After a lease is signed, property maintenance teams often become the face of your management company. While your renters may call you to report a problem, it is your maintenance staff that knocks on the door to solve it.
Whether onsite personnel or a contracted vendor, your renters will view the maintenance team that shows up to fix their property problems as a reflection of your company.
Poor maintenance management is one of the biggest complaints from disgruntled renters. Not dealing with maintenance requests appropriately results in negative opinions about your company’s customer service. 76% of consumers say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. (2015 Aspect Consumer Experience Survey)
Arming your onsite staff with tools for managing maintenance requests and prioritizing customer service will result in happy renters and more lease renewals. As an added bonus, the more pleasant you make the repair request experience for you tenants, the more likely they will be to report issues in a timely manner.
Keep reading to find out how to leverage outstanding customer service from your maintenance team in order to create satisfied, long-term renters.
Respond to Requests Immediately
Have a system in place that allows your renters to easily submit workorders or maintenance requests. Once you receive a request, you need to provide an immediate response via email or text acknowledging receipt of the request. You do not need to solve the problem right away, but you should let them know you are managing it right away. Remember that the majority of your renters are probably millennials, and millennials expect instant response to their needs.
Provide a Status Update
Let your tenants know the status of their workorder request as you assign a team member to handle it. If the request requires a visit to the unit, let your tenant know when someone is scheduled to show up and who it will be. If the maintenance is done outside of the unit (like fixing a broken sprinkler or replacing an entryway light), let your tenant know that it was taken care of so they aren’t wondering if you forgot about them.
Treat an Emergency Like an Emergency
Give your tenants an emergency number in case they need your immediate attention to an issue. Prepare them will the knowledge of what classifies a true emergency and what should be considered a regular repair request.
You should also have a plan in place for managing emergencies at your rental property. Every landlord and property manager should have a list of approved vendors ready before they are needed. Researching and finding reliable workers is a lot easier when you are not faced with an emergency. Brainstorm all the possible types of problems and solutions you could potentially need as a rental property manager whether for emergency maintenance or a natural disaster. Your renters will be impressed with how you handle stressful situations during an emergency.
Introduce Your Maintenance Team
Let your renters know who your maintenance team is so you can build trust in your community. Consider sending a tenant newsletter or providing welcome paperwork that tells your renters who the onsite staff is and which company or vendors you use for plumbing, landscaping, etc. This will add to the level of security on your property because your renters can report anyone who seems suspicious or out of place.
Provide Advance Notice for Scheduled Maintenance
If you know that you perform seasonal maintenance every May, let your tenants know well in advance (beyond the 24hr requirement). If your renter needs to rearrange their schedule to be present for the maintenance (or if they want to deep clean before your team shows up), you will do them a favor by letting them know well in advance.
Help Your Tenants Solve Their Own Problems
Empower Your Tenants with the knowledge of how to take care of their properties. Give your renters information at the start of tenancy about best practices for the dishwasher (like don’t use liquid dish soap in a dishwasher!), HVAC system (change the filter every month), and garbage disposal (birdseed is not grindable!).
If your renter happens to call you with a silly question or maintenance request, offer friendly advice for a solution. Never be rude or belittle their inexperience. If a renter calls about a plumbing issue, that turns out to be only clogged toilet, consider leaving a plunger as a gift after your staff fixes the issue. A $5 plunger is well worth the time your team will save from repeat visits in the future.
Remember to Reward Your Maintenance Team
One of the most important things to remember is to reward your maintenance team for providing great service. As FastCompany reported, “employees are simply more productive and more efficient. They tend to work harder, contribute more, and call in sick less. They feel empowered, appreciated, and are more loyal.”
A happy team member will want to enhance the company’s reputation by providing great service to your renters. The better your front end staff treats your tenants by responding to request quickly, keeping them updated on the status, helping them solve problems and maintaining friendly relationships the more likely your tenants will want to stick around. Happy renters = long term renters!
In most (if not all) cases tenants are obliged to perform an end of tenancy cleaning when moving out. Taking care of the property while they reside in it is necessary anyways
Good point Jared! Educating your renters on constant care and end of tenancy cleaning are a very important part of long term maintenance of a rental property.