Last year at around this time, we created a blog called How to Lose an Owner in 9 Ways. One of the main points we spoke about was communication; in fact, lapses in communication was the #1 reason why owners complained about property management companies. The easy solution would be to hire more people that can dedicate time towards customer service – but that’s not always the case for business owners.
What if you can leverage technology to communicate with clients and flip frustration into a possible referral opportunity? For today’s blog, we answer the questions that we have received from property management owners and share what’s out there so you can deliver great experiences for your owners and tenants.
Q: How do you continue communicating with owners, even when there are no specific property needs?
A: During the course of your relationship with an owner, you won’t always need to be in touch about maintenance, invoices, tenant placement, and other activities. There’s not always work to be done, but you do want to show owners that there is value in what you provide to them. A good way to keep in touch with your clients is through monthly newsletters. This helps you update your clients on the current services you’re providing, educate them on what’s happening in the industry and what goes into property management.
Not only does this improve your company’s image in your owner’s eyes, but you can also use newsletters as a platform to generate referrals. Experienced investors might easily refer others to you, but your average landlord doesn’t know to do this. If it’s legal in your area, see if you can create an incentive system for owners to refer you to new business, possibly waiving the next month of management fees for the owner and the referral. A newsletter is a great way to encourage referrals in a non-invasive way.
Q: How can you communicate with a completed work order?
A: Following up on a completed maintenance request is crucial. It allows you to ensure the job was done right. Two opportunities for communication exist here. First, if something went wrong, you can fix it. On the other hand, if the work was done properly and quickly, you have the opportunity to gain a 5-star review on Yelp and/or Google. If you do nothing, you run the risk of receiving a negative review on the Internet or losing out on a potential positive review opportunity.
Now, taking the time to follow up on every work order is a beast in itself. But with online reviews meaning so much to your business, you can’t let these opportunities slip by. The easiest method for owners is investing in a reputation platform that can automate the process for you. If you don’t have a reputation platform in place, contact us for help. Automating the follow-up process is an outstanding way to communicate efficiently using technology.
Q: What’s an effective way to handle emergencies?
A. Being a property manager means that you have to be reliable. If someone calls for a “maintenance emergency” and they don’t hear back until the next day, trust will erode. Emergencies will happen and your owners or tenants may need to reach someone during the hours that you’re normally not working. We’ve seen many property managers achieve success with a 24-hour emergency hotline. You don’t necessarily have to be the person answering that call, but having someone available when your owners or tenants are in trouble will bring peace of mind during emergencies. That way their call is acknowledged and you don’t have to hold yourself accountable to answering those 2am emergencies. There are several reliable services you can use to ensure a line of communication is always open. AppFolio and Unicom are a couple options for 24/7 maintenance hotlines.
Q: What’s the best way to handle sales meetings with clients who are overseas or out of state?
A. Nothing beats having an onsite meeting with the owner at their property, but what do you do with an investor that is overseas? Most people handle those meetings via telephone calls, but with the technology that we have today, you can easily set up a video conference. Consider this: according to Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., a consultant for brands like Walmart and Disney, we’re psychologically hard-wired to respond to movement, faces, and body language; none of which a phone call is able to provide. If meeting a prospect at their property is not possible, try using Facetime, Skype, or Google Hangouts. This gives you the opportunity to have what feels like a face to face meeting. Communication improves and you can really establish trust with that owner who wants to hire you.
It’s the little things that count, and implementing items like video conferences, newsletters, automated follow-ups, and a 24/7 maintenance hotline will go a long way to improving communication with your clients. If you have any questions about this topic or anything pertaining to property management marketing, reach out to us at Fourandhalf, we’d be happy to help.