The property game has seen grand technological advancements in the past five years, but the jury is out on whether email has had a positive effect on property managers' workloads and communication skills.
Domain Property Advocates director Melanie Dennis said the impact of technology over the last five years have been massive.
“Routine inspections and condition reports completed on a smartphone or tablet have made an amazing difference in the turnaround time of producing these documents,” she told Residential Property Manager.
“Before, we would handwrite the report and take photos with a camera, come back to the office and type up the report, manually download the photos and adjust to add to the report. Now, we are entering in pre-registered fields, where appropriate, and taking photos within the app, so it is all automatically done.
“[However] emails? I am not 100 per cent satisfied that they do make our job easier,” she added.
Mrs Dennis said while it is beneficial to have a trail of evidence to follow, the ease of sending emails makes PMs' jobs a lot busier, and a lot less friendly.
“My advice is to pick up the phone more than starting an email – follow up a conversation in an email, if needed for evidence, but otherwise keep notes in your software program, and keep it friendly,” she advises.
“Tones are read into emails that can turn a relationship sour without any intention for this to happen – this cannot happen in a phone conversation, unless it is intended.”
Ireviloution managing director Jo-Anne Oliveri said she thinks emails have been a “game-changer” in the industry, and simply need to be managed more efficiently.
“Even though emails have been around for many years now, my feelings are that they are not being used efficiently or effectively,” she told Residential Property Manager.
“Most property managers complain they are bogged down and overloaded with emails. Yet the feeling of being bogged down is largely due to the fact that emails are not managed well and are sometimes handled numerous times before being responded to.”
Ms Oliveri said emails create communication gaps because they are, in most instances, generated from a separate program to the property management software being used.
“So, property managers store these emails in files they create within their email program and if the property manager leaves the company, then all too often the emails are deleted when that email account is closed,” she said.
“Emails have also become an excuse for communication with clients to avoid verbal communication. The best way to communicate is to call the client to discuss the relevant topic, then email to confirm actions, whilst at the same time making notes of the communication within the PM software.”