Tim Darwall-Smith, Director, SBA Property Management

Bridging the gap between property owners and tenants, property managers are primarily responsible for ensuring that leaseholders receive exemplary customer service.

While there are many systems that property managers can implement to maintain excellent customer service, often the main challenge lies in handling tenant enquiries – especially after hours.

Property management is about much more than responding to tenant queries between 9am and 5pm – managers must be alert to what’s going on around the clock and, firstly, establish the nature of the issue… is it an emergency? Does it need to be resolved urgently?

So, what is the most effective way for property managers to provide a good quality out of hours service?

Open and honest communication

From the very start of a tenancy, property managers should be transparent with tenants about the services available to them. This provides the leaseholder with all the information they need and sets expectations around what they can expect from their property manager.

By developing an open and honest line of communication, tenants build a better level of trust with their property manager. This is especially important when deciding how to approach an issue and the necessary level of urgency to fix it.

With the number one concern for tenants relating to building upkeep and maintenance, it’s no surprise that such issues can become especially urgent if they occur overnight. The key to handling these problems lies in good communication. If the tenant already has the knowledge and resources available, they can make informed decisions as to the best course of action to resolve the issue.

Quick and effective service

When responding to tenant enquiries, especially those out of hours, many property managers make the mistake of letting inbound calls roll to voicemail or send out an automated response.

Property managers are busy people, with a wide variety of tasks to be getting on with during the day – be it carrying out a property inspection or negotiating a lease with contractors – so it can be easy to miss things. However, by putting the right processes in place to ensure urgent enquiries are handled, property managers can maintain a quick and effective level of customer service.

Having the right processes in place

Ensuring our tenants receive the best service is our number one priority at SBA. That’s why we recently launched our advanced out of hours service to handle all incoming enquiries.

In an emergency, our leaseholders don’t need to worry – we’re on hand 24/7 to provide an initial video consultation and call-out maintenance support if required. Each of our phone operators has a thorough understanding of our buildings and access to a log of previous maintenance activity, so they can quickly and efficiently deal with any problems.

Our robust process provides tenants with the reassurance that their issue will be resolved whether it is urgent or not and allows us to keep in tune with each tenant through an in-depth, personalised email report shared with their building’s surveyor throughout the process.

Not only are tenants reassured their primary issue will be dealt with, but they have access to expertise to gain advice on other questions about their building – whether the lift is broken or they want to know how often it is checked.

Maintaining tenant relationships

Building a close relationship with our tenants is important to us – that’s why we regularly ask for their feedback and opinions on our processes to ensure they receive the level of support they require.

We recently received this testimonial from an ex-leaseholder – “Thank you for all your help over the years I was at 31 Yale Court – in particular, with the issue of the French windows. I was enormously grateful for your help resolving it.”

Property managers can maintain excellent relationships with tenants by adopting the above recommendations.