For all the new tools available to property managers, the industry is long overdue for a communication upgrade. Just ask your tenants. Only 38% (barely 1 in 3) believe that property managers communicate effectively with them.
Tenants want to work with property managers who invest in the tenant experience, and 70% of property managers believe that a service-oriented culture could have a positive impact on their business. One of the best ways property managers can engage new and prospective tenants is by using centralized communication tools that form better relationships.
Let’s start with the key benefit of using a central communication solution: it’s seamless! With no official real estate communication channel, tenants are free to contact you via phone, email, text, or a direct message on social media. This lack of centralized communication makes it hard track your conversation history, and easy to drop the ball on when something important happens.
Here’s a maintenance example that happens all day, every day via text message.
Tenant: “Did you get my text about the broken water heater?”
Manager: “I did, but remember that maintenance requests must be submitted by email.”
Tenant: “Okay, just sent one via email.”
Manager: “Thanks. The repairman will call to set up a time to fix it.”
Tenant: “It’s been 2 days already..”
2 people, 3 channels (text, email, phone), and still no repairman or fixed water heater. Not to mention the cold showers!
Just think of all of your time lost in this basic interaction and your tenant’s frustration waiting around to schedule a repair. It’s no wonder property manager’s number one concern is to become more efficient when trying to get multiple moving parts and parties to work together.
There are many more examples of inefficient collaboration between tenants, property staff, and the dozens of vendors that work hard to make your properties home for your tenants. Imagine the benefits of keeping track of all communication in one place so leads, tenants and managers are always on the same page.
Seamless communication proves its value again and again with property managers and tenants. Here are 5 key points across the tenant journey where better communication can help you get and keep great tenants.
Showing available units is full of opportunities to provide a better experience for potential tenants, especially considering all the ways managers and tenants can connect online or through video.
Start by offering a real-time connection to your team through online live chat, request call back, or appointment booking features. Imagine a valuable lead is browsing your online listing and wants more info, but in order to ask a question or schedule a visit they have to fill out a form and wait for a reply. This process is both a hassle and misses the opportunity to connect with them live. Tenants expect fast reply times to their inquiries, and will do business with companies that offer this level of experience during their first impression.
Ready to show off a new listing to a renter? Don’t schedule every meeting face-to-face. Scheduling a visit requires a lot of organization and travel. Instead, use live or recorded video to show places more efficiently.
Give a virtual tour using live video so your agents can show off the place and answer any questions in real time. Or, share recorded video links any time so leads can see multiple properties without having to run around town with your managers.
Video appointments reduce no-shows and allow managers to show the place to more prospects, more efficiently.
Renting requires a lot of paperwork for review and signing, but the old habit of sending information via email is still the most common way of doing things.
Instead, share and store important lease docs in one place to simplify the paper trail. Need to review a specific item in the lease? Share your screen during a call and review documents in real time. While you’re at it, don’t forget to add your helpful moving checklist and your list of preferred local vendors to make the tenant experience even better before moving day.
Managers will be able to operate far more efficiently, and tenants will appreciate that you are trying to make the experience smoother for them.
All that great info, and we’re barely halfway there. Starting to see the benefits already? Even before move-in day, your seamless communication is already making your manager’s days more productive and your tenants much happier they chose you.
Let’s continue with a few common events that come up with your existing tenants.
Maintenance and Service
Maintenance is a burden. It can be complex and time consuming to organize, and is generally inconvenient to tenants who are are increasingly interested in reporting issues and scheduling maintenance fixes from their mobile devices. In fact, 64% said they would prefer this and that number is rising. Give your tenants easier service request options, a scheduling calendar, and messaging all in one place.
Remember that example at the beginning? The one with 3 communication channels and no water heater yet? You can offer everything in 1 channel. Tenants can submit service requests, upload a photo, add notes, schedule the appointment, confirm with your team, chat with the technicians and more.
This time saving efficiency is a massive improvement for both time management and everyone involved, especially your renters and staff. It also removes any ambiguity regarding: “Was the maintenance completed? Is the tenant satisfied”?
Notices and Announcements
It’s a rare occurrence that you need to send a notice in-person, but it’s more common that you need to send a bulk message to a specific group of tenants for something important. These types of notifications should be easy to manage and send for your team, and easy for your tenants to read and respond to if necessary.
Pool closed for repair? Seeking feedback on the fitness center improvements?
Send a message to only those impacted by the work with a simple, but powerful email and text notification system. Build surveys right in to your messages so tenants can easily give valuable feedback, too.
It’s time to know if they’re sticking around, or moving on to greener pastures. Unfortunately for tenants, this potentially stressful time is usually impersonal, involves a rent increase, and at-best is handled by the robot in your accounting system.
Next time, make it easier on everyone with a friendly message that allows for open communication between your managers and tenants. You’re more likely to get the feedback you need and confirm the valuable lease renewal.
“Hey Chris! Your renewal is coming up in 45 days and just wanted to see how everything was going. Do you have any questions I could answer? Thanks for being a resident with us at Pinewood Properties, we look forward to another year with you.”
We could go on and on, but you may already get the point. To see a little more about how we think of communication here at TABLE, here’s a quick video for property managers looking to make the experience for tenants even better, and grow their business through improvements in efficiency and choosing time-saving technology.