One of the hardest parts of being a property manager is having to deal with tenant service requests. It’s not that there are too many of them for your maintenance team to deal with. It’s more that there is often not enough information contained in them to even make an educated guess as to what type of problem the tenant is actually having.
But How Does This Happen?
While there may be times when the tenant themselves is unable to verbalize clearly what type of problem they have, more often than not, the problem lies in the office where the initial report is taken. It is entirely up to the person who is taking the report to ask the right questions and write down the answers clearly. Without this information, the service technician can at best only guess at what is needed.
Not only is this frustrating for the tech and the tenant, but it wastes a lot of very valuable time, which in turn ends up costing you money that could be better spent elsewhere. The good news is that there is a simple solution to this problem, one that won’t cost you a cent. But, at the same time, one that will gain you a significant amount of appreciation from your tenants.
How Can You Fix the Problem for Free?
Most people will tell you can’t get something for nothing, and in most cases, it’s true. But the only cost involved in fixing this particular problem is a printer, paper, ink, and time. The idea is for you to create a checklist for your office staff to use each time a tenant calls in a maintenance request. Consider creating a checklist for your staff to use.
Items to include:
|· Name, unit number, email, phone number, best contact number to reach them||· Location of problem – what room or specific part of the unit is the problem|
|· What is not working i.e. stove, fridge, toilet, bathtub?||· What seems to be the problem – noise, not working|
|· What have you done to try and fix the problem – Drano, plunger, flipped breakers?||· Any other information the tenant can give you about the problem that might help identify it|
Make sure your staff avoids the use of yes/no answers, they never provide enough information to be of any value. A much better choice would be to have your staff ask the tenant a series of open-ended questions designed to encourage the tenant to elaborate and provide detailed information.
You may even want to schedule a meeting with your maintenance team and your office staff. This will give them time to go over things like the most common maintenance requests, what type of information they should be asking for and how everyone can work together to help improve your service’s response to every maintenance request no matter how minor it might seem. Your tenants expect the best from you, including taking care of their maintenance needs. Why not make sure you give it to them.