When tenants are well-informed and feel as though they can openly discuss their needs and concerns, they are far more likely to renew their leases. Having a good communication policy can also help property managers gain a better handle on things like maintenance or repairs. Whether you’re new to the business or could simply use a little guidance in this area, here are 5 simple ways to improve tenant communication.
Establish a Framework
The first step in making tenant communication a win is determining how and when that communication should occur. Aside from one-off announcements and emergency situations, how frequently should you touch base with your tenants? Weekly? Monthly? Also, what’s the best way for you to reach them, as well as for them to get in touch with you? One great tool to have in your arsenal is a tenant portal where everyone can log in and access information and send messages in one convenient, secure place.
Another key tenet of good communication is that both parties involved have a clear understanding of what’s expected of each. Tenants should know right from the get-go how and when to contact you, and you should make it clear what they should expect in return – particularly in terms of response time. Be as specific as possible and make sure this information is not only explained at the time of lease signing, but also made readily available and easily accessible thereafter.
Determine the ‘Who’
As you build out your communication strategy, it’s also important to know exactly who you should be communicating with. Will it be solely the person who signed the lease? What if someone else is paying the rent? Also, who will be responsible for submitting maintenance requests and reporting problems? In residential properties, this may be straightforward, but with commercial rentals, there may be a list of different contacts. Hammering this all out right from the start can prevent issues down the road.
Not everyone feels comfortable using the same communication channels. Some people still like to speak over the phone while others – especially from younger generations – prefer digital channels, like text, email or social media. To ensure maximum satisfaction amongst all of your tenants, give them the option to choose which method they like best. Also, for outgoing communications, such as general announcements, consider using multiple different channels so that you’ll be able to reach everyone.
Listen Before Talking
Last, but not least, if you want to develop positive relationships with your tenants, follow the one of basics of good communication: listening more than you speak. Make yourself available, be responsive and always make a point to practice active listening. That is, always allow your tenants the opportunity to fully express themselves before responding. Sometimes even just letting someone vent their frustrations can be enough to diffuse the situation and prevent conflict.
When it comes to keeping good tenants happy and engaged, excellent communication is a must. By implementing the five simple tips above, you’ll be able to develop a structured communication policy that will help you improve tenant experience and solidify your bottom line at the same time.