With the right multifamily answering service, every incoming phone call to your community can be an opportunity to increase resident retention, convert prospects, and deliver incredible customer service. To choose a call management technology that ensures high residence satisfaction, ask yourself three simple questions.
3 Things to Look For in a Multifamily Answering Service
Multifamily call management systems have become the best option for leasing offices to handling incoming calls. Having to manage and respond to phone calls from current and prospective residents takes time away from other mission-critical tasks. Without a property management answering service in place, your leasing office and onsite staff must answer the phones themselves, straining resources and adversely affecting efficiency–and even your profitability.
Also, when a resident makes a maintenance request to someone on the phone, the expectation is–even if it is unintended–that onsite maintenance will respond as quickly as possible. If the request is urgent, residents want immediate action. They want the confidence of knowing that your property takes their comfort, safety, security, and concerns seriously. When property teams quickly respond to their requests, they feel cared for and valued. So when your company begins considering a new property management answering service or an after hours answering service, you should ask these questions: Is it smart? Is it sensible? Will our residents be satisfied? Let’s look at what these “3 Ss” mean.
Is It SMART?
It’s not enough just to capture a resident phone call and follow up the next day. If the issue is an emergency, you need to be able to create a work order immediately. You should also be able to convert prospect inquiries into leases, even when your team is unavailable. And if the job is complex or unclear, sometimes onsite techs need additional context.
The ability to connect them with residents via a phone call or text message is also important, as well as the ability to share photos and additional details about the request directly in the app.
What you need is a smart answering service that offers the following options:
- Work order integration: The system should integrate with your work order management system to automatically create, manage, and communicate the status of work orders.
- Customizable routing rules: The system should use intelligent business logic and rules-based workflows that handle everything from routing emergency work orders to the right onsite technician to sending prospect calls to your leasing teams.
- Visual voicemail: Your system should be able to record, manage, listen to, and share all prospect and resident messages using visual voicemail technology.
- Drag-and-drop scheduling: Intuitive drag-and-drop on-call scheduling should enable your team to create weekly, bi-weekly, and emergency on-call maintenance schedules.
- Activities dashboard: A dashboard tracker should make it easy to manage prospect and resident calls and add follow-up notes, as necessary.
- PMS integration: It should be easy to match inbound calls to each unit and resident, and track all calls and work orders directly in your PMS.
- After-hours answering service: A property management answering service helps you extend your hours around the clock without having to increase your payroll.
Is It SENSIBLE?
The less seriously your company seems to consider the peace of mind of your residents, the less likely your residents will keep their trust in you and your technicians. Your residents want to know who is assigned to their request so they can be sure the person knocking on their door is an authorized agent. Plus, your technicians want to ability to communicate with the resident directly to get additional clarifications on the issue - all without fear of exposing their personal number. To demonstrate that you take everyone’s best interests seriously, you need an answering service that offers the following ways to help sensibly protect residents and your employees.
- Keep residents in the know: A photo confirmation of who will be knocking on their door, as well as status updates for every after-hours service call, reassures residents that they are secure.
- Keep employee numbers hidden: Masked resident communication tools protect your team's personal numbers.
- Keep residents informed: Community broadcasts create, schedule, and deliver community announcements via phone call, email, and text message to your entire rent roll or a select group of residents.
Lastly, Are Your Residents, well … SATISFIED?
Delighting your residents doesn’t end when the phone call ends or the technician leaves. Resident satisfaction is the key to measuring how well your management teams are performing and serving the needs of your community. If a resident is dissatisfied, the likelihood that they'll renew their lease decreases significantly - and the likelihood that your community will receive a negative online review increases accordingly.
It is critical that you solicit firsthand feedback from your residents as often as possible - and certainly after they've experienced a maintenance emergency. You will also benefit from knowing how promptly your technician responded and seeing an audit trail of the issue and resolution. The right multifamily answering service includes features that let you gauge resident satisfaction by asking them about their experience and enabling you to check things out for yourself, such as:.
- Resident satisfaction survey: Automatically sending satisfaction surveys to residents when their maintenance request is complete helps you measure and improve performance.
- Detailed audit trail: Comprehensive details of each emergency call including recorded technician/resident phone calls, text exchanges, response times, progress updates, notes, photos, and videos can help you address complaints or find areas requiring additional training and improvement.
- Actionable analytics: Analytic dashboards that enable you to measure call volumes and monitor response/completion times by day, property, or region will help you easily track portfolio trends and overall performance.