Communication Is King

Zahraa Valu

By Zahraa Valu

24 May 2013

As we all know the pace of technological advancement is accelerating. There is an increasing expectation of an immediate response and an instant resolution across sectors. This expectation conflicts with the nature of property repairs which do take time. They take time to understand and time to resolve.

There are three key points here.

  • First, your tenants and clients are better connected to the world than ever before.
  • Second, your tenants and clients can spread news of perceived poor service more easily than ever before.
  • Third, your tenants and clients are demanding a higher and more instant level of service than ever before.

I’m just going to take a minute to look at each of these in more detail.

88% of tenants in the private rented sector have access to fixed internet at home. With an average age of 32 the majority of tenants in the private rented sector also own a Smartphone.

People are more social with their views. Over half of the UK population is now on a social media site and views and experiences are more readily shared.

In a survey 95% of respondents said that they would share a bad experience with one person and over half of respondents said that they would share a bad experience with more than 5 people.

This means that if there is poor service then news of it can and does spread. Whether through mainstream social media or industry sites such as agency ratings portals.

At the same time, the availability of instant communications has resulted in an expectation of instant response and resolution. For example a quarter of customers expect a response to a complaint by email within an hour. Although tenants may not strictly be your customers you are their point of contact when something goes wrong.

So technology has increased consumers’ expectations of an immediate response with a greater propensity for negative feedback to spread if those expectations are not met. If that’s the downside what’s the upside.

First and interestingly customer service is no longer seen as a personal service, it just has to feel personal.

Amazon regularly tops customer service surveys despite avoiding any form of interaction between its staff and customers.

It does this in three key ways which are central to what it terms customer experience.

  • First it proactively sets customers’ expectations with timeframes that it expects to be able to meet.
  • Second it makes the process clear from start to end and it provides updates as each stage of the process is completed.
  • Third if anything changes it lets customers know. It achieves all of this automatically without any need for human interaction but from the perspective of customers it is great customer service.

Even more impressively, Amazon regularly beats high street stores that absorb higher costs in order to have the personal interaction between their staff and customers.

How many of you automatically tell tenants that their issue has been received, what steps are needed to resolve their issue and when you expect for it to be resolved?

We ran a survey of 200 tenants who rent a managed property.

Predictably the highest frustration amongst those tenants about repairs was the amount of time that they take. Perhaps more surprisingly was that the lack of feedback on the progress of an issue came a close second.

Reading between the lines, if you tell tenants what will happen and when and then provide updates you can reduce the scope for disputes and any perception of poor service.


This article is intended for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions related to issues in this article, we strongly advise contacting a legal professional.
These blog posts are the work of Fixflo and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. In summary, you are welcome to re-publish any of these blog posts but are asked to attribute Fixflo with an appropriate link to Access to this blog is allowed only subject to the acceptance of these terms.

Zahraa Valu

By Zahraa Valu

24 May 2013

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