No business is exempt from complaints and property management can often be more susceptible than most. Given that moving is considered to be one of the three top stressful events in our lives is, it any wonder that sometimes we find ourselves on the frontline of complaints. Now before you all stop reading and just go, “yes we have heard this all before”, take some time to sit and think about how complaints can help you and the business improve.
To begin with let’s change the name from Complaints to Customer Feedback.
As defined by the Oxford dictionary – Feedback is
Information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, etc. which is used as a basis for improvement.
If you take the time to consider that general definition, then It becomes a simple equation. Negative feedback equals deficiencies inside a business. With this being true, why as an industry do we not use feedback as a barometer? I believe it is because we are afraid to face the truth.
Feedback provides insights, taking a closer look at the issues raised you will be able to identify where in the business the process or system has failed and how you can look to improve it.
Let’s take a look at an example
“A customer raises issues with the way their property or tenancy is being looked after, highlighting that they have reported specific issues and nobody is looking after these or and they have not any anyone contact them”.
Looking deeper into allows you to identify key areas where processes, systems, and communication are lacking. It also highlights the lack of transparency across the business. The next step is to change your communication procedures and implement a regular learning and development program for the team. Simply fixing this issue will not fix the deeper problems, you need to look below the water line.
Now with that all being said the way that feedback is handled will also determine a successful outcome.
So here are some tips for today:
- Stay Calm and professional – regardless of what matter is raised or the reaction by the customer
- Don’t take Things Personally – if you do this you add emotion to a situation and this only makes things worse
- Listen and ask Questions – If you don’t thoroughly understand the nature of the issue then you are less likely to be able to resolve it quickly and effectively.
- Have Empathy – show your clients and customers that you care about their issues and that you want to help them resolve it.
- Work Together – don’t offer solutions that don’t work for either party, this doesn’t help your customer, the situation or the business.
- Follow Up – contact your customer a few days later, to find out how they are and if the problem is resolved.