Blogger: Loretta Morgan, managing director, Jam Property
How you handle the management of crisis within your real estate business could be the difference between peace of mind for you and your team and ticking all the boxes to reduce risk, or disaster and chaos. Taking a proactive approach to your business, systems and communication can be the key to easy management in a crisis.
It is recommended that your agency has a documented procedure (management plan) for mitigating loss and reducing unnecessary chaos and confusion. There are several areas within a property management organisation that need to be addressed when preparing and executing a sound procedure for all crisis management.
Firstly, it is wise to have an emergency line that is always available 24 hours a day to handle any issues that require reporting outside of office hours. The emergency contact should have a handful of their contractors ready to go on call.
A recent example of how you can mitigate losses is when our region of south east Queensland had some severe storms and floods. After the events (at the first available opportunity) the proactive approach that we took was to contact all our tenants to confirm that they were okay and if there were any issues with their properties. All our owners were contacted via email and letter to confirm that we were contacting all tenants and that we would be in touch to let them know the outcome. This method was controlled and reduced the amount of calls and emails coming into our office, and was also a great way to encourage the tenants to think about their property and to report any items at all that may have affected their property.
It's really a great idea to think about having a management plan in place so that you and your team have peace of mind in a crisis situation.
Remember to make sure all means of communication are up to date. Regularly update your tenants' or clients' email addresses, phone numbers and other contact information. It is absolutely necessary to notify the cleaning service, security, reconstruction team and each and everyone at the property in the event of crisis.
Have a monitoring system as a pre-crisis action plan precisely presented to the team.
Train the members of the crisis team. Provide the right training with the right skills for the right position. You must be mindful on how to apply immediate response and rapid solutions the best you can.
A well-trained spokesperson can eliminate the chances of misunderstandings during the crisis, since it is a fact that not all good spokespeeople are capable of handling such events.
Evacuation plans for your office should include a practiced evacuation drill, managing aggressive customers, negotiation to obtain agreed solutions, insurance awareness and preparations for the unexpected, staff contacts' medical preferences and next of kin etc., OH&S, electrical/manuals/policy and procedures, first aid kits and officers, council information at hand, weather updates, government contacts, emergency services, CES. A register of all staff activities and where they are during any given time will reduce the risk and document policy for your agency.
Real estate crisis management is definitely a comprehensive subject and has many different layers to it. I suggest it is one of the most important documents in your organisation and one that can save you thousands of dollars and many man hours.
Do a post-crisis analysis. After the last phase, it’s always advised to analyse results from previous measures and activities. Aside from the sense of accomplishment your team may get, you will learn what to discard and what to maintain in your developed crisis management model.
This also guarantees you control the varying situations and also manage your property owners, properties and tenants with more ease, also setting you apart from your completion.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Loretta Morgan has over 17 years' experience in the property industry, ranging from managing residential real estate to major commercial and industrial portfolios for private and institutional investors.
Loretta was a finalist in the 2011 REIQ Awards for Excellence - Commercial Property Manager of the Year category and also a finalist in the 2013 REIQ Awards for Excellence - Residential Property Manager of the Year. This year, Loretta was a finalist in the Sunshine Coast Business Women's Network - Young Business Woman of the Year, regional finalist in the Australian Institute of Management Excellence Awards and finalist in the Sunshine Coast Business Awards.
Loretta is also a member of the REIQ, Young Industry Professionals Advisory Panel.