How Stirling Ackroyd boosted their level of service by improving response & resolution times

Jonty Shepheard

By Jonty Shepheard

23 February 2024

Delivering fast and effective service is crucial for letting agencies aiming to stand out in today's competitive market. We sat down with Ben Parkes, Regional Director at Stirling Ackroyd, to chat about what his agents are doing to boost their level of service.

Agent using computer


The importance of tracking data

Over the past 18 months, Stirling Ackroyd has started using software tools like Fixflo to track detailed data in every part of the business. Ben explained how access to this data visibility at both individual and team levels has proven invaluable for identifying and addressing areas needing improvement.

For example, without clear metrics, it's impossible to know if your repairs process could be faster. Now, Stirling Ackroyd can view response times, average resolution times, and performance consistency across their portfolio. Monitoring results for both individual property managers and across entire teams ensures underperformance gets spotted quickly and help can be given before anyone gets overwhelmed or work standard begins to decline.

Just as importantly, the data enables better support for property managers and contractors. Seeing an increased volume of repairs equips managers to redistribute jobs or request additional contractor capacity. It facilitates a quantified, evidenced-based approach instead of just gut feelings.


Here are Ben’s thoughts on tracking data inside his business


The key role of contractors

Your contractors are at the frontline, communicating with tenants every day, so keeping them happy is critical. Stirling Ackroyd has implemented several initiatives focused specifically on building contractor relationships:

  • Processing payment runs every day, rather than only a few times per week. Prompt payment for completed work helps contractors with their cash flow, meaning they’ll be happier to work with you in the future.
  • Scheduling meetings every 3-6 months to share feedback in both directions. Discuss what's working well and areas needing improvement. This facilitates better understanding and ability to support each other's businesses.
  • Reaching out proactively several months before periods of high demand such as Christmas and university summer holidays. If you confirm their capacity to take on additional work during the peak weeks, you can bring on extra support when required.

    In Ben’s words, "your contractors are your eyes and ears." Given your agency’s reliance on their skill and responsiveness, it makes sense to provide the working conditions and communication channels to keep them fully engaged.


Managing complex repairs

No repairs process will be without its challenges. Certain types of complex fixes inevitably require more time and coordination. In these scenarios, communication and setting expectations are key.

For landlords, emphasise the actions being taken and expected costs over the speed of the fixes. These owners care about protecting their asset's value more than quick resolution. Strive to avoid delays, but manage expectations if compromised timescales look likely.

With tenants, set clear worst-case timelines upfront. Accept that they will likely be unhappy about any delays—it may just be one repair out of many for you, but for them, it could be a major source of stress in their lives. Convey empathy along with specifics about work underway, underpinning your commitment to resolving the situation.

As Ben summed it up, "Don't minimise the issue or overpromise the fix." Be transparent about where things stand while working diligently behind the scenes.


Implementing your own improvements

Ben’s insights give some practical ideas for improving your agency’s response times this year. Start by reviewing your own repair operations. Could you benefit from better contractor relationships? What untapped data might support better management decisions?

With tenants empowered by technology and comparison sites, delivering an efficient, transparent repairs process has become an essential competitive advantage.

Find out how Fixflo can give you the data you need to take your service to the next level.

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Jonty Shepheard

On the rare occasion Jonty isn't at her keyboard, she can be found making coffee, reading fantasy or road-tripping – ideally some combination of all three.

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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.

Jonty Shepheard

By Jonty Shepheard

23 February 2024

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