Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Sweeping Changes

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Sweeping Changes

Article excerpt

speak easy

The right attitude and proper training add up to great customer service

If customer service were listed on the stock exchange, it would have declared bankruptcy years ago. Why is it so hard to find really good customer service? The answer is twofold-attitude and training!

Real estate management is one of the only businesses where the office is closed when its customers are around -nights and weekends. Or, the office is open for a while on the weekends with the "second-string team." If most of your residents are around on the weekend, why isn't the first team working and why isn't there weekend maintenance service? Why don't we schedule one maintenance person to work Tuesday through Saturday, so weekend maintenance calls are possible without overtime?

Where is it written we can't make appointments to complete service requests? Who thought up this take it or leave it policy? Take a tip from Burger King(R) and let your residents have it "their way." If the customer wants to be there when the work is done or when a "stranger" is in their apartment, what is the problem? (In truth, the way many of us interact with our residents makes us strangers.)

And, while you're in the apartment, do the "extra stuff." Check the sinks and toilets for drips or leaks, replace burned out light bulbs and missing or torn screens, check and lubricate all the locks and leave a note indicating you did all that to ensure their comfort. Training your staff to go the extra mile will pay huge dividends.

We all agree the maintenance staff has the most contact with residents. Let's also acknowledge they get the least amount of customer service training and do something about it. There are plenty of resources including classroom training, Web and computer-based training, self-study courses and books about customer service. If you aren't training your front line people on delivering great customer service, your customers probably won't receive great customer service-and they need to. …

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