Are you prepared to pay when a team member makes an honest mistake? Tara Bradbury explains the advantages of having a property management guarantee in place.
HAVING A property management department guarantee in place is fantastic for the Business Development Manager (BDM) because they can use it as a selling tool during the listing presentation. It is now fairly common to see an investor horror story on A Current Affair or Today Tonight. Because of this, many landlords will raise these stories as a concern during the listing presentation. They are not only nervous about renting out the property, but also because no responsibility has been taken by a negligent property manager.
A guarantee in your property management department means you are providing a formal assurance to your investor and you are guaranteeing that the entire department will provide the level of service that is expected of them under the legislation.
I’m sure we will all agree that when we were kids, if we damaged property that did not belong to us our parents would make us take responsibility for the damage we had caused. I even remember having to give up some of my hard-earned pocket money and, trust me, I never made the same mistake twice!
This is why having a guarantee in place, and following through with it, is so important. Your guarantee basically needs to say that as an agency you are prepared to take full responsibility for the entire team’s performance while managing the investment. You should guarantee that the department will perform in a specified manner, be responsible for their actions and the agency is prepared to pay for its mistakes.
While the above three points are important, my most valuable suggestion is to focus on the one thing that landlords complain about all the time: Communication. This is an area that is so easy to manage; yet it is an area that receives the highest number of complaints.
A common problem I see occurring is after the BDM has won the business and then assigns the property to the new property manager. As early as five days in, while the property is still vacant, the landlord calls the BDM and says ‘I haven’t heard anything and was wondering if you have a tenant lined up for my property’. The BDM’s blood is boiling but they think fast, give the landlord a small detailed response of what they know and advise them that the property manager will call back as soon as possible.
Then the BDM storms over to the property manager’s desk and says, ‘Why haven’t you called Mr Smith? The property has been vacant for five days and he’s heard nothing!’ The property manager comes up with excuses, which frustrates the BDM even more. Then by the end of the conversation the property manager finally picks up the phone and rings the landlord to give feedback.
That was the office I used to work in prior to having a guarantee in place. Things changed once we had and shared the guarantee with the entire team so that they were aware of what was expected of them on a daily basis.
When writing a guarantee you should consider using some of the following opening lines to get started:
- Our goal is to provide you with a service that you need
- We understand the importance of giving the highest possible level of customer service to our clients
- Our property management department is guaranteed to maximise the income on your investment property
- We will provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis
- If you are dissatisfied with our service at any time you can terminate
- We will let your property within a maximum period of four weeks from the date listed
Now, I know some of these probably put you back in your seat and are a little bit confronting to read. However, having a strong guarantee in place will not only help the BDM during the listing presentation, it will also strengthen positive word-of-mouth in your area. You will find that if you are willing to pay for the mistakes made by your team, this will be spoken about in your local community. It may hurt the pocket a little bit but I guarantee you will be seen as the agency of choice. If you are prepared to back up the level of service expected from landlords, which in a lot of cases is basic stuff, you will be seen as being miles ahead of your competition.