Once somebody phones a property manager with a problem or enquiry, it may already be too late to keep them happy.
LJ Hooker network performance manager Amy Sanderson said the key to managing tenants and landlords is to be proactive with communication rather than reactive.
“The first thing you need to do is make sure you have a communication-style business,” she told the PPM National Property Managers Conference.
“We talk about efficiencies because a lot of our time is taken up by people who are whinging about things that probably don’t need to be whinged about. If we were talking to them more frequently, we probably wouldn’t be in that position because we would have managed that.”
Ms Sanderson said keeping ahead with communication also needs to go hand-in-hand with keeping on top of problems.
“There are certain things we know that if we don’t do them, someone is going to be on the phone and want to know where it stands,” she said.
“When I did this activity with my team most of the contact their tenants and owners were having with them were items that we could have got to first, we just didn’t have the systems and processes in place to do it.”
Ms Sanderson said focusing on systems allowed her business to offer clients three months' free property management if a call wasn’t returned within four hours.
The reason the business could make this promise was because it had focused on why people were contacting them, and what could be done to prevent those communications, Ms Sanderson said.
“For example, if we had maintenance jobs that were outstanding then we would contact the tradies, find out what’s happening and then let the tenant know the ETA, so the tenant doesn’t have an opportunity to ring us,” she said.
“That allowed us to reduce the number of phone calls and emails coming to us because we were able to get in front of the issues before they became issues.”
[Related: PMs should 'go ugly early' with landlords]