In property management, just like in real estate sales, you need to focus on satisfying your customers.
This equates to happier customers, greater customer retention, a growing customer base, and a strong future for your business.
There are many touchpoints in the real estate cycle for tenants, far more so than for buyers and sellers in their real estate cycle.
Each of these touchpoints provides a platform for a real estate business to target their communications and send a positive message about the value of their services.
Additionally, tenants can be a real estate agency’s best source of new leads, whether it’s for property management or connecting with new buyers and sellers.
Here are some of the key stages of the tenant’s experience with a property manager during the rental cycle:
- Request Approved
- First contact after moving in
- After the first reported maintenance
- After the first routine inspection
- Quarterly Review Call
- Lease renewal discussion
- After renewal of the signed lease
These are all opportunities to be creative in your messaging, reinforce your values as a business, generate more online reviews and testimonials for your website, and more referrals for business development.
Property management is a people business. You have to take care of people if you are going to have a business. And people know other people, the future customers you need to thrive.
At our business, Property Management Virtual Assistant, we review business processes and systems as new clients join us, ensuring their offices are efficient and ready to grow.
And how many companies that join us are already maximizing the potential of these tenant touchpoints? Very little.
What we find is that most of our new customers use the generic communication model provided by their software.
For example, the program notifies the property manager if the tenant is late in paying their rent. He asks them if they want to send a reminder message. They select from the generic message template and click send.
It may be a box checked, but it’s also a missed opportunity.
This message needs to be tailored, not only to improve customer relationships, but also to establish your company’s values.
One of our corporate values at PMVA is: “We do what we say we will do”. If it’s also one of your workplace values – and of course it should be – we recommend incorporating it into your message.
Instead of a generic message that your rent is overdue, please pay now, the message could be: “In our business, we do what we promise to do, but we also need you to keep your part of the market”.
Another core value could be the guarantee of open and honest communication. Your message could say: “We value open and honest communication with our customers. It’s a tough conversation to have, but we have to have it. If you are having difficulty paying your rent on time, you should let us know in advance.”
You need to define your company’s values so that they are not a vague promise, but written down and clearly stated so that your customers understand these values and what is expected of them in return.
They need to know what they are signing up for and the level of service they will receive from you on this exchange.
At PMVA, we provide our clients with a plan for a more efficient office with better client relationships.
A simple step they can take is to personalize these messages for customers beyond the generic responses of the software they are using.
We see it all the time: once you’re more flexible and creative in your communications with customers, it brings more positive responses, improves customer satisfaction, and increases customer referrals.
You can customize your messaging to improve everyone’s experience in these milestones for your tenants and landlords too.
Messaging should be consistent throughout the cycle, whether in automated messages, over the phone, or face-to-face.
Regardless of contact method, everyone benefits from a more personalized experience. It also means you can make the most of all those touchpoints and your customers become a valuable resource providing contacts, leads, and referrals.
Don’t underestimate the power of a positive review. That’s how most people make their choices these days, whether it’s eating out, buying a car, or choosing a property manager.
Positive reviews establish an agent’s authority in your area. They let people know about the level of service you provide. If you’re a landlord looking for a property manager and they see 100 great reviews from tenants and rental landlords, where are you going to take your business?
Focusing on customer service is an easy thing to aspire to, but in reality, it’s hard to maintain without planning. The question from property managers is often, “How can I find the times of day to provide this level of service?”
It starts with planning. This is the model that can provide a seamless experience for your valuable customers while increasing leads to grow your business.