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Honouring our Customer Commitments

We are now on the downward stretch to the end of the year and with this will come lots of festivities and excitement. Also looming is the new years resolution – the commitment for the year ahead! When we make a commitment, we do so with a clear mind on what the outcomes of that commitment will be – we are investing ourselves to the expected outcomes. 

We should consider this with all of our customer transactions and ensure that we are honouring our customer commitments.

  • Discuss and agree on Service Level Agreements – an example of this would be around communication, whether it be online communication, phone communication or email – an agreement  to manage the expectation on response from both parties should be discussed to avoid disappoint or frustrations. It is easy for simple queries to escalate if they are not managed within an agreed upon time frame.
  • Management of funds – Helping your landlords and tenants understand their financial commitments to each other and how you will assist in ensuring a smooth transition to honour your obligations as the agent will help to minimise any stress. Discussing options for payments by the tenant and also the options available for the landlord, how the disbursements are managed for maintenance and utilities and any flexibility you offer in disbursing the landlord funds will show you are engaged with the importance of this function.
  • Data driven decisions – no matter what decision we are making in todays world we look for data to help us, help us compare, help us assess and ultimately to help us decide. So being on the front foot and having data readily available to share to your customers through your marketing channels will help them feel reassured in their decisions. Regularly sharing success stories to your existing clients helps for them to feel secure and comfortable and will also give you great selling tools for attracting new business.

Most importantly, remembering that any decision to invest in a commitment is done so in good faith so the more you can put in place to ensure that you make this a positive experience and show that you have considered the clients needs, will build trust and minimise stress on the partnership.

If you take a small amount of time to find solutions and highlight how this sets you apart you will be confident in the service you can deliver.

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Why should a customer choose you?

Knowing your companies value proposition and being able to clearly articulate this at any time is invaluable to the growth of your portfolios.

A quick spot check around the office in the way of a tap on the shoulder of your peers to ask them “what is our point of difference” – could lead to some interesting discussions.

The importance of the answer to this question is the difference between positioning services or outcomes.  Your customers will connect faster and with emotion to outcomes that they can relate to.

Each existing or prospective landlord will connect with their finances being managed efficiently, meaning on time and clearly explained, they will connect with a reliable turn around on potential vacant properties, they will value a commitment to regular communication, they will appreciate clear instructions on how to self serve when required.

In turn tenants, will value a clear service level agreement to managing maintenance requests, they will also appreciate clear instructions on the best way to communicate or escalate any concerns, details around managing inspection times and that their rights as a tenant and an occupant in their home will be respected

If you are equipped with data, proof and clear scripting that relates to proven outcomes around these points you will be able to gain trust based on fact and proven delivery.

Standing out from the crowd is important today more than ever so commit to finding out your business value propositions so that anytime someone asks you are able to stand tall and promote your point of difference and why someone should choose to trust their property with you.

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Spring clean your mind!

The sun is shining, everyone is moving outside, curtains are drawn back each day with a new found air of anticipation of the possibilities the summer months will bring.

We already feel our mood lift and a slight spring in our step. Time to take stock of our ideas bank and ensure we are geared up for success. 

  1. How are we tracking on our new financial year goals?  One quarter into the year, time to take stock and decide whether our goals were realistic and if there are changes required in order to not be disappointed at our next check point.  Now the clouds have lifted what does it look like now we have three months of putting our commitments into practise. Build a document/spreadsheet with your goals and achievements so far so that you can be realistic about the future.
  2. Run a brainstorming session with your peers – other team members will often have the same challenges as you – look at the opportunities that you see to make a difference and share them amongst your team. Making time to hear each other often brings chance to improve to the surface. Be prepared to rework your ideas and build a team plan that you feel shows commitment to the business goals and you will be able to make an impact with a united proactive approach.
  3. Ensure your “house is in order” – schedule time in your diary on a Friday afternoon so that you “spring” into the new week with a clean slate. Emails – Do, Delegate or Delete, week planned ahead, reports run and reviewed ready for management check.  A repeatable routine will help you feel happier at the start and end of each week.

Relationships are the most important part of your role, challenge yourself to think of new fresh ideas on how to engage and connect with your tenants and landlords perhaps calling them with a spring offering, a competition to encourage referrals, an property investor sundowner or a pop up event – whatever you decide on utilise the change of season and take advantage of the positive energy.

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Adapting to a strong rental market

I spent time in the industry this week where I had the opportunity to view data that validated the increase in demand for rental properties and confirmed that renting is definitely the more affordable option for most.

I thought then about how we adapt service levels to the reality of a strong rental market, increase in applications, landlord demands on expected rents, management of data, regular contact points for prospective tenants, nurturing of relationships for future opportunities. Perhaps this is the time to ensure we have thought about the opportunities that this market presents for the future.

Here are some tips…

Managing applications

Open home is set and the turn out is encouraging, plenty of groups through the property – what are the next steps. Thinking about the customer experience and how you manage this process could create a path for future business and also help to create a short list to find the best tenant application and minimise problems for the future. Capture the prospects information as they either register for the open prior or at the time they enter the property, engage and connect so that you can get a feel for character and be clear about the next steps for application.  Online applications will be easier to capture and manage so looking at implementing a smart system is key. 

Management of data

Once the applications are reviewed and a tenant has been selected what happens to the other applications. Do you manage and enter the data into a CRM for future use and marketing purposes both for rent and sale opportunity? Contacts are willingly providing you with all their information and each one is a golden ticket to business – think about how you could leverage this data and create meaningful relationships into the future. 

Regular contact points

This first experience is the one that will remain in the memory bank – thinking about how you deliver news of successful or rejected applications and perhaps even redirect the enquiry to a more suitable option could turn into a winning situation for both. Take a moment before moving on to the next task, make time to brain storm possible next steps with the team.

The key is to take advantage of information shared, to think outside the box – consider customer experience, consider opportunity and consider the value of the data you have.

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Make the Most of Your Technology

Every year, often close to end of financial year the business will take stock and analyse the business spend, looking at every subscription, every invoice and confirming that there is return on investment for the outlay. 

Technology often comes under the microscope as we try and justify the outgoing dollar and also seek to understand the relevance and benefit of the initial implementation. 

In my experience, in most cases offices are only using  30 -40% of the functionality available, although paying 100% of the fee to the supplier.  How many times have we heard “oh we have that system, we don’t use it very well though” or “we would love to do that – just need to update our data”. 

There are a few steps listed below on how to review and plan to make the most from your technology. 

1. Survey

Send a quick survey around the business asking your team to list all the applications, hardware and software that they use or have installed on their laptops, phones or tablets and the main function. Also, ask for a quick rating on the percentage of functionality used and a relevance rating to helping the individual achieve their targets.

2. Understand Why

Why was the hardware/software purchased originally and who was the decision maker. You may find that no one is really sure of the benefit or the driver of the tech may no  longer work in the business. There may also be benefits that you were completely unaware of or an opportunity to streamline that hadn’t yet been made obvious.

3. Allocate a champion

From the survey results look at the person most invested in the tech and appoint them as an application champion – their task now is to investigate the purpose, the opportunity and gauge the current use, it is important to provide the opportunity for them to present to the team so that collectively they can make a decision on whether to invest or make the project redundant.

4. Project proceed!

If the decision is to proceed the “champion” can now delve deeper into the business benefits teaming up with the supplier to develop a renewed implementation roll out and training plan.  Short sharp ongoing training sessions which will engage the team and allow them to learn and implement and see ongoing benefit.

This purpose of technology is to enhance your internal processes providing seamless workflow and time saving opportunities – however the technology is only as good as the driver and needs to be embraced, nurtured and constantly reviewed. 

Empower a tech champion for each application and encourage them to stay close to the provider updates to ensure you are receiving value for money.

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