Top Customer Service Tips In Property Management
Is your property manager giving you the service you desire? Let’s face it Real Estate is a pretty transparent industry. All Real Estate businesses are governed by the same laws and codes of conduct and we all have access to the same technology, so how do we stand out from the crowd in such a competitive industry? It’s pretty simple really, customer service.
From retail to hospitality to online businesses and real estate, the key to success hinges on your customers and how satisfied they are with the service you provide. Especially now with the growth of online review services such as Yelp, Google and Trip Advisor, it has never been more important to keep your clients happy. The savvy consumer will conduct thorough research on you and your business before committing their trust, and a huge part of this includes seeing what other clients have to say about you.
Now more than ever in Property Management winning new business and keeping existing clients loyal comes down to customer service. It sounds pretty simple, but there is a lot more to it and it is definitely something that needs your attention and focus. To be honest, it’s almost a department on its own.
Top 10 customer service tips for property management
Plan of attack
From the first time a potential client contacts you to the time they leave you, a customer service plan needs to be in place. How quickly will you respond to that initial contact, what will you send them and how will you follow up, all need to be considered and a plan put in place. A customer service team to be responsible for following this plan should be established so that it never gets missed if someone gets busy. Even a customer service initiative for a lost client should be implemented, sometimes the grass isn’t greener on the other side and a client may return to your business at some stage, keeping the advice ‘never burn bridges’ at the forefront of your customer service plan will stand you in good stead.
Don’t simply ignore complaints, deal with them. Make a call to the client or tenant and address their concerns promptly and professionally. This will go a long way to mending the fractured relationship, rebuilding trust and potentially keeping the client long term. Escalate serious complaints to senior team members and having the complaints put in writing is also a great idea.
Have a follow up with clients to seek reviews and make this a simple and easy to follow process. Everyone is time-poor, so implementing a quick and easy review process will ensure you are getting as much good feedback as possible. The more reviews you have the better chances you have of securing new business. Also, an annual “How Are We Doing?” customer satisfaction survey is also a great idea. This will help gauge just how happy your existing clients are and they will certainly offer up valuable advice on how you can improve. Make sure this is quick and simple and online.
Once you have won over a client, that doesn’t mean the service stops it needs to ramp up. Ensure you have a strategy for regular contact with clients, iThink Property has a Friday Five. Every Friday our team calls five clients just to touch base and simply have a chat, sometimes clients may seek clarification on any issues they may be experiencing or request market updates.
The extra mile
Offer extra services or go above and beyond sometimes. The little things can mean a lot to long term clients, so offering an annual rent or sales review or random thank you for your business card can go along way. Including some extra services at no extra cost, such as completing insurance claims can also assist with winning new business and improve trust with existing clients. It isn’t always about the bottom line when it comes to customer service.
Accept you can’t keep everyone happy
Sometimes no matter how hard you try you just can’t keep some clients happy. Don’t get disheartened, accept it and work hard on winning new business. Ensure you end the relationship on the best terms possible.
Have your expectations set out clearly from the start with all new clients. Make sure they understand, when they will be paid, how they will be paid, when the property will be advertised, how you will find new tenants, etc. Make sure your new client ‘Welcome Information’ sets out your companies boundaries and outlines how the mutual relationship will work. If there are issues referring back to these boundaries will ensure it is resolved without undue conflict.
Train your team
Good customer service comes from the top down. The adage look after your team and they will look after your clients is certainly very true. Also never assume anyone knows what good customer service is. Take some time to train your team on what your customer service expectations are. From simple things like how quickly they should respond to an email to bigger things like resolving a conflict between an owner and a tenant. Conflict or dispute resolution training for property managers is an essential skill to master. Also offer your team a support network that can assist them to resolve difficult disputes, a senior team member or just a fresh perspective can often help. Ensure they understand the laws and acts that they are governed by - and referring back to them is often the easiest way to resolve a conflict.
It can be your best friend when it comes to customer service. Technology is always changing and evolving so it’s important to keep up to date with what is available in your industry. Technology such as automated replies that update on maintenance, or apps that allow you to conduct routine inspection reports on your mobile. This can become invaluable in terms of not only keeping clients happy and in the loop, but they also become important time-saving tools for your team.
These are real people that take care of a business’s administration tasks, freeing up your team to focus on, yes you guessed it, customer service. Other benefits include the cost-effectiveness of using them and the ability to streamline tasks, a bit of short term pain to get them set up is certainly worth it.
The competition is very stiff in property management and without any loyalty, it is very easy to change companies these days. Attention to your customer service can help you build a vibrant rapport with existing clients and tenants, as well as leverage new business, which ultimately ensures increased profitability and sustainable operations.