In my sales training, I’ve learned how to handle common concerns: Fear of Change. Competition. Cost.
But there’s one ‘concern’ from my commercial office audience that I have a hard time with and it’s to the tune of: “we don’t want to give our tenants online access because we value our face-to-face interactions and phone calls.”
To clarify, this would be in reference to having a Tenant Portal: a place where tenants can log-on and privately access their handbooks, emergency procedure plans, submit building visitors, and of course, submit and track their work order requests.
Below are list of reasons why I object to this:
IF I’M YOUR TENANT, I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE TO TALK TO YOU
Providing a portal for your tenants is a value-add. Your tenants can still call you if they want. They can still walk into your office. If you’re worried about this going away, try putting a box of Girl Scout cookies on your desk. Just please give me (me = tenant) the option to not have to talk to you.
YOU’RE MORE LIKELY TO MESS UP
You’re in the middle of doing something and your phone rings, or a tenant walks into your office. You either ignore the call or half-listen (faux-pas, you’re already hurting tenant satisfaction and you haven’t even done anything). OR, you stop what you’re doing and “buh-bye for now productivity.”
You’re human. You may get distracted and forget or misplace things. Don’t let not having an outlet for your tenants be a reason to have anything fall through the cracks.
YOUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR TENANTS DOES NOT MEAN YOU’LL RETAIN THEM AT THE END OF THEIR LEASE.
I say this respectfully. I loved my property manager at my last (apartment) building. She was fun, super cool, and we even went out for drinks a couple times after building events. But (sorry Heather if you’re reading this), I did not think that my building was run well and I had zero qualms about not re-signing my lease.
Service delivery matters.
IT’S THE 21ST CENTURY
Due to popular demand, Building Engines just came out with a wicked awesome Tenant Mobile App (you can reach out to us if you want to know more) so tenants can access building info and submit requests directly from their Mobile device. Humble brag.
My point is, having a Tenant Mobile app is the new ‘high-tech bonus feature’, and that in this day and age having a Tenant Portal should be the basic expectation.
If your building/s do not have a Tenant Portal, I’d like to think there’s a budget reason (hey, we all have a budget, no judgement there). But please do not convince yourself that it’s better and that everyone likes it this way because it’s NOT better and your tenants certainly DON’T like it.
There are many other things you can be doing to gain a rapport such as having a tool like our Mobile Tenant Center where you will have more informed Tenant meetings, avoid surprises, and proactively react & capture information.
Oh, and I was serious about the Girl Scout cookies too. 🙂