I recently heard a trainer use the phrase “property management is a series of predictable surprises”. True, isn’t it?
In property management, new business, leasing and life in general for that matter, we can often sense when things are going to go wrong, or can recognise the warning signs of issues you’ve seen before. Do you take the necessary steps to prepare or prevent the occurrence? Or do you simply hope it won’t get to that ‘dreaded point‘.
When there’s a fire at hand, we put it out and rush on to the next problem without taking the time out to look at our internal processes and what we can learn and put in place to ensure the same issue doesn’t keep recurring. Taking the time out to review what went wrong and how to avoid it happening again is essential for business success as it ensures we minimise errors and conflict, whilst staying as efficient and productive as possible, and importantly, that our service to our clients is constantly improving.
When I am coaching and consulting with clients across the country, part of my role is to help clients review their systems and look for the tell-tale signs of potential issues such as higher arrears, prolonged bond refunds, escalated complaints over lagging repairs, vacancy levels creeping up, loss of managements and more. So based on what I’ve learnt, what can you do within your business to ensure the same recurring issues don’t keep happening?
· Seek feedback – if you aren’t already surveying your clients, it is essential to ask them for both positive and negative feedback to work out how to improve what you do and avoid issues recurring.
· Review – create a review process where your procedures (and complaints) are reviewed periodically (can be a team effort). Remember what worked 10 years ago may not work today.
· Scenario planning and contingency training – from the above results decide what additional training can be provided to the team either internally or from a training provider to cover not just the hard skills but soft skills such as communication and conflict resolution.
As I’ve said before, always remember (as spoken by Catherine Devrye), the most “expensive words in business are, we’ve always done it that way”.