Posted on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 @ 03:56 PM by Carlos Lahrssen
Customer service is a concern for any company selling a product or service. The amount of customer service required per customer can largely depend on the amount of product or service available and frequency of usage for each.
Customer service may be needed once a year, once a month, or maybe even once a week. But how do you prepare for customer service needs when your customers are using your product 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week?
Tenant Inquiry: Calls for Customer Service
Apartments owned by a complex management company, but used by a customer on a monthly or yearly lease basis, create room for regular wear and tear, as well as little or big fixes that won’t appear on a schedule. Whether it’s the unexpected leak, clogged drain, light bulb replacement, or falling drywall—you need to be prepared to handle each situation swiftly.
Because the tenant does not own the property, coordination of maintenance and upkeep falls largely on complex management to get the job done—often requiring a series of calls: tenant-to-complex, complex-to-maintenance, and (hopefully if you’re really customer service savvy) a complex-to-tenant follow-up once the job is done.
Beyond maintenance requests, your tenants may have questions regarding lease terms, payment, and other general inquiries that require your immediate attention.
For some apartment complexes this can get overwhelming, and you may choose to appoint a particular employee or team of employees to oversee these tasks, either in-house or outsourced. Below, we give our thoughts on these solutions, and touch on why we feel your customers will see greater value in an in-house call center solution.
Distance Assist: Challenges with Outsourced Solutions
Some may consider outsourcing as a cheaper alternative to an in-house employee handling customer requests. While total costs will depend on the industry and specific call center requirements, many residential matters will require an expert for specific instructions or someone directly knowledgeable with the facility itself—in other words, this won’t be able to be handled by anyone that can just read off basic, scripted responses.
This task will also requires a much more personalized approach, as any complaints or requests not corrected by facility staff will be something the tenant has to live with until a solution is found.
Purely outsourced call centers may not be as involved in the community, the company's products or the corporate culture and will not have the same knowledge of the location and property quirks as in-house agents.
If it’s the only option you have, the outsourced call center can be a viable solution in some cases. But should you need to go this route, remember that it is always applied better through a mix of outsourced and in-house resources coexisting and collaborating for the betterment of your tenants.
The Friendly Neighbor Approach: Keeping Things In-House
A well-run in-house call center—meaning, a supervisor or team of supervisors that properly transmit company culture to agents—will result in a more focused and customer-oriented solution.
These individuals work on the property, and can work to know the tenants and the area just as well, or better, than those that live there through direct interaction. Their expertise, and ability to cultivate relationships on-site with tenants that will know their face and name and can build a trust toward their personalities, can prove to be invaluable to your complex’s operations.
Alternate Solutions to the Call
In the age of evolving technology and communications trends, we realize that picking up the phone to call is no longer the only communication solution. Some customers even avoid picking up the phone if they can help it. Choose to communicate through digital is a new norm.
There are companies, like Nexogy, that provide advanced call center solutions without the need to invest in any kind of additional hardware other than a phone or a soft phone on your agents’ computer, which allows for access to additional communications channels to supplement the customer service call—all from one desktop:
As you begin to assess your needs and discover the best call center solution for your units, keep your tenants and their needs in mind. Consider what they would want, their typical behaviors, and communications preferences, and you’ll be well on your way determining the best way to make yourself available to them in their time of need.
How does your business utilize call center solutions to assist with customer requests? Let us know in the comment section below.
Topics: call center