How Maintenance Staff Directly Impact Your Renter Retention
What is your main criteria when hiring and training a new maintenance technician? Years of experience? Certifications? Previous employers? Historically, it has come down to whether or not they can get the job done quickly, correctly, and cost effectively. In this current day and age, simply getting the job done doesn't suffice. Today's residents care just as much about the experience as they do about the work being completed. Residents want someone who is positive, respectful and friendly; someone they trust to let into their home.
As automation consumes more and more of the renters life cycle, the importance of your technician-resident relationship increases. The result of these technological advancements is in one way or another, dissolving the need for human interaction. As processes such as rent payments, lease renewals, and almost all aspects of communication move online, your maintenance staff will often be the only human interaction many of your residents will encounter during their occupancy. The kicker is, when compared to leasing agents or site managers, maintenance technicians are often neglected the most when it comes to customer service training. The very people who have a growing influence on renewal rates. Fortunately, it is possible to strengthen this aspect of your resident's experience to create those more meaningful relationships.
1. Hire to Fit Your Culture
The most basic way to hire to fit your culture is to use your company's values as hiring criteria. If the applicant's values don't match that of the company's, then they probably won't be the best fit. Not only is the skill and experience they bring of value, but their personality and social skills are of increasing importance. It may take more time to find the perfect candidate, but the time and effort you invest now will pay dividends in the future as you begin to see your retention rates gradually incline.
Read, Building Culture Within Your Business, to get a better understanding of how to build an effective, trust and values based culture within your business that you can use as a base for not just hiring, but employee evaluations too.
2. Modified Training
It is crucial to provide ample training on all customer service related skills such as service etiquette, communication techniques, conflict resolution, and any other areas you see fit. There must also be an additional effort to ensure that your maintenance staff not only know the core values and behaviors of your company, but practice them in all aspects of their work. Emphasize to them that they are the face and physical representation of your company.
3. Technological Tools
In today's day and age everyone wants everything now. Wait times can kill your residents experience regardless of how good the work is. This can be resolved through the adoption of maintenance management software's. This can allow your residents to submit work orders online for quick responses, allow the resident to receive updates on the progress of the work, and provide a consolidated platform for the technician's, site mangers, and residents to log communication on.
In addition, providing your technician with technological tools to bring on site will allow them to access resident information in a matter of seconds to gain any additional insight needed. Many of the maintenance management software's on the market offer apps that allow you to have access to such features.
4. Technician Empowerment
Now that you have hired a technician that fits your culture and values, you've trained him/her on being an expert in customer service, and you've provided them with the right tools, you must empower them. All of this previous screening and invested resources should make you confident enough in them to allow your technicians to make decisions and handle situations on their own.
Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar, a work order has been issued to repair a closet door, while the technician is there, the resident informs him/her that the sink has been leaking a little bit of water. It could be as simple as tightening one of the connections, but to follow company procedure, the resident must re-submit a new work order and the technician must return to the suite at a later date. The entire process turns into an inefficient headache for everyone involved.
By empowering your technicians to make decisions while in the field, satisfaction and in turn retention will both grow.
A sense of care, support, and attention are all key ingredients in the recipe for retention. As processes move online and become automated, resident interaction with your company will gradually become even more dependent on your maintenance staff. If you haven't already began adopting these four tips, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to improve your retention rates.
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