As a residential property manager, what are the fundamental factors that persuade your clients – whether leaseholders or committees – to recommend you?
The changing face of recommendation
New business development in the market has always been highly driven by recommendation, as targeting leaseholders and committees is a hard task to do directly.
However, the way that recommendations are made today is changing. In addition to meeting at networking events, leaseholders and tenants share information via online forums such as LinkedIn, Twitter and industry-specific websites.
It is common sense that in this digital age, prospects will look positively upon businesses – including block management companies – that use IT efficiently and effectively.
This could be:
- The speed and quality of your responses to queries and issues such as maintenance problems.
- Accurate service charges, forecast correctly, which can be paid online in an easy and convenient way.
- The professionalism and efficiency of your service and of the contractors you hire, which assures them that their property is in good hands.
- The transparency and facility of your online property management portal, which gives them up-to-date information and transaction details.
- Regular and frequent communication and updates on important issues, so that they feel well-informed and that you are responsive and engaged.
Each of these areas can best be achieved through smart, comprehensive property management software.
So how should block managers go about selecting such technology? How can they judge what will best enable them to achieve the business growth they seek?
Here are some factors to bear in mind:
- Look at what systems other block managers have adopted. Consider the size of their operations, the type of clients they work with and the type of properties they handle.
- Consider buying a property management software package that has proved itself a market leader, with a strong reputation within the industry. Look for cases studies and seek references.
- Calculate how much time and resources you can save, which can be reinvested in new business development. A great software package should present significant opportunities to market your services more widely.
- Find out about the business insights that a property management system can offer. For example, it may allow you to view your property data to produce detailed forecasts and reports.
- Consider the online and self-service functionality of a property management system. New clients will place a high value on this aspect: it improves communication, speed of response and data integration while saving money and time.
- Seek out a system that can offer you the ability to market to both leaseholders and residents, driving revenue from all building users.
- Prioritise a supplier with a well-worked out mobile and apps strategy, together with Software as a Service (SaaS). This shows that you are at the forefront in adopting new technology, to the benefit of your clients.
- Choose a system that can allow high levels of collaboration between all stakeholders in the property management process, driving further efficiencies through the whole supply chain.
- Look for a property management software provider with strong training and support. As a block manager, your employees may not be IT experts, so you want them to gain good understanding and use of software quickly, and be able to help your clients to use it.
So, in summary, to achieve optimum results and to grow your business, it is crucial to have demonstrable technology that supports the following areas:
- Accurate and well managed service charges.
- Excellent relations with contractors, together with fast response times.
- Frequent and full communications to all stakeholders.
- Efficient administration and good use of resources.
- Compliance with RICS and ARMA regulations, along with an awareness of current and forthcoming legislation.
The more work you are able to take on, the better able you will be to pitch to new clients. By demonstrating your ability to handle higher volumes of work, you can also stress the benefits to clients: you can negotiate discounts from contractors and suppliers, and achieve other economies of scale in your own administration.
It’s the ultimate good recommendation: hire this block manager and get great service. Few people would argue with that.