As a property manager, you likely know that maintenance problems often seem to strike at the most inopportune times. By seeking the expertise of an experienced property management call center, you can ensure that tenants have prompt access to live support. However, it is important to note that not all call centers are created equal. You need to carefully evaluate available options and choose the call center that is best equipped to handle incoming calls and concerns. Below are the top ten questions you should ask your property management call center before you enlist their support.
1) Are you able to categorize calls based on severity?
Top-notch property management call centers do more than simply respond to calls. They gather details from tenants and classify incoming calls according to their level of severity. This ultimately optimizes efficiency for property managers, who are quickly able to prioritize maintenance support.
2) Can you route calls to on-duty maintenance staff?
In the property maintenance arena, there are varying degrees of severity with property issues. While most issues might not require the immediate involvement of maintenance personnel, urgent issues may require prompt intervention. The ability to direct calls to a maintenance supervisor is vital to ensuring that urgent maintenance issues are addressed as swiftly as possible.
3) Would customers be speaking to an agent in the USA?
"The last thing customers want is to struggle with basic communication when they are trying to get a problem solved. A lot of US customers will now actually hang up if they hear that they are being transferred offshore or spot a foreign accent...Phone communication can even be challenging between people from the same country."
- Aurelie Chazal, Business 2 Community
Sending a tenant's call to an offshore call center can often do more harm than good. Some tenants feel undervalued while others feel that you are trying to save money by sending calls to agents overseas. As you compare call centers, be sure to ask if their agents are based in the United States to help ensure a high level of satisfaction.
4) How many years of property management experience do you have?
There is no substitution for experience in the call center industry - especially as you evaluate centers that cater to busy property managers. Try to resist the urge to choose a low-cost but inexperienced call center, as this could negate your efforts to increase tenant satisfaction. Instead, look for call centers with decades of experience handling property management issues.
5) Can you port existing numbers over?
The ability to port existing numbers ensures a smooth transition to a property management call center. Be cautious of call centers that do not have this capability, as you could end up expending valuable time and resources to manually enter numbers.
6) On average, how many times does the phone ring before an agent answers?
"If people don't want to wait on hold and your phone service staff can't handle the volume in a less than five minute fashion, perhaps even less than one minute fashion, you're going to disappoint customers."
- Jason Falls, Social Media Explorer
Scalability is a key feature to explore when comparing call centers. Your property management call center should have the resources to respond to incoming calls right away. Ideally, a live agent should respond to calls in 2 rings or less and customers should not be placed on hold for an extended period of time.
7) Can you SMS the on-call staff?
SMS messaging offers a fast, seamless way to convey information to on-call staff. With the ability to SMS on-call staff, pagers are no longer needed and record-keeping is facilitated. This enables property managers to maintain key statistics on response time and work conducted.
8) What happens if my on-call staff does not respond to a call from an agent?
The call center you select should have a clear-cut response to this question that reflects your specific business protocol. For instance, the call center manager might offer the following three-step process:
- The agent tries to contact the designated on-call staff twice
- A text message is then sent if there is no response from the on-call staff
- If no reply is received within five minutes, the agent will contact the designated backup staff
9) Do you have the resources to handle all of my properties?
"There are more renters than any time since 1965. More people are renting than at any other point in the past 50 years. In 2016, 36.6 percent of household heads rented their home, close to the 1965 number of 37 percent, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center based on data from the Census Bureau." - Abigail Summerville, CNBC
Finding a call center that can handle an increase in properties is essential to providing customers with continuity of service. Whether you are new to the property management industry or already handle multiple properties, you should make sure that you choose a call center that can grow alongside your business.
10) Do you place follow-up calls to request feedback from the tenant?
Follow-up calls help close the loop for customers with maintenance issues. More importantly, tenants feel valued when they receive a follow-up call from an agent. As you evaluate potential call centers, be sure to ask if their agents are accustomed to placing follow-up calls to help keep tenant satisfaction levels high.
Selecting the Best Property Management Call Center
Providing your tenants with live telephonic support is vital to ensuring their satisfaction with your property management services. By enlisting the support of a call center that offers the services outlined above, you can offer your tenants the peace of mind that they deserve. Westpark Communications is dedicated to helping you provide your tenants with that peace of mind by offering a comprehensive collection of property management call center services. With a team of talented agents based in the United States, Westpark offers the 24/7 support that your tenants crave. We invite you to contact us to learn how Westpark can boost your efficiency.