“Just Because,” Explanations Don’t Replace Exceptional Service

The grounds look rough because maintenance is on vacation.

The leasing staff was frustrated with a new policy so they were abrupt with a prospect on the phone.

The turn process took longer than anticipated because the cleaner is being trained.

The manager didn’t return the call because they were waiting for more information.

The air conditioning repair wasn’t completed because parts are on order.

All of these explanations have merit, but how do these shortcomings affect our business of providing quality service to residents and prospects?

How is a prospect going to react to trash on the property or an unkept appearance? Will they think, “oh the grounds crew must be short staffed?” Unlikely, a higher probability is.. “I don’t want to live here, the grounds are a mess.”

After an abrupt conversation with the office staff, is the prospect going to temper their reaction with the qualifier, “I wonder why they’re having a bad day?” More likely, the reaction will be, “What a grouch, I wouldn’t want to live there.”

Analyzing the daily actions at a property, there are often explanations to justify shortcomings in performance and presentation. How does this affect our efforts to market and manage the property?

Each and every conversation or contact with a resident or prospect could be the decision maker as to whether they will lease or renew. If the impact of each contact was viewed as the decision maker would there be more emphasis on customer service?

Property managers are overseeing multimillion dollar businesses. Pride and ownership for the property by the entire staff will be reflected in every aspect of the property operations.

Vacations are scheduled and planned, adjustments for staffing should be in place to complete all assigned tasks. Possibly, a team meting is warranted when there are unexpected absences to communicate the need for shared responsibility to handle the tasks on the schedule for that day. Training for a new maintenance team member, should focus on the need for thoroughness to provide a quality presentation in the new home, as well as timeliness because the individual is waiting to move in.

The investment of marketing dollars to generate traffic requires focus to maximize the leasing efforts. The leasing guidelines to wait for two, three rings, get the guest card, smile and prepare for a leasing call, apply to each and every phone call received.

Setting the bar to expect exceptional performance, instead of providing explanations for the performance shortcomings, will establish a property reputation for providing quality customer service.


Lori Hammond
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