For those real estate investors who hire a professional property manager, do you know how well their customer service is? Just like any business, customer service is a critical component for success. Even though you farm out the property management of your real estate investments, you are still the owner and the tenants are still your customers.
Customer Service Fundamentals
There are fundamentals about customer service for landlords, real estate owners and property management companies. First, remember words are very important when it comes to customer service. Many times, interactions with tenants are not done face to face rather it is done via email, chat or even text. So words are even more important through these means. A poor choice of words may be forgiven if spoken face to face because your expressions can correct any mis-understanding. But words are seldom forgiven or taken the way they were intended through a non face to face method.
So choosing the right words will set the tone for the remaining conversation and ultimately the customer service experience.
Listen to your Tenants
First, Listen! Listen! Listen! Not just with your ears, but with your mind. This will help you to actually understand where the tenant is coming from. With that complete understanding, you will be in a better position to resolve the problem to their satisfaction. Misunderstanding the true problem will only lead to frustration with the tenant because your solutions will not make their situation any better. Some solutions are not easy. So don’t come up with a ‘easy’ solution and try to make it fit their problem. By understanding their problem, you can find the solution that directly addresses their problem and lead to a satisfied tenant.
Communicating with your Tenants
Next, when communicating with a tenant, make sure you acknowledge the problem they are having. Empathize with them with sincerity. This will set the tone for the remaining conversation.
If your property management company made a mistake, Own it! Admit it! Take full responsibility! And offer a sincere apology. Then move to finding a solution.
Now that you understand the tenants problem, be sure to use positive words while communicating. You don’t want to undo your efforts in listening and understanding their problem only to anger the tenant with poor choice of words. Samples of positive words would be:
- I will gladly help you with that…..
- Absolutely I understand your point…..
- Fantastic, let see what we can do for you….
What you Do Not want to do…..
- Don’t ignore their question
- Don’t give a fake answer
- Don’t make the situation about you by saying, “I’m new” or “I’ve not been asked that before”. That makes the tenant feel “strange” or “odd” because they are the only one with this problem.
Saying No with firmness and politeness
Sometimes you can’t solve a tenant’s problem. Sometimes you have to be firm and just say No. In those situations, be polite but firm. Don’t just give a negative response and end the conversation. Always try to provide an alternative solution. When you do this, you are basically telling the tenant that even though you can’t directly help them they way they want, you care enough to offer alternatives. While they may feel some level of disappointment, they will also see that you care. That will speak volumes after this encounter.
It’s always good to keep the golden rule in mind and treat others the way you want to be treated.
If your property management company can master customer service, you will be well ahead of your competition.
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