When a property management company is tasked with managing a large condominium or apartment building, there’s a lot that they need to stay on top of in order to a good job. Simple but avoidable missteps can cause easily cause a company to lose a property from their portfolio when a contract is up for renewal. Here are three critical steps to enhancing your company’s performance and improving client retention.
1. Be Responsive
Property managers need to be prepared for whatever comes their way at any hour of the day. While it may not be possible to always have someone available in an office to answer phones, people want to be able to get in touch with somebody when they need to. In all management property management companies, staff has to be accessible in the event of an emergency. Use an answering service so there’s always someone available to take residents’ calls and give them a contact chain so they can reach out to you if there’s a true emergency that requires immediate attention. Ideally, you should have at least three people available in a contract chain so that an answering service will always be able to connect with somebody who can help.
2. Make Appearances a Priority
Even when a property management company is doing a great job overall by helping sort out tough problems and helping owners save money, visibly poor physical conditions in any area of a property can cause residents to feel that they’re not being well taken care of. Ongoing cleaning and preventative maintenance have to be a high priority. While safety and functionality are of paramount importance in taking care of regular maintenance needs, aesthetics can be almost equally as important from a client’s perspective. Managers need to take an active role in inspecting the premises periodically for quality control and shouldn’t rely solely on the input of janitorial or maintenance personnel about what needs to be done. If something doesn’t look right but falls outside of the scope of your management company’s authorized use of funds, bring it to the attention of a decision maker such as a board member. If it’s not something that your staff can handle internally, be ready to prepare a bid analysis with competitive pricing. Ultimately, your clients will be grateful that you genuinely care about making sure that the premises are kept in great condition.
3. Don’t Let Clients Be Their Own Worst Enemy
Condominium association boards and also many apartment building owning corporations aren’t experienced in the ins and outs of property management. They may instruct you to do something that isn’t advisable, cost effective, or even legal. However, you can’t do whatever a client says just to make them happy. When an unadvisable course of conduct goes south, they’ll blame the management company. You have to let people know what’s problematic about a directive that you’re concerned about, and it’s advisable to document your concerns in writing. If someone insists on doing something that is a violation of their fiduciary duty as a board member or contrary to an association’s governing documents, you have to hold your ground. It’s not worth violating your fiduciary duty or risking your company’s licensure. Be prepared to offer thoughtful and reasonable alternatives and explain your position in detail. Your clients will appreciate that you have their best interests at heart.
Managing a large building is extremely challenging, and pleasing clients isn’t always easy. Responsiveness, attention to a property’s physical condition, and constructive guidance in important decision making will help promote client satisfaction and make your management contract more likely to be renewed continually.