Things don’t always go smoothly for property managers. There will always be tenants who have needs that aren’t being met (whether you know about them or not). However, if you learn to recognize the signs of unhappy tenants, you’ll find yourself more prepared than ever to address them when they arise… or before, ideally.
How Are Unhappy Tenants Like Ghosts?
Unfortunately, in some situations, you may not realize that people aren’t happy unless they expressly say so. “Customer service” within commercial property management can be a very tricky area with many hoops to jump through to be successful. Even then, the experience is an ongoing one, wherein you have to periodically attend to the wishes of those on your property without there ever really being an “end.” This may be the nature of the experience, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a painstaking one.
To really get a handle on tending to unhappy tenants, potentially even before they become unhappy, you have to “observe, listen, reflect, act, repeat.” Begin with the obvious: looking for warning signs that those renting from you aren’t satisfied for one reason or another. If you have a tense conversation or received a clipped email, for example, you might begin to suspect that they have some issue. Similarly, if you send them some kind of correspondence and they don’t respond for a long time, or at all, then there is clearly an issue. True, that issue might be an electronic one or just a miscommunication, but it could also be due to the person being displeased.
After you ensure that it isn’t a technical error, try sending a follow-up message. If it’s more urgent, “such as an out-of-date contract, contact point, service announcement, etc.,” then consider knocking on their door (at an appropriate hour). Whatever method you choose, make sure that you are still professional, no matter how frustrated you are. Acting with anger and impatience will likely only put a tenant on edge and not encourage them to do whatever it is needs to be done.
Do you put out regular tenant satisfaction surveys? If not, this may be why you haven’t realized that you have unhappy tenants. Consider monthly, or at least seasonal, surveys online (or in person, or both) to suss out how your tenants have been feeling about various aspects of working on your property. If you already do surveys and haven’t been getting fantastic results, then you should already know that there is an issue that needs to be resolved.
If they “frequently reschedule or decline” meetings, then it may be just as problematic as if they didn’t respond to your messages at all. If they’re simply busy, then one or two instances are understandable. However, if this keeps happening, then you may have a real problem on your hands. Simply as if they would prefer a different format, such as Skype, for your meetings, rather than speaking in person. It may put them more at ease and make them more amenable to it.
As with so many of these unhappy tenant warning signs, “avoidance is the simplest path of resistance.” A displeased tenant will more than likely distance themselves from you/management to put off a likely-uncomfortable conversation, particularly if they have had some kind of unpleasant interaction with you in the past (though perhaps not in person). Remember that these are your customers, really, and that you have to work to appeal to them and to attend to their needs. If not, they aren’t going to want to communicate with you, and problems will arise for everyone involve.
In a lesser way, an indication that you may have some unhappy tenants is if they 1. don’t attend events that you host and/or 2. don’t take advantage of your offered services/amenities, even if they are valuable. Part of this may also be that they simply don’t know about these things, so consider how you advertise and spread information in a general sense first. If you evaluate that and find that most others are getting the message, then it may not be your communication skills, after all.
The most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to tenant satisfaction is to make sure that you try to get to know the tenants. Introduce yourself quickly to new ones to establish yourself as a concerned property manager. Make sure to check in with the older ones to see that they are content with their situation. In the meantime, you have to employ someone, or something, to make sure that the rest of your business is being done. Budgetrac Property Management Software can handle all your tenant information so that you can completely focus on the ongoing task of making your renters happy. Consider this powerful solution for your database management today!