ agents that are culturally sensitive as well so that they can avoid any faux pas or cultural miscommunication that can derail the initial trust as well as the close of the deal.
How a Property Management Answering Service can Eliminate Sales Lead Conversion Mistakes
In property management, converting a sales lead often comes down to prompt communication. In order to increase this conversion margin, these companies must have an aggressive plan that utilizes every means at their disposal to eliminate mistakes that can cost a sales conversion.
Closing most sales in real estate is dependent on the promptness and accuracy of the agent’s follow-up. In a business where the effective agent is seldom in the office, this means that they must provide a way to promptly receive notification of calls in the field as well as full details of the call so that they can promptly return them.
An answering machine is the bane of the agent’s existence because nothing cools a hot lead like having to leave a message to an automated machine. While the firm may have an in-office receptionist, they are often engaged in other duties for the firm or frequently engaged with another caller when a second or third call comes in.
It is almost always a mistake to let a call go to voicemail, so the firm with a property management answering service is capable of ensuring that each call receives a friendly and informed interaction with a live voice. The call service agent’s ability to both answer and ask questions will elicit far more information than what the caller would likely provide to an answering machine. Consequently, they can first help to lay the groundwork for a sales conversion via being friendly, and secondly by asking questions and providing crucial answers.
In the field, a real estate agent or property manager is often likely to be on the phone as well as they juggle other clients while moving from one location to another. They may also be fully engaged in closing a sale or involved in a showing with a client.
Just as the office personnel would likely be making a sales conversion mistake by letting a call go to voicemail, so too would the real estate agent or property manager in the field. With a specialized property management answering service, the agent can ensure that their calls will go to the service when they are otherwise engaged in the field or on the phone. Likewise, they can be assured that the service will make a prompt follow-up call to them so that they can quickly engage the potential client.
The same scenarios hold true for property management firms whether they are managing commercial properties or residential properties such as apartment complexes. The staff for these property management firms is often no more than three people. While one may be directly responsible for fielding calls, they often have other duties as well. The other staff members are constantly engaged in either closing a rental sale, engaged in a showing, or managing a tenant’s concern. Making the mistake of not being immediately available for every caller can be the death knell for conversion or the first blow that leads to the loss of a tenant.
This is where a qualified property management answering service can fill the void by not only fielding calls from tenants and leads during the day, but in the potentially more critical time after regular business hours. By ensuring that every call is answered by someone that has knowledge of the properties as well as direct access to available information, maintenance protocols, and key personnel, the property management answering service is able to increase the firm’s bottom line. This is accomplished by effectively increasing caller satisfaction through prompt, friendly, and knowledgeable action coupled with relevant answers.
No property manager can show listings, schedule appointments, be available 24/7, and do everything else simultaneously. So, while you handle your day-to-day tasks and issues related to tenants and absentee property owners, investing in a phone answering service gives you great value and excellent communication.