Sunday, May 24, 2015

Lease Me - the final part

I want to say that I was surprised at the negative comments made on my last blog, sadly your feedback is an indictment of how often people in our industry get service delivery wrong.

As businesses we seem to constantly pursue that point of difference, how can we better the technology, the training, the marketing to engage the client, when what we really need to do is focus on great customer experiences. The technology, training, marketing, websites that are responsive are all secondary to service/client experiences.

The business that focus's on client experiences will win their business.

So where am I in my leasing cycle.

Well after having viewed a number of properties, I finally found one in Balwyn and move into it next month. Thank goodness say the property managers of Melbourne...:-)

However here are some insights I would like to share with you:

1. We have to ensure that our property mangers and leasing agents are more accountable on returning calls despite the volumes. As an industry we cannot continue to see high volume of calls not returned or clients called at all as acceptable. Managers of departments and business owners need to focus on this area of their business, mystery shop your people, have better reporting and transparency, maybe even call your clients on a regular basis to get feedback.

2. Ensure that you present the home professionally on the internet. Photos of doors, toilets, bathroom sinks, untidy rooms simply have no place today. This was an issue we talked about at conferences over 15 years ago, why is it still happening today?

3. Provide accurate description of the homes, if the third bedroom is too small to use as a bedroom then ensure that you say so. You waste our time otherwise going from inspection to inspection based on the description of the home you provide.

4. Why is there such a disparity on pricing, same suburb, same street, similar homes priced at least a few hundred dollars apart. If listings are on the market for over 10 days at least, you may have the price wrong, don't refresh and say it is a new listing, those of us on the market - KNOW IT ISNT.

5. Leasing agents need to ask better questions, no one has asked me if I have a property to rent. I have an investment property in Richmond, however because I am a tenant, I am considered as "second class". Ask yourselves how many potential listings are you missing out on from your tenants and existing landlord simply because you haven't asked. Every time you go through McDonalds the 16yr old ask, is there anything else, would you like a drink, would you like fries!

6. Have empathy for your tenants. Moving is a very stressful time, as an industry we have to get better at providing support during this time. With so many client services companies and options it seems that we only focus on connections and that's because it is on the application forms.

An example of the level of service we provide, here is what happened at the OFI on Saturday at my property.
I took my son to view it, a number of people turned up as it was advertised and they were told the property had been leased however there may be others that may interest them.
The property I have leased had been for sale, it was passed in on a vendors bid and the owners decided to rent it out.
They choose another agent to do this.
However the agency that was selling the property listed an open time of 1.30 pm Saturday 23/5. A number of people turned up at 1.30pm and yes you guessed it, there was no sales agent there to let them know that the property had been taken of the market.

To say I was appalled at this was simply an under statement. A high profile brand providing this level of service is simply unacceptable.

Surely systems in offices cannot be that poor that this was missed. I suspect it was simply sour grapes or poor management from the three sales agents listed on the board.

Interesting as well that the owners decided not to use the selling agency to rent their property either. How often does that happen I wonder.

To any business owner who reads this blog, why is this rant of mine important enough for you to pay attention.

It is quiet simple really. As an investor, I give you my property to manage and you build your wealth and assets off it. Your business is valued on the recurring income I pay you in management fees. You even have the ability to leverage off the rent roll.

Yet you see it as acceptable to provide the poorest level of service to those who rent my property off you. Tenants ensure that both of us continue to build our assets.

The rent role is your retirement/exit out of the business, my rental property is one of my retirement/exit out of corporate world. The common denominator here is the tenant and your teams are simply not paying enough attention to the service delivery they receive, regardless of the fact there is an abundant supply of tenants.

In each of your market places, regardless of your brand, it would be very easy to become known as the agents that provide the worst service.

Sadly that are far too many similar experiences and stories such as mine to say this has been a one off.

So here ends my blog on my experiences on leasing a property. I now have an 18 month lease in place and the next stress on the agenda is the actual move. :-(

My new property manager said to me, after I had told her about my experiences - there are no short cuts in property management..... wise words I say.