If you ask property management professionals whether they have a service delivery program, the answer is invariably something along the lines of “of course we do.” If you dig a little deeper and ask about the composition of that program, the responses are more varied in terms of detail and consistency.
People will often talk about answering the phones, how service requests are handled, walking the floors, and the personalized approach they take to dealing with their tenants. These are all good and important activities.
But when asked what kind of data is captured to measure the efficacy the service program, the answers are often along the lines of, “we just know”, “we conduct an annual survey that tells us how we’re doing” or even, “well we’ve always had high occupancy rates, so we must be doing it right!”
In today’s data-driven, real-time world, this generalized approach to tenant service is quickly becoming not good enough.
The Service Delivery Customization Conundrum
It’s no secret that service delivery programs are essential to tenant retention and attraction and that this is one thing completely under your control. Can you keep the tenants that you have, while attracting new ones with your current service quality?
Meeting tenant expectations is a huge challenge, especially when they’re already used to highly personalized experiences with other products and services. And to complicate things further, the typical approach to tenant/customer service places an inordinate amount of attention on a single primary contact.
How can you meet tenants where they’re at today through service customizations, and without sacrificing quality, when you’re only in touch with one person within their organization?
Beware of (Service Delivery Program) Imitation
Anyone can claim to have a service delivery program, but a truly modern, effective service delivery program demands much more than simply completing work order requests. I’m talking about things like:
- Creating and communicating clear standards of performance to your staff and tenants.
- Utilizing technology effectively with a high emphasis on mobile to deliver better service.
- Measuring both timely delivery and quality of service in real time.
- Capturing all data and sharing that with complete transparency internally and with your customers.
If you’re not doing these basic things now, then chances are that you’re not implementing the best practices that your competitors are and that your tenants are growing to expect. And while change is hard, all great organizations know that change is necessary to remain competitively relevant. This fact is particularly true today when tenant expectations are evolving so rapidly.
Tenant needs, they are a’changing
Even the steps outlined above only represent the basic foundation to where we believe commercial real estate tenant service is going.
We recently conducted an extensive survey on tenant relationship management with over 320 organizations responding and we’ll make the results of that survey available soon. In general, they validate our belief that significant changes are coming. It’s clear that the current systems for measuring tenant satisfaction can improve and that there is a need to engage with more occupants in any building.
We’ll be talking a lot more about this in the coming months and providing best practice recommendations and insights as well as significant new product initiatives that will continue to help our clients manage and meet their client’s expectations.
In the meantime, we recommend that you begin the internal conversation about the changing landscape, and prepare to embrace the process changes that will be required for your continued success.
Remember: the 7 most expensive words in business are “We have always done it this way!”