When you think of a landlord, you probably think about things like fixing leaky pipes, collecting rent checks, and sorting through rental applications. But being a good landlord is about so much more than that. The best landlords understand the value of customer service, and they’ll employ some of the following tips for better tenant relationships.
- Respond Quickly to Maintenance Requests
“If you were to poll tenants today regarding their biggest complaints with the place they’re renting, a majority of them will pinpoint the maintenance, states an article from the Houston property management firm Green Residential. “They’ll explain that it takes too long for an order to be completed, or the repairs were poorly done.” Responding quickly to maintenance will help you get in the good graces of your tenants.
Additionally, quick response times are beneficial to your financial interests. If you let a leaky pipe go for too long, for example, it could create serious and expensive water damage. Since you didn’t get to it as soon as your tenant brought it up, it’s your responsibility to pay for the damages, and that’s not a pretty situation.
- Be Professional and Friendly
When a tenant is upset, there’s nothing that will make them angrier than you taking on a defensive or insulting tone. In every interaction with tenants, professionalism is an absolutely essential trait.
Try to use thoughtful, helpful language. You might express your apologies for a problem or say that you understand what they’re going through. Most importantly, offer your tenant a solution to their problem. Most tenants will not be unreasonable, so if you promise that you’re going to solve a problem and follow through, it guarantees better interactions with each tenant.
- Know What Tenants Are Saying Online
When tenants have a good or bad experience, they typically want to tell others about it. While you can’t track what they’re saying to their friends and family in person, you can monitor what they’re saying about you online. Look at online review sites like Yelp, Facebook, or Google Pages to keep up-to-date on customer opinions.
“Paying attention to what people are saying about your company online is a key way to improve customer experience,” says Ken Peffer of MainLine TeleCommunications. “Use the reviews to address complaints, and prevent future protests with preemptive corrections.”
You can also keep a closer eye on what people are saying with a Facebook page for multi-unit housing. It will alert tenants of happenings around the complex, which can prevent some of those negative reviews. You can also respond to reviews to improve their perceptions of you.
- Be Careful When Saying No
So much of communicating with people is psychological. People have aversions to certain words, and if you’re not careful, you could make a situation worse simply by saying the wrong thing.
For example, Brenton Hayden of BiggerPockets discussed in an article how using the word “no” can make a difficult situation more heated. He presented a situation in which a landlord said “No, that’s not how it works” in response to a maintenance problem in the kitchen.
“Right around the ‘No’ in this response, the tenant stopped listening as he heard all that he needed to know, and that was you don’t agree,” Hayden says. “He stopped listening and started preparing a rebuttal.”
Instead, Hayden recommends a response like this: “Yes, I understand not having a stove can be frustrating. That must have been difficult for you to not be able to cook at home, especially considering you have children. Let’s look at what the lease and discuss what options are available to you.”
The simple psychology of this interaction can make all the difference in a landlord’s ability to calmly handle a customer service situation.
It takes practice to deliver strong customer service, especially since you have long-term interactions with these people. You’ll probably make a few mistakes here and there, but learn from them. With better customer service skills comes an ability to fill your rentals and increase the longevity of your tenants–that’s more money in your pocket!