Often property managers feel like broken records, repeating explanations to each tenant and landlord, with the growing frustration of saying the same thing over and over.
Property managers’ ‘favourite’ phrases include explaining where the two weeks rent are from when the tenant moved in, responding to similar rental enquiries and explaining wear and tear to an owner… I’m sure you could help me make the list even longer.
When we repeat these statements, we often act surprised and shocked at the nerve of the person on the other end of the line. However, if they knew how many times we had repeated that same line and not done anything about it, they may think the same thing about us.
I’m sure we have all heard from time to time that the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So what is the solution to this recurring broken record syndrome? My advice is to educate, template and automate:
We do ourjob every day – the same process on multiple properties. We know how to move a tenant in and how to move one out. However, the tenant or landlord on the other end of our transaction does not deal with this same issue every day. They cannot know exactly how the process will work, and even if they have been through it at one point previously, they usually have not committed the process to memory and have not been through it with your business.
Our job is to educate them so there is no confusion as to what has happened and what will happen next. When we book a flight or order products online, we are educated at each step of the purchase process, our actions are confirmed (a confirmation email) and next steps are outlined (perhaps in the same email or a follow-up email). So it makes sense that our consumers need the same level of education in their property transactions.
How can you better educate your clients along the way?
Having templates ready will go a long way to supporting this process. We do not want to be writing out an explanation at each step of the way. What templates do you already have in your business? How can they be enhanced? What other templates could you create that would help your cause?
What about ‘Commonly asked questions at the vacate?’, ‘Wear and tear fact sheet’ or ‘Tips about viewing properties with us’? Having these ready to go so that you can easily attach or copy-and-paste specific paragraphs into your emails will drastically reduce the time it takes to explain these things.
What else can you think of that could benefit from having a template document or paragraph in place?
Now, how can we streamline this process even further? What systems do you have in place to support you in responding to and dealing with your clients?
There are some great tools right under your nose, such as ‘quick parts’ in Outlook – used to easily create, store, and find reusable paragraphs of content. There are auto-responders and rules that you can apply to many email clients to control where your emails go and how they are responded to. Even just using your ‘out of office’ email to explain the answers to a few common queries when you are busy can help. So can ensuring that there is an FAQ section on your website so that people can find the information they are looking for, or you can link them to this section when they have a question.
There are also awesome tools outside of your business, such as online booking systems for your rentals that respond to and manage all of your inquiries and other maintenance programs that automate the communication throughout this process. If you are really looking to take things to the next level, you could even consider virtual assistants or trying out the new Facebook Messenger for Business to create a bot that can respond to all common inquiries.
The sky is the limit – it’s just about how you look at the problem of the broken record and put the processes in place to minimise it, so you can worry about more important things.