Many days we will feel like a broken record, repeating things that we need to explain to each tenant and landlord, with a growing frustration of saying the same thing over and over.
Our favourite phrases such as explaining where the two weeks rent are from when the tenant moved in, responding to similar rental enquiries, explaining to an owner the difference between wear and tear… I’m sure you could help me make the list even longer.
Each time we repeat ourselves we often act surprised and shocked at the nerve of the idiotic person on the other end of the line, however if they knew how many times we had repeated that same line and not done anything about it? They may be thinking the same thing about us.
I’m sure we have all heard from time to time that the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. So what is the solution to this recurring broken record syndrome? My advice is to educate, template and automate.
We do this job every day, the same process on multiple properties, we know how to move a tenant in and how to move one out. However, the tenant or landlord on the other end of our transaction does not deal with that same issue every day.
They cannot know exactly how the process will work, and even if they have been through it at one point previously, firstly they have not committed that process to memory and secondly they have not usually been through that process with your business.
Our job is to educate them so there is no confusion as to what has happened, and will happen next. When we book a flight online or order products online, we are educated at each step (throughout the purchase process), our actions confirmed (a confirmation email) and next steps outlined (perhaps in the same email or a follow up email afterwards).
So it would make sense that our consumer needs the same level of education in their property transaction.
How can you better educate your clients along the way?
Having templates ready will go a long way to supporting this process. We do not want to be writing out an explanation at each step of the way. What templates do you already have in your business? How can they be enhanced? What other templates could you create that would help your cause?
What about “Commonly asked Questions at the Vacate?”, “Wear and Tear factsheet”, “Tips about viewing properties with us”.
Having these ready to go so that you can easily attach, or copy and paste specific paragraphs into your emails, will drastically help in the time it takes to explain these things.
What else can you think of that could use having a template document or paragraph in place?
Now how can we streamline and speed up this process even further? What systems do you have in place to automate and support you in responding to and dealing with your clients?
There are some great tools right under your nose such “quick parts” in your outlook – used to easily create, store, and find reusable paragraphs of content. There are auto responders and rules that you can apply to many mail clients to control where your emails go and how they are responded to.
Even just using your ‘out of office’ to actually explain the answers to a few common queries when you are busy. And ensuring that there is an FAQ section on your website so that people can find the information they are looking for, or you can link them to this section when they have a question.
There are awesome tools outside of the business such as online booking systems for your rentals that respond to and manage all of your enquiry and other maintenance programs that automate the communication throughout that process.
If you are really looking to take things to the next level you could even consider virtual assistants or trialing out the new Facebook Messenger for Business to create an autobot that can respond to all common enquiries.
The sky is the limit, its just about how you look at the problem of the broken record and putting the steps and process in place to minimise the occurrence, so we can find something else more important to worry about.