Prompt and knowledgeable communications is the lifeblood of property management. As such, it will likely be a key driver of tenant retention and attraction in the New Year. There are a number of things that property management firms should be doing or at least considering to improve communications in 2014.
If your firm is relying on a voicemail system in the New Year rather than a business answering service that specializes in the needs and clients of property management firms, you’re already in trouble at the outset of the New Year. Even assuming that you have a business answering service, there are a number of things you can do to improve its effectiveness for tenants and prospective tenants.
Personalization is the key to your business and therefore the key to any scripting that you provide to your business 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 business 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.
Be sure that your business 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.
In the event that you will be unavailable to take calls during business hours, provide your business answering service 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 calls that may come in during your absence.
Be sure to take advantage of the ability to provide variable scripts to the business 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 business 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 in 2014 and beyond, but also goes a long way to improving the firm’s bottom line.