Property management teams serve as the middlemen between you, your property, and your tenants. Property owners rent their property in hopes of making additional income without a lot of extra stress. Tenants rent property with the hope of finding a peaceful and affordable place to live. A property management company’s job is to ease the stress of their rental property owner, while providing a peaceful and inviting space for tenants to live.
Although a property team is responsible for many things when it comes to managing a rental property – such as marketing and advertising the property, tenant screening, and processing applications – the most important obligation is providing amazing customer service. In fact, according to a 2017 study by American Express, 33% of Americans say they will consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor customer service.
Let these 8 customer service tips provide a guide for property teams to provide the most effective client support:
1. CREATE A FAIR AND UNDERSTANDABLE RENTAL CONTRACT
The start to any successful tenant-landlord relationship is a fair and agreed-upon rental contract. Make sure tenants understand everything written in the contract, so nothing is left to their imagination or question. The more straightforward the contract is, the more tenants will feel at ease when they sign the dotted line. A contract that is unclear or ambiguous not only invites room for interpretation, but tenants may also see this as dishonest.
2. CREATE A FORMAL PROCESS FOR TENANTS TO SEND COMPLAINTS AND SUGGESTIONS
As any property management team knows, tenants are bound to have both suggestions and complaints about their property or unit over time. To provide the best support possible, create a formal process for giving and receiving those suggestions and complaints. Tenants should know where to go to submit a complaint or suggestion, and a property management company should be regularly reviewing those submissions. This allows both tenants and property managers to be proactive and resolve issues quickly.
3. CREATE A FORMAL PROCESS FOR ROUTINE AND EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS
In addition to suggestions and complaints, tenants are likely to submit maintenance and repair requests. A property management team should have an in-house maintenance crew or a list of trusted contractors to handle routine maintenance and emergency repairs. Much like a formal process for complaints and suggestions, property management companies should have a place for tenants to submit requests like this via their website (or a 24/7 emergency hotline for repair needs). This gives tenants the peace of mind that they are always taken care of, when needed.
4. BE ACCESSIBLE 24/7
It is never fun to take a call at 3AM, but as a property manager – it is your job to be available (or find someone who is!) when emergency situations arise. Whether it is morning, noon, or middle of the night, tenants should know they have someone to call or email with their questions or concerns.
5. RESPOND TO ALL COMMUNICATION WITHIN 24 HOURS
While round-the-clock accessibility is ideal, we understand that not every call and email can be answered immediately. Property managers are still only human! However, providing excellent customer service means responding within 24-48 hours if you were unable to respond right away. Tenants who were unable to reach the team via phone at 10PM but received a call back first thing the next morning will trust that the property team thinks of them as a priority. A responsive property management company creates trust and gratitude amongst tenants.
6. SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
The quickest way to tarnish the tenant-landlord relationship is by not following through on promises. Make sure that expectations are clear both ways, and if a property team says they are going to do something – do it (or communicate why you will not be following through).
7. INTERACT REGULARLY WITH TENANTS
Outside of requests, suggestions, and complaints – it is important to interact regularly with tenants to create a strong relationship and understanding of their issues. Property teams can host Q&A sessions, offer coffee in the office once a month, or simply walk around and greet each tenant they encounter. Either way, tenants and property managers should not just be talking when something is wrong. The goal is to create a relationship where matters can be discussed before they turn into a real issue.
8. BE PROFESSIONAL (AND PROVE IT!)
Tenants should feel confident that their property management team knows what they are doing. The property team should know the contracts, know the website, know the maintenance and communication processes, and know the property. When every request and question is answered quickly and accurately, tenants will respect property teams for the work they do.
With over 280,000 property management companies in the U.S. alone, property management can be a competitive environment. Rental property owners always have a long list of property managers to choose from. Offering excellent customer service can be the bedrock of a successful property management company, and it can differentiate a property manager for all the other teams vying for more business.