Let’s face it. Obtaining tenants can be expensive and time consuming. Consider the marketing expense, time to process applications, run background screening, verify information, the time it takes to ‘show’ your properties etc., the TAC (tenant acquisition cost) can be high. What’s worst is many property managers or landlords don’t even know what their TAC is.
So, with all the time, effort and cost in obtaining a tenant, how do you keep your tenants? Do you have a documented retention policy?
For sake of this BLOG, I’ve defined 2 groups of ideas (customer service and amenities) that retention policies fall into.
This group can both directly cause satisfaction or cause dissatisfaction. If a property manager’s customer service is done poorly, they will cause a tenant to be dissatisfied with that property management company. Suppose a tenant tries getting a hold of the property manager and it takes 2 or 3 days before the manager responds. This would cause dissatisfaction especially if it happens more than once.
On the other hand, if the property manager uses a web-based property management software that manages communications and your response is quick and timely, the tenant will have a satisfactory opinion when it comes to response time.
What about work orders? When a tenant submits a work order, does the property manager respond quickly? Do they complete the work order in a timely manner based on the nature of the issue?
Responses are broken down into multiple segments:
- Initial response, acknowledgment of request
- Progress of the request. (maybe one-time response or over a course of days before job is completed)
- Final resolution response
The manager or landlord may response quickly by letting the tenant know they received the request. However, if the manager then fails to follow up with the tenant on progress or final resolution, then the entire response is considered a failure and will lead to tenant dissatisfaction.
Customer service involves several areas:
- Communication (initial reply on a timely basis)
- Genuine caring for the tenants needs
- Listening to the tenant
- Responding to work orders (includes starting and finishing issues)
- Providing tenant with information or assistance in: (moving companies, utilities, mail forwarding, turning on of services, review of property etc.)
Does your customer service provide a competitive advantage over other property management companies?
A few years back, online payments for tenants was a service that wasn’t widely available. So, if the property owner or manager provided this service for tenants to pay online, that would have been an amenity that gave the manager or landlord an advantage over the competition. Today, most online property management software applications include this service. If the property manager doesn’t offer this service, tenants are more likely to be dissatisfied.
What about the ability for a tenant to submit a work request at their convenience? Having a way for a tenant to submit work orders electronically as well as uploading pictures of issues leads to a higher tenant satisfaction rate.
Other amenities include:
- Mobile apps for tenants (convenience)
- Community friendships (events, social gatherings etc.)
- Property maintenance (curb appeal, lakes, walking trails, biking)
- Play grounds, dog parks, car wash facilities
- Security (cameras, gates)
Friendships are important. If the property manager can help create and nature friendships in the community, tenants are more satisfied and are less likely to leave.
Amenities will vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and from types of properties. So, compare your amenities to others in your same category. What may be an amenity in a class C property would be a minimum requirement for a class A.
PropertyZar is a real estate technology company specifically in the web-based property management software for owners and professional property managers. Learn more www.PropertyZar.com