THE CUS­TOMER SER­VICE QUEEN Danelle Hunter

DANELLE HUNTER IS ONE TO WATCH when it comes to cus­tomer ser­vice – and she's got the AREA to prove it. As Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Big­gin & Scott Knox, here are her secrets for de­liv­er­ing the ul­ti­mate cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - HAN­NAH BLACKISTON

“Idon’t like be­ing quiet,” says Danelle Hunter. It’s why she chose a ca­reer in prop­erty man­age­ment and what keeps her so re­spon­sive to her clients. Danelle’s cus­tomer ser­vice ded­i­ca­tion cul­mi­nated in 2017 with a win at the AR­EAs, where she took the ti­tle for Ex­cel­lence in Cus­tomer Ser­vice – Res­i­den­tial. But it’s clear that Danelle isn’t in it for the recog­ni­tion; rather, she’s one of those peo­ple who just can’t switch off.

“I’m hope­less! If I’m awake at night I’ll re­ply to emails. I can be re­ply­ing to emails at 3am. I have clients writ­ing back to me say­ing, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why aren’t you in bed?’ The other night some­one asked for a fi­nan­cial state­ment and I sent it to him within two min­utes at 8pm on a Fri­day.”

In her ca­reer Danelle has done a bit of ev­ery­thing, from re­cep­tion to sales, which has led her to her cur­rent role in the top job. Her ex­pe­ri­ence in cus­tomer ser­vice is

at the fore­front when she trains her staff, en­sur­ing they’re de­liv­er­ing the same level of ex­cel­lence she prides her­self on.

“I fo­cus on train­ing new staff from the peer-to-peer sys­tem that I've de­vel­oped. I start by putting some­one on as my per­sonal as­sis­tant, so I can train them in the way I work and make sure they're an­swer­ing emails the same day, do­ing ev­ery­thing the same day.”

Hav­ing the skills to keep clients happy is the be­gin­ning of what makes a good prop­erty man­ager, but there are more pieces to the puz­zle. Be­ing a quick thinker and stay­ing cool un­der pres­sure are the other key fea­tures Danelle says are im­por­tant if you’re go­ing to be suc­cess­ful.

One thing she is quick to point out is that keep­ing clients happy doesn’t mean be­ing a pushover. It’s im­por­tant to show them that they’re us­ing your ser­vices for a rea­son and they should trust your judge­ment. Danelle says she’s re­alised in her ca­reer that her clients re­spect her ex­pe­ri­ence, and she no longer wastes time in places where it won’t de­liver value.

“It’s im­por­tant to main­tain your prop­er­ties well, and be firm with your land­lords and ten­ants. I don't let my

“I CAN BE RE­PLY­ING TO EMAILS AT 3AM. I HAVE CLIENTS SAY­ING, ‘WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU? WHY AREN'T YOU IN BED?'”

land­lords walk over me and say, ‘No, I won’t do that re­pair’. I let them know that they have no choice. I don’t waste time with mul­ti­ple quotes; I’m clear that my trades­per­son has been work­ing with me for ten years and he's great. He'll give them the best price. Be­cause my clients have that trust in me, it makes it eas­ier for me to man­age them and not waste time.”

As far as Danelle is con­cerned, de­liv­er­ing the kind of cus­tomer ser­vice that peo­ple rave about can eas­ily be boiled down to re­spond­ing in a timely fash­ion. The num­ber one com­plaint prop­erty man­agers get is from clients who have had to wait too long for a re­ply. Even if it’s just a quick ac­knowl­edge­ment email while you look into a prob­lem, Danelle says that mak­ing your clients feel heard is the quick­est way to build trust.

“That's the num­ber one com­plaint I have when I'm sign­ing up new busi­ness: they've had a bad ex­pe­ri­ence with cus­tomer ser­vice. Re­spond quickly, even if it's like, ‘I'm not sure of the an­swer – I need to look into it more and I'll get back to you’. It's bet­ter than ig­nor­ing them un­til you’ve thought it out.”

Danelle’s com­pul­sion to re­spond to emails im­me­di­ately stems from her time in sales, where an ig­nored re­quest can equal a lost trans­ac­tion. Bring­ing this ex­pe­ri­ence to her prop­erty man­age­ment of­fer­ings has al­lowed her to build a sub­stan­tial rent roll of ded­i­cated clients.

There are five of­fices cur­rently un­der Danelle’s man­age­ment, and her cur­rent fo­cus is on grow­ing those rent rolls. While one of­fice has been grown to around 350 prop­er­ties, an­other is just get­ting started, so she knows she’s got a lot of work ahead of her. But, con­sid­er­ing her ded­i­ca­tion to her clients, it seems un­likely that Danelle is scared of hard work.

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