Communication is an essential component of being an effective property manager. Not only will it enable you to build rapport with your residents, but that relationship will allow you to better understand issues, set expectations and resolve disputes. Unfortunately being a good communicator isn’t a skill that comes naturally to everyone. Whether you struggle in this area or could just use a little improvement to your existing skills, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Hit the ground running.
Don’t wait until your tenants have been living there a long time before making a move to get to know them a little better. Make your presence known. Ask them about their needs and how you might be able to help make their living situation even better. Showing them right out of the gate that you are attentive will go a long way.
Always remain polite and professional.
While it’s a good idea to become acquainted with your residents, it’s equally important that you’re careful not to cross any boundaries. Make yourself available, but always respect their privacy. Keep communications friendly but professional at all times. The last thing you want to do is blur the lines, especially since there’s a chance you may have to handle disputes at some point.
Offer multiple options.
Some people prefer face-to-face communications, while others like phone. Still others might like text or prefer email. Offering multiple different ways for your residents to get in touch with you will enable you to simultaneously keep everyone happy. Let people opt in for their preferred method and then meet them where they feel most comfortable.
When a tenant reaches out to you, regardless of whether you feel the reason is urgent or not, be timely in your response. You don’t have to be available 24/7, but don’t ignore emails, voicemails or text messages. And set expectations for turnaround time. For instance, let residents know that you will respond to their inquiries within 24 hours or less.
Be honest and transparent.
One of the keys to strong communication is trust, and the way to earn trust is to be honest and transparent with your residents. If you’re planning a change to your policies, don’t just tell them about the change, but also explain why. If you’re increasing rent, let them know the reasons behind your decision. If you can’t get to a minor repair right away, keep them in the loop.
Establish emergency protocols.
There will be occasional situations when your immediate attention is needed. For instance, a burst pipe or accidental lockout. To help these events go more smoothly and get them resolved more quickly, develop an emergency protocol in advance. This protocol should define what constitutes a legitimate emergency as well as explain the best way to let you know what’s happening.
Own your mistakes.
Nobody’s perfect, and people understand that. If you make a mistake – and you inevitably will – own up to it. Apologize if necessary. Take the appropriate steps to correct the situation and improve your practices for the future. Doing so will earn you respect from your residents and make you a better property manager in the long run.
Need more help with your tenant communication? INFO-Tracker property management software can streamline your communications, helping you keep your residents happy while minimizing the amount of time and effort needed on your part. To learn more, request an online demo today.