While going through the Rentec Direct Blog archives I stumbled upon a gem of a message written by the Rentec Direct’s President, Nathan Miller, examining the importance of treating your tenant as a valued customer. With years of customer service and public relations under my belt, the idea resonated deeply with me.
“What is the #1 gripe from tenants these days we’re hearing? ‘We are not treated with respect‘. Property managers often forget that their customer is the tenant.[…] Make your customer love you and they will not go somewhere else.” -From ‘3 Critical Reasons Contributing to High Rental Vacancies’, Nathan Miller.
Whether you manage a couple single-family homes or multi-unit properties, running a successful property management business is a full-time job. With all that goes into the day-to-day in property management, a tenant’s value in the rental equation can sometimes get overlooked. As Tom Bailey of Crystal Coast Realty & Home Service commented on my blog article about Tenant Welcome Packages, “more often than not I see property managers who act like they are doing tenants a favor to rent to them.”
Although tenants might not qualify for the “customer is always right” idiom of the foodservice and retail industry, your tenant does deserve to be treated with respect. Building this positive relationship starts with the first conversation and continues into the rental process and through tenancy. A positive relationship with your tenant, in truth, should never end as they can always provide an outstanding word of mouth recommendation for future tenants who are considering renting from you, even after they vacate your property.
There are few easy Customer Service Skills you can practice to build better tenant relations:
- Listen. Active listening is one of the most important skills in customer service. Understand your tenants’ comments and concerns to provide valuable feedback and solutions.
- Responsiveness. Fast service is valued in every industry today. Even if you cannot provide a solution or answer immediately, you should always acknowledge your tenant’s needs as soon as possible. If it’s a simple question or a maintenance request, your tenant will appreciate being kept in the loop about the status of their concern.
- Accommodate. Provide solutions to your tenants’ needs. It’s easy to get frustrated about late payments and damage to a property that could have been avoided through preventive maintenance. Give tenants an opportunity to be good renters by providing convenient bill pay options and ways to submit work orders by using an online application like a Tenant Portal.
Taking a moment to remember that your tenants are as much your customers and your owners will set the groundwork for building and maintaining a positive relationship. A positive tenant relationship will lead to long-term tenants and fewer vacancies. You can find these and more great customer service skills from Zach Culter in his post, “6 Ways to Make Your Customer Service Better” for Enterpreneur.com.
What customer service values have you implemented in your business to establish positive tenant relationships?