This article is very appropriate as we usher in spring 2013. Repairing and upgrading your property makes for happy customers. Plus, via the survey quoted in the article it also enhances your retention rate at renewal time. Please review and advise of your comments at your convenience.
Charley Staab, CIC
Spring has sprung… it’s maintenance season! After the winter thaw come the winds, the rain, the leaky pipes and roofs, the cracked paint, the weed surge, the potholes, need I say more? It’s a time when property maintenance becomes a frantic rush to stay ahead of the routine schedule, so you can also tackle the unplanned issues.
This is also a time that puts your retention rates at risk.
Here’s why: the quality of maintenance services tops residents’ lists of all factors that influence retention (SatisFacts Research 2011 survey). Yes, you’ve got to get the job done, but keeping your residents satisfied with your maintenance efforts doesn’t take perfection. It takes communication and coordination.
When it comes to maintenance issues, nobody likes to be surprised!
People become dissatisfied when their expectations are not met. Now this is good news for property managers. With timely communications and follow up, you have more control. You set the expectations.
Put a maintenance communication plan in place and get your staff onboard. Develop a communication plan with specific steps and stick to it. For example, when residents request service:
- Acknowledge requests as soon as you receive them.
- Let the residents know the next steps: who will perform the service, when it will be scheduled, what will happen.
- Confirm all appointments with residents.
- Follow up with residents after every service call.
- Continue to follow up until the maintenance is complete.
For general property maintenance:
- Let residents know what will be happening, who will perform the service, when it will take place and if alternative actions are needed (e.g. “…park in the north lot until repaving is finished on Tuesday”).
- Notify residents when the maintenance is complete.
Electronic communications—your website, email, texts and phones—will make this heightened level of communication easier. Check out a message notification service. It can save you and your staff loads of time and be convenient for your residents, too.
Let your residents know that you are addressing their maintenance issues and that it’s important that they are satisfied. It will pay off in the high-quality condition of your property… and it will pay off at renewal time, too.