- July 24, 2014
- Posted by: @dmin
- Category: Condo Property Management Services
Are Your Toronto Property Management Companies Acknowledging Your Concerns?
Virtually every condominium owner can relate to this scenario: a maintenance issue occurs, a neighbour’s dog won’t stop barking, a parking dispute arises, or some other matter comes up requiring assistance from the complex’s property management company.
The phone call goes out. A day passes. Another day passes. After a week has gone by, you start to wonder if anyone ever got the message. You leave more messages, which again go unanswered. And condo owners and residents are not the only ones who have these issues.
Many condo boards also express disappointment at the lack of communication from their property managers. It may be simply requesting a piece of information to generate a report, or asking for assistance for something that’s needed for the monthly or quarterly board meeting.
If this sounds like your experience, you are not alone. Unfortunately, not all Toronto property management companies are created equal.
Consider some of these interesting data points about customer satisfaction in business in general:
- Some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings were given to a company who managed to address 99% of customer complaints within 7 days of receiving them.
- 89% of customers start to do business with a competing company when they have a poor customer service experience.
- Companies who lose a customer relationship due to poor customer service average a loss of $289 per customer per year that is lost – and that is across many different industries, not just property management.
- Consumers who have bad service interactions are increasingly likely to share their experiences online – the figure went up by 50% from 2009 to 2010 and continues to rise.
Despite these startling figures and the implications they hold for losing business and having to overcome a negative reputation, customer service continues to be an issue in Toronto property management, primarily when it comes to acknowledging tasks and concerns brought to the company by residents and the board. Many customers simply feel like they just are not being heard by their property managers. Or, if an issue is fixed or communication is issued, they do not always necessarily hear about it, leaving them wondering what the exact outcome was.
There are certain practices that condo residents and boards should expect from their property managers
Here are just a few of the things that we here at ICC® Property Management do in order to ensure our customers feel taken care of. We have gleaned this list of best practices from years in the field doing Toronto property management.
- Return all phone calls promptly. There are a number of myths and discourteous practices out there about phone calls and messages. Things like, “if it’s really important, they’ll call back” and “I’m too busy to return phone calls.”If you constantly find yourself making repeated phone calls to get an issue taken care of by your Toronto property management company, then it is possible that company is stretched too thin to handle your account in a satisfactory way.
Even if a company cannot address your concern immediately, it is not difficult to make a return phone call and to indicate they have received your message and will be looking into the problem you are reporting as soon as possible.
- Address requests and concerns in a reasonable timeframe. What do you consider an appropriate timeframe for addressing a problem that you have reported? It may often depend on the problem or concern, as some issues such as repairs and maintenance require ordering equipment and scheduling contractors. However, many issues can also be addressed fairly promptly – like issuing warnings about a noise complaint, requiring a violator to conform to the pet rules or educate them on picking up after their pets. At ICC®, we have an emergency hotline and an action plan for maintenance issues that might come up requiring immediate assistance. For all other concerns, we emphasize the importance of communication and return customer phone calls promptly to ensure that concerns are addressed in a timely manner.
- Set expectations upfront. Good Toronto property management companies will tell you upfront what to expect in terms of duties to be covered by them, duties to be covered by board members and residents, and typical timeframes for certain routine tasks. This practice acts as a preliminary acknowledgement of the main areas that will be under the purview of the management company versus other duties that must be handled by other parties. A good way to manage an ongoing relationship with a property manager is to ensure these types of things are put into the contract. This gives you, as a condo resident or condo board member, some added peace of mind, as it clearly delineates the duties the company is expected to take care of versus what is a board issue.
- Issue regular communication. A good way to acknowledge that these customer complaints are being addressed is for Toronto property management companies to send out notices and newsletters to residents detailing the current issues of the community.
For example, if there has been an increase in complaints about pet waste disposal, this might be addressed by sending out a letter to residents reminding them of the community’s policy about picking up after pets. Or, if there is a dispute about what proper parking procedures are during inclement weather to allow for proper snow removal, the property management company might solicit feedback from residents to get their insights and make them feel as if their opinions and concerns are being heard.
ICC® is one of the condo property management companies that Toronto has come to rely on for best practices in many of these areas. We have set many high standards for the industry through involvement in organizations like ACMO, of which ICC® founder and CEO Steven Christodoulou is currently serving as president.
Are you a condo resident? Share this article with your friends on social media and add a comment about how your property manager acknowledges your issues and concerns. We’d love to hear your feedback on what property managers are doing right and what they might need to improve on.