Managing an apartment property investment isn’t easy, and keeping tenants happy means landlords can keep vacancy rates low and cash flowing in. It’s not hard to understand why customer service should be front and center for owners, which is why the smartest investors recognize this scope of work and choose to turn to property management experts to help with the job.
However, not all teams are created equal. When interviewing property management partners, you need to ask questions that help you gauge their commitment to customer service. You’ll also need to recognize the processes they create and implement to support this commitment. Taking this step means that your tenants will remain happy and your units will remain full.
Consider these factors:
- How is their communication style? Are they kind and empathetic towards tenants? This goes a long way, especially during stressful tenant-manager interactions like maintenance calls or even evictions.
- On that note, they also need to have patience. Property managers have several fires to put out at one time, and it’s key for them to remain professional with tenants and vendors despite any pressure they may be feeling.
- Working quickly to solve tenant and property issues means making decisions in real-time and requires out-of-the-box thinking. Ensure that the property management team you choose is accountable and autonomous.
Once you’ve secured a property management team, set expectations early on and outline some key processes and best practices that provide optimized customer service.
- Create an iron-clad contract: Clear and concise rental contracts leave very little room for misinterpretation or miscommunication between tenants and property managers. Take the time to make sure tenants fully understand the terms before signing.
- Figure out feedback: Set up a process for tenants to submit feedback and keep an open door policy when it comes to both suggestions and complaints. Monitor and respond to those issues ASAP to prevent small issues from becoming customer service problems.
- Streamline maintenance: Whether the maintenance is routine or there’s an emergency repair to make, tenants should be able to submit requests easily and know that they’ll be addressed in an appropriate time frame.
- Offer availability: While it’s never fun to tackle a property maintenance challenge off-hours, it’s a huge customer service bonus to have live help for tenants available no matter what time it may be. Tenants should know that there’s a human being ready to help at any time.
- Respond reasonably: If there is communication that doesn’t require immediate attention, make sure to respond within 24 hours. Creating this standard practice is an excellent customer service measure, but it also builds trust between tenants and property managers.
- Follow up: Take the time to check up on tenants after maintenance or repairs. Ask them if there was anything the property management team could have done differently, or if the tenants want to share a positive review on Google or the property’s website.
- Interact regularly: Don’t just limit interaction with tenants to maintenance calls and lease signings. Find other ways to build a community with regular communication, monthly events, or even become active on any online neighborhood forums.
- Maintain professionalism: No matter what your property management team does, they need to do it with the utmost professionalism. Quick and accurate responses to tenants establish high expectations and let them know you care as their landlord.
After these processes and best practices in place, your property management team should constantly be looking for ways to improve. Tenant satisfaction and retention are directly related, and customer service should be proactive and ongoing. If your current property management team doesn’t tick off these boxes, it’s time to get in touch with us.
We operate our communities ourselves and occasionally sell them to interested parties who share our commitment to maintaining them at the highest level possible. Our objective is to invest, transform in impactful ways, and create long-lasting communities that are truly unique. Our staff, whether onsite in leasing offices and property maintenance, or in our corporate headquarters, are dedicated to this mission. Whether you are a prospective resident interested in leasing an apartment in one of our communities, or a multifamily owner or investor in the market to buy or sell an asset, get in touch.