Property managers have been warned that ditching phone calls for emails can tarnish relationships with clients due to misconstrued meaning or tone.
A tenant recently disclosed a situation to Residential Property Manager where their property manager failed to answer their question correctly over email, leaving the tenant stunned and confused.
Property Management HQ director Kelley-Ann Seaton said tenants or landlords will read an email how they want to read it.
“So automatically if they are thinking ‘This person is in a negative frame of mind’, they are going to read it negatively,” she told Residential Property Manager.
“The [emailer] might not be saying it that way – they might just be going point to point because they need it documented in writing.
“But you can certainly take it the wrong way and that is what is going to escalate the problem,” she added.
Mrs Seaton said she believes there is clarity in hearing someone’s voice over the phone.
“You can tell straightaway if they are annoyed, or happy, or if they are being harsh,” she said.
“I do think in emails you can be portrayed in the wrong light.
“I think it is best to have the conversation first over the phone – always have the conversation personally with them – and then back it up with a confirmation email so you have it in writing,” she added.
Mrs Seaton said some emails can be like a “rocket missile” if you haven’t had a phone conversation first.
“I just think if you get this email blasted at you from your property manager you are going to go ‘Wow’, and then you are going to be reluctant to resolve whatever the email is about or help with it because you have just been shot down in flames,” she said.
“I haven’t really come across this issue myself, which is probably because we have communication guidelines in place that we have to stick to.
“If you have that little procedure list in place then you are not leaving a big window of opportunity for an email to be misunderstood or misinterpreted,” she added.
Real Plus business manager Hermione Gardiner said there are varying levels of intimacy in today’s communication.
“We know email does not rate as high as face-to-face or phone contact and often meaning, tone and emotion can be easily lost or misunderstood,” she told Residential Property Manager.
“For many Gen Ys, myself included, we often rely on and hide behind email as a preferred method of communication – however from research we have done we also know this is a preferred method of communication for our busy clients so email is required.
“However we need to identify when it’s essential to pick up the phone, and more often than not we will surprise ourselves at how easily things can be resolved with a quick phone call.
“My rule is that as soon as there is any hint of discontent or dissatisfaction, pick up the phone.
“Or, if a situation is not resolved within three emails – sent or received – you must pick up the phone and stop playing email ping-pong!” she added.
Also speaking to Residential Property Manager, BDM Coach Deniz Yusuf said you get the best results if you just pick the phone up and speak to your clients.
“Irrespective of whatever the situation is, picking up the phone is going to get stuff sorted and done quicker,” he said.
“The email is actually not the essence of the relationship – it is either a follow-up, a back-up or a confirmation of something.”