FROM RE­VIEWS TO RE­FER­RALS

WORD-OF-MOUTH IS POS­SI­BLY THE MOST POW­ER­FUL RE­FER­RAL SYS­TEM for any busi­ness to flour­ish, and in the world of prop­erty man­age­ment this is no ex­cep­tion. Kasey McDonald looks at how you can build an army of pro­mot­ers to grow your rent roll.

Elite Property Manager - - FRONT PAGE - KASEY MCDONALD is Di­rec­tor of the Prop­erty Man­age­ment Train­ing Academy and Real Es­tate Train­ing Group. For more in­for­ma­tion visit pm­ta­cademy.com.au.

Noth­ing will de­stroy a rent roll quicker than a slew of bad re­fer­rals and an army of on­line haters. In the face of such a de­mand­ing job as prop­erty man­age­ment, how ex­actly do you safe­guard your de­part­ment from bad re­views and cre­ate a healthy tribe of pro­mot­ers to grow your busi­ness through re­fer­rals?

It’s a ques­tion I of­ten get asked by per­plexed prin­ci­pals and prop­erty man­agers who find them­selves in dam­age con­trol when they start los­ing prop­er­ties due to poor man­age­ment. Here are a few things you need to con­sider:

KNOW WHERE YOU STAND

I’m con­stantly shocked at how many prop­erty man­age­ment de­part­ments don’t eval­u­ate their own busi­ness and ask their clients and cus­tomers if they are en­joy­ing the level of ser­vice pro­vided. The first thing I ask prop­erty man­agers to do is ask them­selves whether their per­sonal stan­dards meet the stan­dard they pro­vide.

Would you do busi­ness with you? Would you use your prop­erty man­age­ment de­part­ment to man­age your in­vest­ment? Put your­self in the land­lords’ shoes and as­sess your own level of ser­vice.

LIS­TEN AND LEARN

The best way to gauge your level of ser­vice is to ask the ques­tions di­rectly to your clients and cus­tomers. Ul­ti­mately, you can­not beat good, old-fash­ioned ser­vice such as pick­ing up the phone and mak­ing the call; just be pre­pared for what you may hear, be­cause it mightn’t be what you’re ex­pect­ing. Re­mem­ber, don’t see poor feed­back as a neg­a­tive; see it as an op­por­tu­nity to make change and turn it into a pos­i­tive.

JUMP ON THE SUR­VEY BAND­WAGON

Con­duct­ing reg­u­lar sur­veys through por­tals like Sur­vey­Mon­key is a great way to get data around your ser­vice, and you can even get a Net Pro­moter Score (NPS) if you ask the right ques­tions.

An NPS mea­sures the will­ing­ness of cus­tomers to rec­om­mend your brand to some­one by break­ing them down into three types of peo­ple: De­trac­tors, Pas­sive and Pro­mot­ers. De­trac­tors are ob­vi­ously non-fans who wouldn’t rec­om­mend your brand, Pas­sives are some­where in the mid­dle and Pro­mot­ers are brand lovers.

Pro­mot­ers work as great am­bas­sadors for your brand out in the mar­ket­place and will of­ten lead to a strong re­fer­ral net­work; so it’s all about iden­ti­fy­ing and seg­ment­ing your clients, then con­vert­ing the De­trac­tors into Pro­mot­ers.

CHECK YOUR DIGITAL FOOT­PRINT

I’m al­ways sur­prised at how many peo­ple in prop­erty man­age­ment fail to Google them­selves or check Face­book for re­views. This is such an im­por­tant thing to do, be­cause bad on­line re­views can re­ally

WORD-OF-MOUTH AND RE­FER­RALS CAN BE EI­THER SU­PER-POW­ER­FUL OR SU­PER-DE­STRUC­TIVE.

dam­age your busi­ness and, in some cases, your own per­sonal brand.

It’s so im­por­tant to keep a fin­ger on the pulse and know what is be­ing said about your brand. Once you do this, you can ac­tu­ally start to ac­tion the con­ver­sion men­tioned above.

I’ve had prop­erty man­agers make con­tact with those who made bad re­views in a bid to rem­edy the sit­u­a­tion. If you do this – which can be a great tac­tic – be sure to do it with the right in­ten­tions and treat the ex­pe­ri­ence as an op­por­tu­nity to con­vert and make amends.

Of­fer to fix the prob­lem and don’t be afraid to ask them to change their re­view on­line if you can change the out­come or sort out the is­sue for them.

If you’re con­fi­dent in your ser­vice, con­sider adding a Face­book and Google re­view link on your email sig­na­ture so your clients can add a great re­view. If you have clients who you know love your ser­vice, don’t be afraid to ask them to click the link and write a re­view. It’s a great lit­tle way to start to spread some pos­i­tive feed­back on­line.

THE GIFT OF THE GAB

It’s a good idea to look at the data and iden­tify who your clients ul­ti­mately are. If we’re talk­ing about land­lords and your port­fo­lio is mostly top-end, then the de­mo­graph­ics of your client base might be mostly Baby Boomers or welle­d­u­cated pro­fes­sion­als, for in­stance.

Why is this im­por­tant? Well, you need to know the char­ac­ter­is­tics of your client base to com­mu­ni­cate to them ef­fec­tively and get the re­sults and word-of-mouth re­fer­rals that you truly want to grow your busi­ness.

For in­stance, did you know: • The ma­jor­ity of sat­is­fied peo­ple will share their ex­pe­ri­ence with be­tween one and five peo­ple. The power of word-of-mouth can­not be un­der­stated. • Gen X are most likely to grieve their an­noy­ances; in fact, 84 per cent of them will get vo­cal about poor ser­vice. The power of neg­a­tive word-of-mouth can be very dam­ag­ing, and can­not be un­der­stated ei­ther! • Mil­len­ni­als are most likely to ex­press their good for­tune and great ex­pe­ri­ence with up to 20 peo­ple. Imag­ine how quickly you could cap­i­talise off re­fer­rals if you had a large pro­por­tion of Mil­len­ni­als in your port­fo­lio and you gave them a great ex­pe­ri­ence! How many Mil­len­ni­als make up your client base? • The ma­jor­ity of peo­ple who have a bad ex­pe­ri­ence then vent that

ex­pe­ri­ence to be­tween one and five peo­ple.

THE BEST WAY TO GAUGE YOUR LEVEL OF SER­VICE IS TO ASK THE QUES­TIONS DI­RECTLY TO YOUR CLIENTS AND CUS­TOMERS.

Word-of-mouth and re­fer­rals can be ei­ther su­per-pow­er­ful or su­per-de­struc­tive to a prop­erty man­age­ment de­part­ment. If you want to grow your rent roll (or clog up holes in terms of re­ten­tion) it’s a good idea to cre­ate and im­ple­ment a CX strat­egy on how to of­fer ser­vice that goes above and be­yond to build your­self an army of pro­mot­ers. ■

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