The Power & Importance of Likeability

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

People do business with people they like

It seems obvious doesn’t it? Don’t you automatically gravitate towards people who you like? Don’t you just find yourself attracted to people that you perceive to be friendly and nice?

Think about it…if you walked into a store and one associate smiled while the other had a snarky smirk, who would you ask for help?

So I ask you…why do so many apartment communities still insist on hiring people who aren’t all that likeable? I bet right now you have an image of someone in your mind who you worked with, or worked for or managed that just decided s/he didn’t need to be nice to anyone-except maybe for the cute residents in the community.

Less Than Half

According to an Apartments.com white paper (Preferences of Today’s Renter) less than half of prospects who visited a community left with a favorable impression. Is it just me or is that just unacceptable? Why do we tolerate this?

A couple of weeks ago I walked into a client’s community to begin a video project. I went up (wasn’t greeted) to the leasing consultant, introduced myself and let her know the reason I was in the community. She did not introduce herself and just gave me the vibe that she wasn’t all that interested in helping me. There was really nothing about her that gave off the impression of warmth or friendliness.

Later in the day we had to film in the office, so we were around this leasing consultant quite a bit for about a half-hour. I don’t remember her smiling at all, incidentally. Once when I tried to make conversation with her, she pretty much ignored what I had to say. In fairness, I will say that she wasn’t overtly rude to clients or residents. She just wasn’t friendly, and I couldn’t wait to get out of the office and the negative vibe around that associate.

That’s What Friends Are For

The following week I was working in another community managed by the same company and what a difference! The assistant manager called me the day before to offer her help. When we arrived both the assistant and the leasing consultant were friendly, welcoming, engaging and went out of their way to help. They were also a lot of fun to be around!

I noticed that residents and clients seemed to genuinely enjoy being around them as well. (As a former community manager I always eavesdrop on what the onsite teams are doing and saying!) There was such a different feel and vibe to this office as compared to the other one; and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a prospect visiting both communities would feel the difference too. According to the Apartments.com white paper I quoted from earlier, only 47% of prospects rated their overall experience as excellent or very good. I know we can do better…and it starts with better people.

The next time you have to bring on a new associate, or if you’re currently evaluating whether to retain an associate remember these things:

  • You can train sales skills.
  • You can train closing techniques.
  • You can train how to answer the phone in the most effective way.
  • You can’t train “nice.”
  • You can’t train “friendly.”

Multifamily housing is such a people-driven business … doesn’t it make sense to have associates who are good around people?


Rommel Anacan | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Rommel is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm.  He is a multi-family housing veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for solving common industry challenges in an uncommon way.

Millennial Renters: Marketing to the Generation of Choice

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Brittany Worrell Boyce, Marketing & Communications Coordinator – For Rent Media Solutions

The Millennial Generation, otherwise known as Generation Y, is made up of those between the ages of 25-34. This group is known for having strong preferences and opinions, plenty of ambition, and a ‘sky’s the limit’ mentality when it comes to their abilities. They are very tech-savvy, impatient at times, and are always ‘connected’ via their smartphones or tablets.

These days, millennials are more flexible than ever, seeking out careers across the country or even internationally. Partially due to the sluggish (but improving) economy, young people feel the need to take any good professional opportunity they can, even if it means packing up and moving away from their families. Because of this, millennials are choosing to rent apartments more than ever. It’s important that this group is able to pack up and move at a moment’s notice, so renting is more practical for this stage in their lives.

Making Your Community Millennial-Friendly

As a property manager, it is great news for you to know that there’s an entire generation that is actively seeking out a place to rent. Millennials are a unique group, though, so there are a few things you should know in order to appeal to them. They are dubbed the “Generation of Choice” because of their unrelenting demand for choice in all aspects of their lives. Here are the Four “C’s” that explain this Generation of Choice:

(Ad) Choice – You should advertise your community where this generation spends a lot of their time – on their smartphones and on social media. Social and mobile are both ideal resources for showcasing your community’s advertisement and what it has to offer Millennials. It’s to your advantage to seek out ways to target this highly visual demographic, rather than wait for them to look for you. Luckily, with today’s technology, it’s easier than ever to advertise your community directly to this demographic across the mediums that they prefer. Print is also a great resource to add to your advertising strategy – it provides this choice generation yet another search tool for finding their ideal apartment.

Charming Ads – Similar to this generation’s preference for specific ad types, they are also looking for ads that capture their attention with aesthetically pleasing graphics and engaging features. Seek out ways to make your ads more interactive – perhaps incorporate augmented reality using an app like Layar, so users will be able to scan the ad with their smartphone or tablet to learn more about your community.

Connection – Millennials like to stay connected. In fact, they want more dialogue – 76% are looking for a two-way conversation with brands (American Millennials: The Choice Generation, DRAFTFCB). Engage with them and be responsive to their wants and needs, which will forge a positive relationship between you both. Keep in touch with this group through mediums they prefer, such as mobile. Consider communicating with millennial renters using a text message program, which allows you to send news, promotions, and other community messages directly to their smartphones. This group also relies heavily on word-of-mouth, and over 75% of the next generation of renters base their decisions on ratings and reviews. Ensure that your community has a reputation management program in place, which will allow you to listen to what people are saying about your community. This is a great way to learn more about renters’ perceptions of your community and gain knowledge that will help you further appeal to them.

Consumer Control – Millennials are a savvy group. They know what they want, and they expect brands to take that into consideration. Brands are not really calling the shots; it’s the millennials who have dictated how things should work. For example, as an apartment community, this could mean that you offer an online rent payment option because your residents demand convenience. It is widely accepted that consumers dictate the terms of a relationship, and brands are taking consumer preferences seriously in order to appeal to them. Crowdsourcing is a popular trend that many brands are utilizing to incorporate the ideas and influence of consumers into the development of products and solutions that will meet their needs.

Working with millennials may be a change of pace for you as a property manager, but it’s more important than ever to stay in tune with the preferences of this next generation of renters. By tuning in to their preferences and desires, you will learn a great deal about this generation of choice and find ways to incorporate new ideas into all aspects of your community – from marketing and advertising to resident engagement and retention. Millennials are out there looking for their ideal apartment, so there’s an opportunity for you to reach out and appeal to them.


BrittanyWorrellBoyce_ForRentBrittany is the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at For Rent Media Solutions. She specializes in creating internal and external communications for the brand, including press releases, industry articles, sales collateral, and email marketing. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Virginia Tech.

Brittany Worrell Boyce | ForRent.com | (e) Brittany.Worrell@ForRent.com

Do’s and Don’ts of Rental Listings

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By George Kalogeropoulos | RentMetrics, Inc.

Here at RentMetrics our business is tracking the rental market, so we see many good and bad rental listings. Over time we’ve tracked which listings get high response rates from desirable tenants, and have also seen the mistakes owners make that cost them money and create hassles.

Many of these suggestions will seem like common sense, but we often see owners making basic mistakes that leave them with empty properties or undesirable tenants and subpar rents. It’s amazing how owners hunt for the perfect property, get great financing, pour themselves into renovations, and then handicap themselves with a bad listing.

Good Listings

The best listings are detailed, comprehensive and accurate, and have 5-10 great pictures.

good_listing

Detailed data about the property: What features and amenities should the tenant expect? (hardwood floors, carpeting, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, etc.) How many bathrooms does the place have? Is there garage or on-street parking? Is there in-unit or on-site laundry?

Comprehensive supplementary information: How much is the security deposit? What’s your pet policy? Which utilities are included, and how much should the tenant expect to pay for those that aren’t covered? When is the unit available? How and when should prospective renters contact you?

Accurate: Keep it simple, factual, relevant and honest.

Great pictures: The best listings we’ve seen have 5-10 high resolution professional photographs shot in bright daylight that show off the major spaces (bedrooms, bathrooms, living/dining area), with at least one external shot.

Go the extra mile: You know the area around your property, but the tenant likely won’t. What are the shopping and entertainment options? What’s the availability of public transportation? Proximity to schools? A few key details at the end will round out a great listing and help tenants picture themselves living at your property.

Bad Listings

The worst listings are too wordy, misleading, contain irrelevant photos/details, are written poorly and demonstrate a bad attitude.

bad_listing

Too wordy: A listing is not an essay or a novel, and you won’t get any points with tenants for your creative writing. Said another way, it’s easier for the prospective tenant to click through to the next listing than to hunt through a wall of text for that key detail they’re looking for.

Misleading: No one likes the bait and switch. Anything you don’t disclose up front is a ticking time bomb when the prospective tenant visits. You’ll end up wasting your time, their time, and possibly even get a bad review online. In the same vein, exaggeration leads to mismatched expectations, which lead to disappointment and wasted time, so keep your descriptions simple and factual.

Irrelevant photos: We’re all animal lovers, but pictures of your dog or cat don’t belong in the listing, and neither do pictures of the local school or 7-11. This is most often taken as a sign that you’re either lazy, or worse, hiding something, and you’ll drive good tenants away.

Written poorly: NEVER WRITE IN ALL CAPS, and compose your listing in Microsoft Word or Google Docs so that you can run a spelling and grammar check.

Bad Attitude: As obvious as it may seem, your listing is not the right place to complain about past tenants. This happens way too often. Just like you are looking for good tenants, the best tenants are on the lookout for someone they want to rent from.

Which listing best practices do you recommend?


RentMetrics logoRentMetrics, Inc. helps real estate professionals understand the residential rental market by providing accurate and comprehensive data in real-time.  George runs the business side of RentMetrics. His past experience is in investment management and includes modeling real estate portfolios for institutional investors at Bridgewater Associates, a large hedge fund.

Are We Overbuilding Multifamily?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By Justin Alanis via Multifamily Insiders

RentvsBuyA gradual shift in the American Dream from home ownership to renting has some U.S. developers of multifamily housing and real estate market analysts (like the CoStar Group) worried over a threat of overbuilding. The concern is that the rapid increase in rental demand will eventually (and soon) dwindle, leaving a plenitude of “sitting empty” apartments and apartment buildings.

Others though — like the market researchers who attended the annual National Multi Housing Council meeting earlier this year — contend that as a whole, the industry remains safe from being over saturated with building.

“While the pipeline in some markets is at worryingly high levels (see Which Markets are at Most Risk of Over Development? below), the national supply is within normal levels,” said Bendix Anderson of National Real Estate Investor.

Mark Obrinsky of the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), also doesn’t believe we are overbuilding multifamily. “The rebound in the single-family home market doesn’t mean that the multifamily market is overbuilt, Obrinsky said.

The construction rate remains below the demand for new apartments — even in the midst of the somewhat unimpressive economic recovery. “Demand requirements outpace the supply pipeline,” said Jubeen Vaghefi, international director and leader of Jones Lang LaSalle’s Multifamily Capital Markets. “This year, expected deliveries of new product will be 12 percent below historical average delivery levels.”

How Does the Real Estate Cycle Factor Into the MultiFamily Overbuilding?

When kicking around the overbuilding multifamily debate, it is important to note that local real estate development is cyclical. It includes periods of accelerated new growth, oversupply, high vacancies, followed by periods of declining rent, slowed down construction and lower prices. Then, we see an absorption of excess supply, lower vacancies, leading to an increase in prices and rent. This starts the real estate cycle over again with accelerated new construction. And as the economy improves and bank financing becomes easier — a period that we’re in now — multifamily gains momentum.

Which Markets are at Most Risk of Over Development?

While there are experts on both sides of the fence as to whether the nation as a whole is overbuilding multifamily, there are some clear ideas on overbuilding in certain segments of the country in the views of some multifamily finance professionals.

According to Apartment Finance Today’s annual CFO Survey of 100 multifamily finance professionals, markets most at risk for overbuilding include D.C. and Seattle, where 15 percent and 10 percent of the CFO respondents, respectively, indicated as their belief as areas most at risk for being overbuilt.

Atlanta and Jacksonville, Florida are other areas that are in danger of being overbuilt, says Greg Willett, vice president of research and analysis for MPF Research. That said, in Washington and Raleigh for example, Willett is certain that overbuilding is temporary in both those markets. “They’re very attractive long-term investment markets, due to their healthy overall economies and great renter demographics,” Willett says.

Points to Ponder

“There are people who will be making the transition to homeownership sooner and there are people who will be making the transition later. And some never will. That’s always been the case, but that last number will probably be larger,” says Rolf Pendall, a housing expert at the Urban Institute.

The rental culture is changing and not just in real estate. Younger generations are embracing renting. They rent rather than own movies through streaming, they share bikes instead of buying their own (Philadelphia and New York as examples of this growing trend), and they even share cars rather than bearing the cost and responsibility of car ownership (Zipcar is an example).

The multifamily market (both on the construction side and rental side) isn’t going away anytime soon. The fact of the matter is that it is contributing to the nation’s economic recovery, however lackluster that may be. Clearly we’re in the early stages of the multifamily development cycle, but how far away are we from overbuilding?


JustinAlanis

Justin Alanis is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rentlytics Inc.  Rentlytics is based in San Francisco, CA providing deep analytics for apartment property owners and managers. View and analyze property operational and financial metrics more effectively and identify issues.

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5 Things Property Managers Must Know About Fair Housing

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

Compliments of Appfolio.com | by: Aimee Miller

According to a recent report on fair housing trends, there were nearly 30,000 discrimination complaints filed in the United States in 2012, an increase of nearly 5% from 2011. Here are five things you should know to help avoid being the target of one of those complaints.

1. Be Careful How You Advertise
In your advertising, you can focus on amenities, attributes of your property, and location, but not on the type of tenant you want. Saying “great for young couples” can be considered discriminatory towards older renters, as an example. You shouldn’t use words like “safe” or “exclusive” since that implies that you restrict to whom you rent. Use the fair housing logo or include a statement of non-discrimination at the end of each ad.

2. Be Precise in Your Screening
Tenant screening is an area that frequently causes complaints. Have a written policy for the necessary criteria to rent your unit such as employment history/income, credit standards, etc. Outline your application process and include a statement that you adhere to all applicable fair housing laws. Your application shouldn’t include questions about physical disabilities, age, race, or ethnicity. You may, though, include questions about prior evictions, money judgments, or bankruptcy filings. You may also ask why someone is leaving his or her current unit. Keep good records of every applicant and inquiry.

3. Be Consistent with Your Apartment Rules
It’s acceptable to have mandatory apartment rules that are basic and non-discriminatory for all tenants. They should be written and uniformly enforced to all residents. Statements like “children should not be rowdy in the hallways” are unacceptable, but changing the reference to “residents and guests” is fine. Keep detailed records of any violations of the rules – time, date, and type of violation; how you became aware of the infraction and the actions you took to enforce the rule.

4. Be Detailed in Your Eviction Process

Under fair housing laws, tenants can be evicted for legitimate reasons such as non-payment of rent. For other causes be sure there has been a serious violation of the lease or a history of eviction of others for similar actions. Detailed files should contain a record of all complaints by neighbors and what has been done to respond to each. HUD historically has examined the following documentation in these situations:

  • Warning letters/eviction notices
  • Written complaints by third parties
  • Written logs kept by management
  • Police records
  • Photographs

5. Be Thorough with Employee Training
Document a written policy for employees regarding sexual and other types of harassment. All new employees must undergo training sessions that should include all memos that reference policies on how to comply with fair housing laws and the consequences for violating them. Provide all employees with a written copy of a non-discrimination policy. Have employees sign an agreement that says termination will result from violation of any fair housing law.

Being aware of and diligently following fair housing statutes is the best way to avoid having to defend a claim that could be lodged against you.


appfolioAppFolio, Inc. develops Property Management Software that helps businesses improve their workflow so they save time and make more money.  Appfolio submits articles & blogs including topics of Resident Retention, Improved Owner Communication, Time Management, and more.

Resources for Section 8 Housing Rentals

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Elizabeth Whited | The Rent Rite Directory

Have you recently decided to rent to Section 8 applicants, or do you have experience in government assisted housing programs? There are a few things to keep in mind when renting to Section 8 tenants, and great online resources to help make things easier.

GoSection8.com is a site dedicated to helping individual landlords find qualified Section 8 renters. With over 6 million pages views monthly, this is the most popular resource for Section 8 landlords and tenants throughout the country. You can download their landlord guide, and compare prices of other rental properties in your area. There are also portions of the site dedicated to the applicants, and housing authorities.

Other websites are available that can help after or during a resident’s stay in your Section 8 rental property. These sites allow you to report damages, unauthorized guests, evictions, lease violations, and on-property crime. The key to renting to Section 8 Tenants is to perform due diligence, as the Housing Authority will not screen the applicants for the landlord, they only screen the applicants to see if they qualify for their program. It is good practice to run both credit and criminal checks on all applicants, in case you are concerned about renting to anyone with a criminal history (be sure to comply with all Fair Housing Laws and note Disparate Impact).

Another important resource in which to find checklists, paperwork, laws, and contact information to the housing authorities is the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website – HUD.gov who manages all Section 8 Voucher Programs.

Staying up to date on all of the laws in your state and county will help in understanding discrimination laws. A new Oregon law which is set to take effect July 1, 2014 proposed by House Speaker Tina Kotek, will make it illegal to discriminate against renters who use any of the federal Section 8 voucher programs. This does not mean that landlords cannot turn down Section 8 applicants, but that the reason must reflect their financial/criminal past, and blanketed “No Section 8” policies will not be tolerated (Oregon Live).

States like New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Illinois have already made a renter’s source of income a protected class. However if a Section 8 tenant needs to be evicted, there is no protection from the H.U.D. to change the eviction process. Tenants must inform their local Housing Authority if for any reason they are unable to pay their part of the rent. Industry leaders note:

“Section 8 is a little different than typical landlord/tenant relationships as the government approves tenants for the program, and the property must be inspected to ensure it qualifies to rent to a Section 8 tenant. The landlord makes {their} own lease agreement with the tenant so it should include a damages clause. If the tenant damages the unit in any way they should be put into a rental history database to share information to other landlords.”

If an eviction is executed, in almost every case, the Housing Authority will revoke the voucher from the tenant. Since the waiting list to get Housing Assistance vouchers can take years to get, it would be hard for the renters to hop to another government assisted apartment or house. Tenants can file a grievance hearing if they have been evicted for any reason other than a criminal offense (tenantsunion.org).

These websites give a clear picture into what companies are out to help landlords rent to Section 8 applicants, while helping to protect their investment and follow all Fair Housing Laws.


ElizabethWhitedElizabeth Whited  |  The Rent Rite Directory

Elizabeth is the Operations Coordinator at the Rent Rite Directory. She has written educational articles for multifamily magazines and Real Estate websites to help Property Managers and Owners improve their properties, and reduce crime in their communities.

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New Trulia Rentals Map Widget

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Pierre Calzadilla, Manager, Apartment Industry Relations

Trulia is proud to announce our new rentals listing map widget which you can now install on your website or blog, for free. With just a few clicks, you can have a customized map, like the one on the right, live on your site with just your listings. Get it here now.

For Rent in San Jose, CA

If you have a website, having a map is crucial to help home and apartment hunters make a decision. For home hunters, there is nothing like looking at a map, understanding where a property is and imagining life in the neighborhood.

What Does Property Maintenance have to do with Resident Retention?

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

BuffaloMaintenance_blogheader

Maintenance is often regarded as a necessary evil or odd stepchild to the whole rental experience.   Like in a restaurant, the busboy is not high on the totem pole, yet remove or neglect the bus service and the restaurant falls into chaos and diners are not happy.

Maintenance_CostThe same can be said in the apartment industry.  Neglect maintenance and you will quickly find out how important maintenance is to your residents.  In 2012, SatisFacts Research published an e-book that revealed the highest-ranking factor for an apartment resident’s renewal decision was “Quality of maintenance service provided”.  Maintenance ranked higher than perks, parties and even the desire for more parking.

Keeping in mind that maintenance is such a great concern for lease renewing residents, successful property management teams look at maintenance providers as a valuable asset to be used in resident retention programs.  Consider the cost of routine maintenance against the massive cost of a rental make-ready in the event that a resident does not re-new their lease.

List or identify the ten top routine maintenance requests in the past year.  Determine if the item could have been quickly resolved by asking a few key questions such as:  “Is the pilot lit?”, “Have you pushed the reset button under the garbage disposal?”, “Have you reset the GFCI button on the electrical outlet?  Team up with your maintenance team or provider for a much more extensive list of simple questions that may resolve an issue while your resident is on the phone.  Asking the right questions will also save on your maintenance costs.  Sending out a plumber to reset a button is very expensive use of a resources and a potential time waster for your resident.

An often-overlooked aspect of maintenance is the follow up call to ensure the work was satisfactory and the work solved the resident’s issues.   This a good time to practice your customer service tools and ask the resident if there is anything else they need.

Use the maintenance team as a secret weapon in the war   against vacancies. Make sure the residents know who the maintenance team members are; introduce them, mention their long professional service to the community.  Emphasize their maintenance proficiency and ability to perform service requests in a timely manner.

The property management and maintenance team are not separate teams.   As an example, the property management & maintenance departments are very much like offense and defense teams in a football game.  Both work as one team and both are critical to the success of a winning game.  One makes the points and the other defends the points.  One without the other spells disaster.  Communication is key to a winning strategy. Both teams need to know the end goal.  Treat both your management/leasing team and maintenance team as equals; they are two sides of the same coin.   Use both your leasing and maintenance departments as a two-prong approach to filling vacancies and controlling resident retention.  In other words; a happy resident will be a long term resident.

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Frankie & JerryBuffalo Maintenance, Inc. provides comprehensive maintenance and repair solutions for the rental housing industry.  Jerry L’Ecuyer  is a licensed contractor & real estate broker.  Frankie Alvarez is the Operations Director and has been involved with apartment maintenance & construction for over 18 years.

Telephone Consumer Protection Act: “Dos” and “Don’ts” to Simplify Compliance

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

TCPA

With Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims on the rise, now is a good time to review what’s going on and how it affects businesses and organizations.

TCPA Snapshot

The TCPA was enacted to protect consumers from aggressive telemarketers. TCPA provides a variety of restrictions. Most recent claims relate to promotional marketing calls using automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDS also called “robocalls”), artificial or prerecorded voices and calls to cell phones.

Two primary factors complicate TCPA compliance:

  • Broad interpretations of the law’s provisions by the courts and the FCC, and
  • Technologies that have been developed since the law was enacted in 1991.

For example, the FCC interprets a “call” to include the sending of a text message. However text messaging is not specifically mentioned in the TCPA.

Important TCPA Facts

  • TCPA does not prohibit message notification services, ATDS, artificial or prerecorded voices, or automated calls and text messaging to residential and cell phones.
  • FCC regulations exempt calls that don’t include unsolicited advertising and calls that are made to those with whom the caller has an established business relationship.
  • TCPA requires that prior written consent be received for ATDS and artificial or prerecorded voice telemarketing or advertising calls to cellular and residential phones
  • TCPA requires that ATDS and artificial or prerecorded voice telemarketing or advertising calls have opt-out mechanisms.

Best Practices DOs and DON’Ts

  • DO feel free to use a message notification service. It’s an efficient, inexpensive and highly-effective way to keep groups of all sizes informed.
  • DO get written consent from those on your contact list allowing you to send messages using ATDS, artificial or prerecorded voice technologies, and text messages to their land lines and their cellular phones.
  • DO use a notification service that provides recipients with opt-in and opt-out mechanisms.
  • DO make sure that contracts for marketing campaigns with outside vendors expressly exempt you from potential TCPA violations.
  • DON’T send promotional notifications, advertisements or any unsolicited messages that can be construed as advertising to anyone without first securing their written consent.

And lastly, don’t be tempted to over react to concerns about TCPA compliance. Provisions in the law make message notification services a good fit for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Periodically review your communication policies and practices and make sure your staff understands the dos and don’ts.

For more information regarding resident communication solutions please visit www.onecallnow.com, or call (877) 698-3262 to find out how our text, email and voice messages can work for your community.

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NickFrantz2011

Nick Frantz is the National Sales Manager for Property Management Solutions at One Call Now, where he has worked since March 2011. He specializes in Property Management solutions – commercial and residential – assisting in communications between property managers and staff/residents. Nick holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Miami University.

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Before You Hit ‘Send’-Three Reasons to Call Instead!

Written by Landlord Property Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Rommel Anacan | www.RelationshipDifference.com

E-mail imageSome of my favorite things to read online are the things people say when they’re commenting on stories! I am always amazed at how ugly, mean-spirited and downright awful some people can be when they communicate behind a wall of anonymity provided by the computer.

Here are some comments I found on a few sites:

You are a FOOL–with a LOT of company.

3 crap articles in a row.  You’re on a roll Doyel.

Obviously Ravens fans can’t speel, no surprise.

Do you think any of these people would actually make those comments if they were standing in front of the people they directed them to? I don’t. (And BTW-I love that the comment about someone not being able to spell has the word “spell” spelled wrong.)

When I was the customer care manager of a property management company in Southern California, I discovered very quickly how making a phone call could be the best thing you do in resolving a complaint! I usually had a practice of communicating with people in the same way they first contacted me, unless they told me otherwise. So of course I loved it when people emailed me or wrote me a letter because I could respond back without having to actually talk to them! (Admit it, you feel the same way!)

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But sometimes I’d notice that an issue that should have been resolved would keep going; or sometimes I’d see that my email back would trigger another email that seemed more angry and frustrated and the first, which of course, was not my goal!

Here is the funny thing…when I’d see these escalated emails or letters, I would then pick up the phone and reach out to the customer personally. In a majority of the cases the residents would typically be very nice and sometimes apologize for how they communicated to me in their writings.

It seems that the one-on-one connection was often enough to defuse a customer’s anger. Sure, I often had challenges that still needed to be resolved, but I found that residents were often more willing to work with me and see my point of view when I spoke with them personally, instead of relying on email or letters. I can’t count how many I’ve spoken with who thanked me for calling them and working with them, even when I wasn’t able to give them what they wanted!

Why You Should Consider Calling Instead of Writing

It’s Easier to Sound Like a Jerk Over Email

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This one works both ways. I’ve seen many emails from associates to residents that made me cringe and fear for the job security of the associate who wrote them! As I talked about earlier, when you are safe and secure behind your desk, it’s easier for you to say something you shouldn’t say, or to say it in a way that you shouldn’t. It’s also easier for your upset resident to do the same thing.

When you are talking in person (or on the phone) there is a tendency for people to want to find some type of common ground, because not everyone is comfortable being combative or aggressive in person.

It’s Easier to be Misunderstood Over Email

There is no way around this one, letters and emails often read harsher than they are intended. This is why you’ve probably heard that you should never use email to correct or discipline or chasten someone. The other issue with written communication is that it can be looked at and stewed over again and again, further inflaming an already upset resident. If you must send an email read and re-read it from the customer’s point of view~and have someone else (who is generally level headed) to read it for you if you have any doubts!

Personally Connecting is Powerful

Personal ConnectionWhile technology allows us to communicate in every way possible, it also seems to isolate us from people as well. In today’s world where we text more than we call, where we Facebook more than we meet for coffee, there is something emotionally powerful when you pick up the phone and say,

“Hi Roger. This is Kimberly from the Quail Run office. I just got your email and I am so sorry about your experience and wanted to talk to you right away about it…”

Before you click on the “send” button, would you be better off picking up the phone instead?


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Rommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm in Orange County, California. He is a multifamily industry veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for tackling common challenges in an uncommon way. For more information visit his website at www.RelationshipDifference.com