The August Power Panels webinar focused on conflict resolution in multifamily. Our expert panelists, Leigha Middendorf, Senior Resident Relations Manager at Monarch, and Tynisha Holmes, Director of Customer Relations at PAC, offered some great takeaways on: skills that are needed to de-escalate high tension moments with residents, how to resolve an issue directly with a resident without overstepping the onsite team and giving the resident the impression that they can bypass the onsite team in the future, and what skills they think are most valuable for a customer relations expert to have.
Additionally, there was a question posed to the webinar attendees related to the most common issue/pain point for their residents. There were 3 prominent pain points that attendees shared, so we reached out to our panelists and asked them for their expertise on how they might handle them within their company. Below are those pain points and an opportunity that might also work in your company or community to help resolve them.
- Paint Point: Maintenance turnover and/or lack of a full maintenance team is causing slow turnaround times.
- Resolution: I believe the best thing to do in this situation is to be honest with your residents. Let them know what’s going on. You will find that they will be a lot more understanding. Communication is key. If we are communicating to our residents that work order time may be longer than expected, it will allow them an opportunity to be understanding. Also, courtesy calls are great as well. It’s a reminder to the resident that we are aware that you’ve placed a work order and following that I recommend providing a timeframe on when someone will be able to address it. Also, utilize service request forms that maintenance leaves in the apartment communicating work done or work still needed and why (ie work order not completed because a new part needs to be ordered) and make sure that someone from the office follows up with a timeframe and/or a temporary solution. When in doubt – overcommunicate.
- Pain Point: Life expenses are increasing, causing renters to be more frustrated with rent increases and more likely to ask why and want to be shown the value of what they are paying for.
- Resolution: Be upfront and transparent with residents and let them know what they can expect from a rental increase. Aside from any concessions or renewal gifts offered, encourage them to shop and compare pricing with other communities in the area; often they will be surprised to see how competitive rents are right now. If you’re not the most inexpensive option, make sure to showcase the value in your community by highlighting the amazing amenities, the quality of service from your team, and even community events. Sometimes providing a complete list of moving costs is helpful too! Individuals will see an increase and get sticker shock when they may not consider how expensive moving and leasing a new apartment is.
- Paint Point: Neighbor complaints and/or residents not utilizing common courtesy in community and with neighbors.
- Resolution: Listen, acknowledge, and take action. Instead of pointing out one particular unit, send a friendly reminder e-blast to the ENTIRE building (or print a letter for each door), letting them know X, Y, Z is happening, etc. Then, follow up in a few days to see if the issue is resolved. Do your due diligence by having team members walk the hallway periodically throughout the day to see if they can witness it themselves. Suppose they can confirm the issue is coming from a specific apartment. In that case, they will be able to contact the individual directly, give them a warning and then let them know additional action will be taken (such as a lease violation) if this persists. It may also help to include friendly reminders in a monthly community newsletter; it’s a great space to be vocal about repeated issues – and if it’s an issue that can be resolved through education, such as where all of the pet waste dispensers are located or how to access the pool or other common amenity and who is authorized to use the spaces – provide that information as well.