[fa icon="calendar"] 10.26.2016 / by Michelle Heatherly
Like most seasoned property managers, you have probably developed a way of communicating with your tenants over the years. However, you probably haven’t had the time to stop and think about how effective your communications are. There is a distinct difference between reaching your tenants and engaging with them.
So let’s take some time to think about how we reach our tenants and how they are reaching us. Consider the amount of time and effort spent to share information with each and every resident.
Afterall, just because we can send an email about emergencies or maintenance work doesn’t mean we are doing the best we can do.
Here are some of the more popular communication channels that property managers use for multi-family properties. If you aren’t using some of these, you might want to give them a try.
We have already seen a definite shift from phone calls to web forms when it comes to tenant requests. Your website should have a place where tenants can go to send emails, submit maintenance requests, pay rent and more. But first, make sure you cover a few bases:
- How quickly do you respond to emails and requests?
- Is your site mobile friendly?
In property management, we need to recognize that the window for acceptable response time is shrinking. We also need to realize that smartphone use is the preferred technology among younger generations and is growing in popularity among the older crowd as well.
We have also seen a big shift to Facebook and other social channels from residents. We live in a “right now” society where people expect to reach you whenever and however they want. Even though you might have a resident portal setup, you should also have a Facebook page where your tenants can message you at any time of the day.
This is a fairly new development. A few years ago, text messaging was reserved for personal conversations with friends and family. However, we are now seeing an increased amount of tenants communicating with us via text message.
Text messages also have close to a 100% open rate within the first three minutes of sending the message. This makes it a great tool for property management to communicate with tenants in case of an emergency or when sharing urgent/time sensitive information.
E-blasts are a tried and true method of reaching your tenants when you need to tell them about upcoming events, maintenance work, utility outages or other emergencies. Most email softwares can now track your emails and determine who is opening them or if they are being moved to the trash.
What Really Works?
You have to know your tenants in order to determine what communication channels really work. Some residents might not appreciate getting a text in the middle of the day while others might love it. It doesn’t hurt to try a few different things to see what sticks. Over time, analysis of the performance of various resident communication tools will help you make more informed data-driven decisions on how your residents want to hear from you.