Managing a property is no easy feat. You’ve heard of the expression ‘not all heroes wear capes’? This would be a valid time to use it. Surpassing the leaky drains, garbage overspill, or poor apartment package delivery system, the number one cause for complaint in property management is poor communication. Customer service in property management matters and, when taken seriously, can significantly transform your business and increase residence retention.
We’re here to help resource you and alleviate the process.
What Constitutes a Strong Customer Service Team?
There is no magical formula for great customer service. It is a two-fold coupling of exceptional people skills and solution-orientated pragmatism. It takes a genuine level of care and a super-human level of patience. If you are scaling up your customer service team, consider the following pointers as non-negotiable vetting quotas to aid your hiring process.
- Do they value kindness? – The golden rule. Kindness matters. Especially when dealing with tenants who are living through highly stressful problems in their home. A little kindness will go a long way.
- Do they have mastery of patience? – Property management can be exhausting. As soon as you’ve put out one fire in your building, another proverbial flame emerges. Being professional and having control of one’s own patience is the only way to stay effective.
- Are they resourceful? – You need to know that your customer service team can stay calm and still find a well-thought-out management solution in a crisis. Build a team that can think strategically and aren’t afraid to try innovative solutions that can benefit your tenants.
- Do they have the expertise? – Your customer service team ought to be able to speak confidently to every possible facet of property management, no matter how daunting.
Your customer service team needs to be the voice of reassurance. They calm the calamities and assure your tenants that you are fully resourced to manage any problem that might arise. They are likely going to be communicating with highly stressed individuals. It is therefore integral that they receive thorough, professional training in communication styles and how to discern, mediate and moderate through intense and demanding conversations.
What Primary Issues Can Your Customer Service Team Expect to Encounter?
The plethora of potential problems surrounding property management is sizable. There are certain problems that property managers are guaranteed to run into. It is the nature of the business. Strategizing thoughtful solutions for the following issues ahead of time is going to save you an enormous headache in the future.
- Maintenance work – From electrical work to minor wear and tear, the bulk of issues that you will encounter have to do with property maintenance work in the rental units and other parts of the building.
- Pest Invasion – Pests and critters are a property manager’s nightmare. When a tenant reports a pest problem it is vital to act fast. More than likely the majority of the damage will be done by the time the tenant notices it. Dealing with pests is timely, grim, and can be expensive. The USA alone spends over $2 Billion Dollars annually on termite eradication.
- Noise Control Issues – Noisy neighbors and streets are a major pain point for occupants.
- Lost Mail – Lost or disorganized mail is likely not your fault. But in a large multifamily unit, it can seem inevitable. Unfortunately, as a property manager, you are sure to be the target for complaint.
- Parking – In many major US cities parking might seem like the world’s most valuable commodity. Having a strategically placed solution for the tenant and guest vehicles is an essential element of running a large-scale inner-city unit.
This kind of optimizing can seem overwhelming. But when customer service demand is 24-7, preparation is key. Maintaining a standard of excellence in your customer service only serves to benefit the experience of your tenants. At the end of the day, you are on their side.
Your actions and attentiveness need to demonstrate this.
No matter how daunting the complaint, there is always a solution. The following unique cases afford some simple steps and guidelines that could help to reduce customer service aggravation and free your team to focus on the tasks that truly matter. Consider the following list of tips and tricks as less of a means to solve your problems, and more a way to eradicate them in the first place and alleviate their perpetuation.
Noise Complaints vs. Noise Guidelines
Take, for instance, the issue of noise complaints. Noise complaints are a universal problem across America. Luckily for you, there is already State legislature in place that aims to eliminate noise control. For instance, in Seattle, it is illegal for noise to be heard 75ft from any private property. Since this legislature is duly in place, your role as Property Manager is to incorporate this as a code of conduct for living in your building.
Set a standard of living. Create a culture within your building that demands a high level of honor and integrity from tenants, and take action if such rules are not adhered to. This might look like explicitly spelling out noise requirements as a sub-clause in every resident’s lease contract. This means that all new tenants must sign and promise to adhere to your rules on the volume control.
Alternatively, find noise solutions in the infrastructure of the building. Put the upfront cost into noise-friendly manufacturing, and save you a headache on the tail end. This might look like:
- Double glazing windows to eliminate noise from the outdoors.
- Increase wall and floor insulation to limit internal sound travel.
- Modernizing freight or passenger elevators to quieter contemporary models.
Lost Mail vs. Multifamily Parcel Locker
Lost mail should be the least of your worries. Establishing an efficient multifamily apartment postal system assures both a high level of organization and a high level of integrity in mail delivery. At Parcel Pending, the self-service smart locker can save your management office at least 24 hours a week of organizing and maintaining postal issues, which significantly reduces operating costs.
Their systems are customizable, therefore suitable for any and all building types. They’re scalable to suit the needs of your tenants, readily accessible 24 hours a day, increasing both their accessibility and their convenience.
Perhaps the biggest win of all? They manage the liability. This means that Parcel Pending doesn’t just alleviate your management team with hours of postal organization, but they also alleviate the hours that your customer service team will spend handling any mail related complaints.
The future of property management is here, thanks to advanced technology. These new smart lockers that property owners are integrating provide the following:
- Security—By locking up the packages, the level security serves as a package theft deterrent and tenants can be rest assured no porch pirates will be able to steal their goods.
- Temperature Control—With temperature control, the risk of goods (especially food and medicine) overheating beneath the sun or amidst hotter climates is mitigated.
- Courier Agnostic—They accept packages from any country, storing them securely and safely.
- Mobile Application—The mobile application notifies tenants of their deliveries, allowing them to do the management. It does the work of your mailroom for you!
Pest prevention is the greatest form of pest control. As a property manager, if you can cater to inform and educate your tenants about pest prevention, then you’ll save yourself adhering to calls of pest control issues in the long run.
Know what areas to target. Pests usually come from a source. If you are dealing with a pest control problem in your building, the likelihood is that you have some deep-rooted waste or water problems to address first.
- Leaking Pipes or Damaged Waterworks – Leaking pipes are a landlord’s worst nightmare. Beyond the damage of damp and mold, leaking pipes and soggy insulation can prove to be an unruly breeding ground for nasty bugs and larva. Make sure that any water-related issues are dealt with in a timely and hygienic matter.
- Food Waste – Food waste is the largest cause of ants and fruit fly infestations. While as a property manager you are not accountable for the individual cleanliness of your tenants, you can help to equip them with resources and tools to ensure that all food waste is dealt with as efficiently as possible. Consider installing compost shoots and InSinkErators, that ensure food waste is channeled out of the apartment and dealt with externally. Make sure that bins are never overflowing, and provide more where necessary.
Although it might seem like it, property management is not just about collecting rent payments and handling maintenance issues. At the end of the day, ensuring that your tenants also have a healthy customer service experience leads to strong reviews, good word-of-mouth, and tenant loyalty. You want your tenants to know that their home is a safe space. Let them feel that you understand the value of their tenancy, and are excited to have them as part of your community. Great customer service is just as much a part of their housing experience as lighting fixtures and shower design. It should be a given that this aspect is part of property management basics.
After all, happier tenants mean a happier property manager.
Vision Realty & Management. Biggest Complaints From Tenants and How to Handle Them.
Centers for Disease and Pest Control. Disease Vectors and Pests. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/publications/books/housing/cha04.htm
Seattle.Gov. Noise Complaints. https://www.seattle.gov/police/need-help/noise-complaints