According to the 2018 State of the Property Management Industry Report, co-published by the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM), data suggests that investment property owners using management services want to receive empathy-driven customer service, along with the best of technological support.
Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Some property management companies, of course, excel at one and not so much with the other, and even property management firms with both skill sets can struggle to find the right blend between these two requirements of investment property owners.
Looking at Empathy
A 2018 article from Forbes.com reports how empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of other people – is actually on the decline, which may explain why investment property owners are feeling its lack. Empathy, however, is critical to successful property management.
Here are three reasons why it’s so important in this industry:
- Property management is a people-focused activity, consisting of a transaction between property owners and their tenants. Owners want to offer desirable housing in a way that maximizes their ROI and tenants want quality housing and easy ways to communicate their needs. On both sides of the equation are real people with real needs.
- The property manager, then, is the person in the middle, charged with effectively communicating with both parties, ideally using practical empathy, which means that he or she can look at a situation from another person’s perspective and offer practical solutions.
- Practical empathy involves, in part, the ability to carefully listen to what someone else is saying to discern what the real concern is and solve that issue. For example, a tenant who seems especially upset about a leaky pipe may really be worried that his elderly mother, when visiting, could slip and fall if the leak doesn’t quickly get fixed. If that’s the case, then reassuring the tenant that he won’t be responsible for the water bill increase that month isn’t really addressing his concern.
Adding Technology to the Mix
When you own investment property, you want to maximize your return on investment and, when you’re hiring a property management firm, you want one that shares that goal and has systems, processes and procedures in place to make that happen.
Because, let’s face it. When technology is used well in property management, it can create an experience for the property owners and tenants alike that’s virtually frictionless (which eliminates many of the bumps along the road that can impact ROI).
For example, when your tenants can report problems online and quickly receive a response, this streamlines the process – and, when the property management firm responds quickly, the tenant is going to be more satisfied than when the process is clunky.
Satisfied tenants are less likely to look for a new place to live, which helps to increase tenant longevity. Tenants who stay longer means lower vacancies, reduced turnover costs, and maximum ROI. Your ROI.
Having technology that’s intuitive for tenants to understand, that provides ease of use and that facilitates smooth communication, in routine situations and emergency ones alike, is crucial in today’s times. And, let’s be real. If you have younger tenants (Millennials and Gen Z, for example), many of them will be exceptionally tech-savvy and likely to become quite impatient when streamlined technological solutions aren’t available for them to use.
According to information from the Ocala Chamber & Economic Partnership (CEP), The Ocala MSA grew by nearly 120 people a week from 1 July 2016 – 30 June 2017. The Millennial population (25-34) grew by 15.8% from 2012-17; this was double the US average and among the highest for all small metros. For investors wanting to appeal to the younger demographic, technology integration is a must.
Blending Empathy and Technology
It’s easy to see why you’d want an empathetic property management firm when choosing one for your rental properties – and it’s also easy to see the benefits of strategically using technology to optimize ROI and streamline the management and communication processes.
But, how do you seamlessly mix the personal touch with automated services? This is a bigger issue than just the property management industry, of course. It’s an issue that we’re tackling as a society, overall. At Resolute Property Management, we always want to follow the modified Golden Rule – to treat others as THEY would like to be treated – we focus our attention on generational differences as well as personal preferences of people of all ages to provide what owners and tenants want and need.
What we’re saying, then, is that the intersection between the personal touch and technology is a moving target, one that isn’t the same for different groups of people. Gen Zs and Millennials may stream their movies, for example, while others like to physically go to Redbox and hold the movie in their hands. Still others of us still long for the Blockbuster retail experience.
None of these are wrong choices, but they clearly are different choices.
So, this is where empathy and emotional intelligence come back into play. Truly effective property managers can gage how people feel about differing levels of technology and they offer choices that range from the most cutting-edge technology available to forms of technology that ease people into new ways of doing business.
Resolute blends the personal touch with technology to create an exceptional experience for both renters and owners. Give us a call and we’ll show you how we can help you grow your ROI by delivering exceptional service too.