Elite AgentEPM: Customer Service

What matters most

Customer service expectations continue to rise in the property management sector. More than ever before businesses need to work out how to use technology to help them do more in a more personalised manner

Why is there the need for more innovation in property management in Australia?

It’s because renting a property is such a difficult experience in this country,
filled with administrative tasks – from communicating with stakeholders, filing paperwork, meeting legal requirements or dealing with maintenance issues. This rings true for everyone involved in the process.

Also, today’s customer expectations mean they have less patience for much of the service levels now on offer, more need for transparency, and value a personalised experience.

How bad is it? Research from Real Content found 16 per cent of landlords experienced poor service. Tenants had an even worse time, with 65 per cent receiving substandard service. So, what do agencies need to consider as they aim to survive, grow, and deliver better experiences to their customers?

Are you ready for tomorrow’s business model?
For decades, property management has been a one-size-fits-all service menu. This includes marketing a property, finding tenants, collecting
rent, organising inspections, managing maintenance and repairs, dealing with tenant issues, accounting for the rent, and expenses and paying bills.

The rise of tech means technology or bots can complete some of these tasks; up to 25 per cent, according to Macquarie Bank research. Each time automation occurs, the inclusion of that service in a one-price-fits-all business model puts that entire business model under threat.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Breaking what we do into individual services from a menu that landlords can select from, rather than an all-you-can-eat buffet, changes the dynamic.

Maybe your landlord wants to collect the rent and pay the bills themselves, but wants assistance to do regular inspections and find new tenants.

Can you deliver personalised service?
Customers used to a certain level of personalisation (think Netflix, Amazon, Spotify) raise expectations for the services businesses provide.

This is a trend we’ve been slow at adopting in property management, where we tend to treat everyone as either a landlord or tenant.

What does personalisation look like for us? It looks like identifying your best tenants in the lead up to their lease expiring and identifying other, better properties they might want to upgrade to, or locking them into longer-term leases that better suit their circumstances. Or helping them with buying their first property.

For landlords, it looks like tailoring a bespoke menu of services. Or recognising that your landlord has other properties in other locations across your franchise brand – and providing something of value in this space.

Can you offer a concierge treatment for clients prepared to pay a premium? What stress or risk can you remove for them? What does this look like for tenants, especially those in the luxury end of the market? Can you use your expertise as property managers to offer concierge-like experiences to owners who have bought from you in the past?

Start with your customer
Are you ready to become your landlord’s best advisor and help them grow the value of their asset? How can you deliver additional value-added property management services to a new range of customers, such as buyers or sellers?

Let’s not see technology as a trend that replaces people in property management, but as a trend that liberates us.

But liberates us for what? Ask yourselves, do you know what matters most to your customers, and can you deliver it?

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Alister Maple-Brown

Alister Maple-Brown is the CEO of leading property management software provider Rockend. For more information visit rockend.com.au.