As you may have read in the about me page I worked in facility operations and property management field for over a decade. While working at the real estate maintenance department for high-end hotels on Nantucket Island I learned that the most important aspect of the guest and resident experience is always focused around how friendly and warm is the front line staff. There should be no disconnect between a welcoming front desk team, hospitable restaurant staff or a busy maintenance department.
Here are the questions to ask:
- Does your maintenance staff greet your guest and residents?
- Does your property maintenance team always acknowledge residents when/if in passing in a warm and naturally friendly manner?
- Does the servicing staff take the time to learn and try to remember the names of your guests and residents?
- Does your maintenance staff cordially ask guests and residents if they are experiencing any environmental problems that might be affecting there daily living or even a short term stay?
- Is your maintenance staff empowered and encouraged by you to create a service request or, better yet, fix the problem on the spot if time allows?
Maintenance teams are important and effective marketers because, maintenance employees can offer a warm fuzzy home feeling (or the opposite) to residents and can make or break your asset’s performance. In some cases a friendly greet and meet from your maintenance management supervisor when showing around the building to your potential residents could add comfort and tip the scale towards a successful lease or sale. I say with pride that I remember many instances where I helped to “close” on a room or an apartment by simply taking time to say hello or answer a question from a potential resident during their tour. The property showing experience is never just about the “walls” – it’s always about people servicing the building.
Consider this hypothetical example. Let’s say your apartment property averages six service requests per unit each year. If we assume that the average apartment property has 200 units, a maintenance staff could potentially interact with residents at least 100 percent more than the leasing staff! With that amount of direct contact with residents, it’s no wonder there is an emphasis of the role apartment maintenance technicians play in your property’s brand.
Does your company periodically ask the maintenance technicians to put down the wrenches and screwdrivers to talk about another kind of customer service? Such as how to communicate with your customers, how to be personable and friendly with no exceptions, about being a little more proactive with the little extras and details that can sometimes get overlooked.
Maintenance technician’s proper engagement with your resident can fortify your company’s purpose. Would your technicians go above and beyond the call of duty, such as offering service on the fly or even giving a resident’s car a jump? I hope the answer is yes. If not, please call me.
What I also learned to be helpful is offering residents and guests to complete a brief survey after maintenance work has been completed, so your real estate portfolio maintenance team can better execute its mission and continue gaining trust. If somebody is not enjoying their living experience, there is an urgent need to do something to try to turn that around. For example, setting up survey notifications on a daily basis – when a resident completes the surveys and submits a mark that’s below four out of five stars on particular questions, you will get an automatic notification. Carefully review it and share an inserted comment with your appropriate teams and try to figure out how to make the experience turn around.
While customer satisfaction is very high, it is good to remember that none of your properties are immune to complaints. I simply view them as a chance to improve our service and build a stronger brand. I had to learn to take the position not be offended if somebody writes a complaint and see it as an opportunity. An opportunity to be your top secret property marketing weapon.
Eddie @ Commercial Handyman Services