It’s blazed across headlines all over the internet: customer service is the new marketing. It’s a great catch phrase, but is it really true?
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If you’ve been keeping up with the latest trends in property management, you know that the industry is getting personal. That means it’s more important than ever to build strong relationships and come up with out-of-the-box ideas for customer service that goes above and beyond. Think of it this way: finding new renters year after year is time-consuming and costly—on average, a vacant property loses $40 per day. Customer service builds loyalty and trust, which increases resident retention and fuels your entire referral engine.
As property management companies work to bring the resident back into focus, they’re relying on customer service to drive sales and grow the business. After all, customer service initiatives are often more affordable and effective than traditional marketing strategies. Even better, many growing businesses are finding that customer service helps them stay competitive with bigger management companies that struggle to scale quality customer service.
Responsive, personalized customer service is a key differentiator in a competitive industry. Here are three out of the box ideas for great customer service in property management.
#1: Mark Every Milestone
The most impactful customer service is personal and memorable. Your business is only as strong as the relationships that drive it, so take the time to show genuine interest in your residents and clients. Personal recognition is a powerful tool for deepening relationships and cultivating loyal customers. Acknowledging milestones like birthdays, anniversaries, and achievements shows that you care about them and the events in their lives. You can use technology to log important dates and set reminders for when it’s time to drop a resident a birthday card or send an owner an anniversary gift. Gifting is so important that AI-powered gifting companies like Alyce are gaining momentum and making it easier to scale thoughtful outreach. It’s the perfect balance of tech and the human touch: automate the reminder without sacrificing the sentiment.
Paying attention to important milestones also helps you anticipate your residents’ changing needs. When a long-term resident starts a family, check in and offer to help baby-proof the property. Everything from a graduation to adopting a puppy can trigger new challenges in the home experience, and strong relationships will help you create solutions before they become a problem.
#2: Text Your Customers
Are your communication methods outdated? Consumer communication preferences are trending away from phone calls and emails—two-thirds of consumers now prefer engaging with brands through messaging apps. The 2018 State of the Property Management Industry Report found the same to be true for how residents want to communicate with property managers. Fifty-five percent of renters preferred text message communication, and Millennials have come to expect it.
Face-to-face communication is great, but tech-enabled customer service is a competitive edge. Use proven technology, like a resident site, to enhance how you communicate with residents. Not only will it be easier for residents to reach you, it’ll also make managing showings and maintenance tasks more efficient—all of which frees up valuable time for your staff. Pro tip: look for property management software with a mobile app so that residents can reach you on-the-go.
#3: Be Transparent
We’ve all been there: a mini-disaster has struck one of your properties and you’re in crisis mode. When things get tough, our instinct is often to keep owners and residents as far from the problem as possible. But in reality, a lack of information almost always leads to rumors and guesses, all of which can cultivate distrust. When issues crop up (and they always do!), be upfront with owners and residents about what’s going on. Dealing with a landscaping misstep? Clearly communicate the problem to all those affected and let them know what you’re doing to solve it.
You can take transparency a step further by practicing financial transparency with employees. The practice of sharing company financials with employees gives them a sense of ownership over their daily work and how it impacts the company’s overall success. For residents, that means every employee they interact with is empowered to deliver great customer service and has a stake in how satisfied they are with the interaction. Financial transparency gives employees more responsibility and the knowledge they need to make informed decisions, all of which leads to happier customers.
Personalized, out-of-the-box customer service is key for businesses aiming to achieve sustainable growth. When you put people at the center of your business, the relationships you build along the way will help you build a business that lasts.
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