Property Management is a Help Desk Business That Happens to Manage Real Estate
When you look at the day-to-day tasks of property managers, it quickly becomes clear that they are operating a customer service help desk. Your staff spends the majority of their time fielding tenant, owner, and property issues. To be successful in property management, it is critical to have a highly-tuned customer service machine.
What does that actually mean? Well, it means that you will need to look at your business differently. Communication with owners and tenants, your ability to manage outstanding tasks, and your efficiency in handling your operations will be the deciding factors in how successful your property management company will be.
So what are some tips to handle the customer service business you’ve created?
Provide Customer Self-Service
Self-service is here to stay in the customer service industry. Many customers prefer, and will even go out of their way, to help themselves. With the age of the internet, consumers prefer to have the answer to their problem available at any time, and from any device, when they want it.
How can you provide self-service options?
- Have a FAQ section or a Knowledge Base on your website that includes answers to all of your commonly asked questions (and update it regularly).
- Accept rent payments online.
- Use your PM software to accept maintenance requests online.
- Provide online user portals for your owners and tenants.
Believe it or not, there are still companies out there that do not offer these almost standard amenities.
Not only will your customers be happy to help themselves, but it will also save you the time of managing tasks that don’t require management - so you can provide better service in other areas.
Entire days can be lost to lack of organization. Having clear workflows documented for your staff clears up some of the confusion, increases efficiency, and ensures that nothing is dropped.
Using further organization tools such as a daily task tracker will help you to stay organized. Property owners and tenants are counting on you to meet their needs so missing a task can be catastrophic. You’re in the business of managing a property that is also someone’s home. Tenants take missed appointments and calls personally.
Use a Customer Service Ticketing Software for Managing Outstanding Tasks
One of the hardest tasks in property management is to keep track of all of the outstanding tasks that need to be completed, whether its a question from a tenant, an accounting issue with an owner, or a scheduled move-in. If you have multiple team members or departments, it's even more difficult to to know how those departments are performing. A customer service ticketing system works by creating 'tickets' for every outstanding customer service issue. These tickets can be assigned to the appropriate staff member, who then will update the status of the ticket until it is closed or completed. By using this system, you can run reports, giving you transparency and insight into how your team is performing. (Examples: ZenDesk, Zoho, Salesforce)
Keep Communication Open
Intermittently checking in with your tenants and owners to ensure they are happy will earn you big points when things go wrong. You should be able to use your property management software to send a mass email to all of your tenants intermittently. They won’t know it is a mass email, and you can check in on everyone at the same time.
Also, don’t forget to follow up after work orders have been completed. A quick phone call or email to check in and ensure everything is back to normal will show your tenants that you care, which is excellent customer service.
Using customer self-service methods, upping your organizational efficiency, communicating regularly and following up will inevitably lead to delighted customers. Satisfied tenants are more likely to renew their lease, and leave positive feedback online, which could lead to even more tenants.
What property management business solutions do you use to provide excellent customer service to your tenants?