We hear a lot of people wondering how property management process automation helps customer service instead of harming it via a mighty onslaught of robotics. After all: Isn't the personal touch the thing that makes customer service what it is?
Sometimes it's precisely that so-called 'personal touch' that can actually cost you business! How do you have stellar customer service while keeping the human element and still benefit from property management process automation? Here are five ways customer service is better through automation than you would have thought possible.
1. Self Help Is the Best Help
Customer self-service is the preferred method of problem-solving by pretty much everyone these days. You probably have proof of concept right this minute. How many work orders are now submitted via online portal versus phone call? Sure, there are probably some older residents or renters with recurring problems that will call in with issues—but I would be willing to wager you takeout from Ten50 BBQ that most of your work orders come in via portal.
Why? Using the portal:
- Is faster than a coconut-laden swallow
- Leaves a 'paper trail' or at least some form of record
- Doesn't require a phone call—the nightmare of the millennial.
We could go on and on. So, the point is, customer self-service is great, and people love it for a reason. How does property management process automation play into this?
Automation is generally the brain behind these self-service options. Automation powers them into being by:
- Sending tickets to the appropriate person for execution.
- Letting the client know immediately that their need was solved (for example, closing a maintenance ticket).
- Letting the client provide quick and easy feedback in the form of a satisfaction survey.
Most property management companies already use automation in these ways! You just don't think of it as automation.
2. Happier Employees
Automation reduces workloads very efficiently. This means your overworked, lunch-skipping, phone-call-ducking, frazzled staff will be able to breathe, take a lunch, and be so much happier when they answer the phone. Their normal blood sugar levels will allow them to have increased patience when speaking with upset clients—and they'll be more on top of their game.
Somewhere along the line, people were expected to do way more with way less—and that trend has continued over the years—making what would have been five jobs in the 1980s a single job now. There is no doubt that efficiency has contributed to this, but there is also a lot more hard work being put in by staff. Giving your employees a normal workload because you've adopted automation will show in every aspect of your business. Happy employees are more productive.
3. Faster Response Times
Even if the extent of your property management process automation is just using an automatic reply, your clients are going to be happier. Everyone wants to know their message was received and that they are a valued customer.
By taking the smaller, more repetitive tasks off your employees' plates—and letting software handle them—your staff can get to the more important things. A great example of this is having the time to schedule a maintenance call instead of making collections calls that are going to go to voicemail anyway.
4. Speaking to Someone on the First Try
Not everyone needs to speak with a property manager right away: some investors have questions that can wait, and others need to call in right at that moment. By using scheduling systems in automated communications, you allow those parties who can wait to pick a convenient time in the future, so your staff is available to answer the more pressing matters right as they come up.
5. Better Records
Property management process automation is done via software—and software keeps logs almost perfectly. Employing a Property Management Operating System (PMOS) and automating your work means there will always be a record of who did what, when. This means when someone calls with a question, an answer is a few clicks away.
Recordkeeping is very important to property owners and your business. Think about it:
A renter doesn't pay rent on time, and a concerned investor is getting in touch to learn what you're doing because they can't make their mortgage without it.
With PMOS, you'd be able to go to that renter's record and give the exact dates and times of all communications. Even better? You'll be able to let the owner know how many times the email was opened and whether it was read or not. That is customer service that sets your company far apart from the competition.
There are a lot more ways using automation in your property management business will improve customer service than we can list here. If you'd like a behind the scenes peek, schedule a meeting, and we'll show you how you can grow your doors—and not your staff—while providing best-in-class customer service to all your investors and residents.