In any business, customer service is going to be a huge part of your success. The people who pay for products and services will keep you in operation or put you out, so making them a top priority is key.
Many landlords don’t realize it, but customer service plays a substantial role in tenant retention. Turnover is a difficult cost for landlords to handle. When a tenant leaves a property vacant, it can lose several hundred or even thousands per month until the vacancy is filled.
A stronger focus on customer service could lead to greater tenant retention and fewer turnovers. Any landlord who’s serious about the business and profits should make some of the following customer service practices into standard practice.
1. Get Organized
A common tenant complaint is that the landlord is disorganized. The office is messy when renters show up, and documents are often misplaced.
“No tenant wants to find out that their landlord has misplaced their contract, or worse, their rent payment,” says an article from the property managers at Green Residential. “A good landlord is well organized, with documents on hand when a new tenant arrives. Then, those documents should be neatly filed away until they’re needed. This is the key to a hassle-free relationship.”
2. Speed Up Your Service
How long does it take you to respond to tenant emails, phone calls, and other requests? If the answer is more than 48 hours, your tenants are likely to be upset with your service.
The standard timeframe for responding to missed communications is 24 hours. Anything slower than that makes you look negligent.
Quick response times and service are critical, even if you can’t resolve the situation immediately. You might not know the answer to a question or there will be obstacles in the way of a solution, but you can still respond quickly, express your desire to resolve the problem, and start the search for the answer.
3. Be More Accommodating
Rules are essential for running a successful rental property, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for flexibility. On the contrary, being flexible is vital for making tenants feel valued.
If they have a situation that can be easily accommodated without breaking the rules and causing harm or discomfort to other tenants, it might be all right to allow it. Options are comforting to tenants.
4. Listen as Much as You Speak
“The art of listening, then restating the information back to the client is a skill set,” says Peter Jensen Kurki, a business owner and development guru. “Restating validates, diffuses tension, and begins the process to purchase, repair or conclude business.”
This is excellent advice for a successful rental property situation. Your ability to show you heard a tenant’s problem and display respect will boost your reputation. It also will give you greater insight into improvements that can be made around the complex, increase retention, and attract more high-quality renters.
5. Create an Online Community
Landlords often face a high influx of questions, concerns, and other communications from their tenants. Typically, there are plenty of complaints, as well, which can be overwhelming, to say the least.
Through an online community, you can resolve many of the communication issues and organize the outgoing information. Whether your community is a Facebook page or a blog, you can post complex updates, communicate about events, and send out general reminders.
You can also create a contact form that makes it easy for tenants to leave feedback and complaints so you can respond to their concerns.
6. Communicate Regularly
Outside of your online community, you’d be smart to establish a line of regular communication among all tenants. This might include a monthly email update, phone calls to resolve maintenance concerns, and thank-yous for valued tenancy. Through such communications, you have an opportunity to build stronger professional relationships with your tenants, which encourages them to stick around.
Customer service skills will significantly reduce problems in a rental community and encourage higher-quality tenants. This is key to high profits in this business; any landlord who wants to achieve high returns will practice these skills assiduously.