We asked 25 professional facility and property managers their advice on how to work best with their occupants.
Most of the answers revolved around quick replies and a smile, and we’ve broken down and summarized all the feedback below!
Make it a point to smile at tenants, and get to know their names. The nicer you are to them, and the more you appear as a real person that they get to know, the nicer they will be to you, and when they do have an issue to report, it will be (hopefully!) a lot gentler and friendlier than if you had no prior relationship.
Make sure they know that you care about their issues, even if it’s not really that important, because to them it’s always important.
Work to de-escalate situations by being nice even when the tenant isn’t. That’s not always easy to do, but it will make things smoother overall if you can keep your cool while a tenant rants and yells at you about his building issues. If you yourself can’t de-escalate the situation, tell the tenant you will find someone who can, and pass off the conversation to someone else.
One manager suggested to always smile even if you can’t stand that tenant…
Pay attention to your email and respond quickly.
Giving out your personal phone number makes you look very available to your tenants, and even if they don’t use it, it can give them comfort knowing they have it in case of a major issue.
Choose a communication channel that works well for you to respond quickly, and encourage your tenants to use it. If texting works well for you, then tell people to simply text you with any urgent matters.
Listen and reassure them
Tenants want to be heard, so be sure to listen, even if they don’t make sense at first take a while to say what they need to say. Let them know you’ll get their issue resolved as soon you can.
Have many open lines of communication
Make sure tenants know they can reach out to you whenever they want to. And if that idea sounds annoying to you personally, have them reach out to a designated staff member instead of you.
Some managers we talked to said they gave out their personal cell phone number and let people come to their office whenever they’d like. That may not sound ideal to you, so vary the styles of communication to your liking, as long as you and other managers are available, whether that is via text, emails, chat apps, phone calls or in person.
One manager we talked to swore by the efficacy of email blasts, and it makes sense. Tenants want to know what’s going on, so if you’re having an issue with the building’s AC system for example, let them know brief updates via an email blast so they don’t feel like they are in the dark.
And when you send out an email blast, asking for replies with any questions can make it easier to answer them quickly, as many of them will be repeat questions and you can just copy and paste the answers over and over instead of wearing out your voice telling people the same story over and over in person!
Software to report issues
There’s plenty of software out there that would allow tenants to submit work tickets, and if the software makes it easy for them to submit, they’ll use it, and they will feel heard, especially if someone can quickly respond to the submission, even if it’s a note as short and simple as “got it, we’ll look into it!”
Having all the requests coming in via the same channel can make it easier to manage and prioritize the maintenance tasks as well. Software like Rentpost or similar works well for taking in these requests.
It’s not all business
Keeping communication light can help tenants feel more at ease with you and your workers, which helps communication and relationships overall.
If you’re at an apartment building, consider hosting an occasional BBQ with the guests and all your FM/PM staff so that everyone can get familiar with each other.
We had lots of quick tips that didn’t fit in the bigger categories, so here they are!
• Make tenants feel valued when they are talking to you.
• Be quick to respond, even if you can’t be as quick as they’d like to resolve the issue
• Schedule routine meetings to keep large facility management clients abreast of current and upcoming issues
• Monthly apartment inspections to stay ahead of issues, and get reports of issues from tenants
• Give everyone on the property respect!
Need a new way to store the location of all your building’s critical assets, and instructions for anyone to be able to handle a crisis? Check out our facility management tool, MapPlug, to make building management easier!