The most common argument I hear from Property Managers who shy away from fully engaging with Social Media is: “I just don’t have the time to deal with Facebook and Twitter on daily basis”.
I think we all agree this is a valid argument, so let’s dive in.
Beyond the obvious advantage of higher search visibility, Social Media engagement provides another juicy benefit to Property Managers: time savings.
With Facebook and Twitter, Property Managers can scale customer service and connect with both constituencies, tenants and owners, where it is most convenient for them. Not only will you make it easy for customers to contact you, but you’ll be able to respond to customer requests faster, keep them informed and save your staff valuable time.
The best analogy is a phone call vs. a text message.
Lets pretend we are in the “pre-text message” world and I am running to the store to pick up some milk. My wife remembers that I also need to pick up oranges. So, she calls me and asks me to pick up oranges. Then, she realized that we are out of butter, bread, eggs and cheese so she calls me again. I am driving and can’t pick up the phone, so she leaves a message. I listen to the message and call her back, again, to make sure there is nothing else.
The whole exchange just took multiple phone calls and I am still running a risk of forgetting something.
This situation is similar to taking a Maintenance request from a tenant. Or, perhaps a request from an owner for the copy of the year end statement. Even if you have a good system to track the requests, it is unlikely you can respond and help your customers track their requests as easy as you can using Facebook or Twitter. Besides, most of your customers are already there – make it easy for them to contact you.
Consider this example.
Your tenant sends you a Facebook or Twitter message that their toilet is clogged. You see the message, reply that you are on top of it and send them a link to fill out the maintenance request form, while you figure out the vendor. Once the form is filled out, you assign the vendor and use Facebook or Twitter messaging to get the permission to enter, if needed, and schedule the appointment.
Once the repair is complete, you follow up, using the same Facebook message thread and ask your tenant if they are happy with the repair. If the answer is yes, send them a link to your Yelp page and kindly ask them to review their experience.
I see three clear advantages to accepting maintenance requests via Facebook and Twitter:
1. You saved time eliminating multiple phone calls, voice mails and call backs.
2. You are a hero to your tenant!
3. You have a good chance to get an authentic five star Yelp review.
What do you think?
Great write up Alex!
One of the key benefits not mentioned about taking maintenance request over Facebook is all of your owners and tenants that fan your page are watching you provide a great service to your tenants and owners and getting the job done faster with less hassle and that equals happy tenants as well as owners. As well as providing an open line of communication for your tenants even after hours.
That is win win!
Great point Robbie!
Although I would recommend starting a private message thread on Facebook and Twitter, once you receive the initial request. Then, bubble back up to the public post once you followed up and the repair was complete to everyone’s satisfaction.
Why would you say this is better than email?
Great question. First off, I’d like to say that email is a great tool, but it isn’t as good as Facebook private messaging when it comes to back and forth communication with your clients.
1. Real time – when you message someone on Facebook, chances are, they are either logged in to it or facebook is embedded in their mobile phone.
2. You see complete conversation stream for each person, just like you would in instant messenger (easier then email)
3. You make it easy for your Web Native clients. If they are already on Facebook, they wouldn’t have to search for your website, find your email address, email you and then wait.
4. Lets not forget the “coolness” factor. When was the last time you got excited about receiving an email?
5. Upon service completion, you can ask for a business review – your web native clients are the once with online influence.
I’d be happy to hear your thoughts, Katie.