16 April 2020
By Beth Lancaster, Senior Property Manager, FirstPort
Being a Property Manager can be stressful. There’s a lot of responsibility that comes with being the eyes and ears of a site, especially when most of what we do is behind the scenes, often during unsociable hours. It’s true that if we’re doing property management well, you won’t even know we’re doing it, and that can be tough too, as everyone likes to be thanked once in a while for their efforts!
If I have learnt anything from being a Property Manager for the last 20 years, it is that in order to manage our own personal stress well, self-care is essential.
As part of my own self-care, I’ve decided to share my top tips, designed to make both mine and my customers’ lives easier. As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved:
- Remember that residents are customers: Sounds simple, but as Property Managers we need to remember that all residents living in the properties we manage are our customers and they deserve empathy. If something is causing them stress, it is a problem. I always take the approach of ‘speaking without offending and listening without defending’. Why not try it?
Oh, and only call or email a customer when you are in the right frame of mind to respond with empathy.
- Over-communicate and take ownership: I always keep a reminder (in Outlook) of who needs to be kept in the loop on each issue. For example, if there is a leak into a property, I make a note of who needs to be contacted with information as the repair progresses, and by what medium (email/telephone/WhatsApp). I find that it prevents customers chasing and eases frustrations all round.
- Utilise and embrace IT! FirstPort provides IT to help Property Managers do their jobs better. Neglecting to use all the technology available can really add to our stress, after all, it’s being put in place to make our jobs easier. It may seem time consuming at first to navigate new or unfamiliar systems, however time spent using this IT regularly will really reap time-management rewards.
- Be responsive: I always reply to customers’ messages as they come in (this is much easier these days with handheld devices). This could be as I walk between blocks during inspections, or before I get out of the car on the next visit. Even a short acknowledgement saying something like, “I’ll reply in full by the end of the week”, will stop chaser emails. If I don’t immediately have the answer, I never speculate. A mistaken answer could end up costing you time, resources, energy, peace of mind, and maybe money – as well as being stressful!
I hope my tips have been useful. Here’s to stress-free customers and Property Managers.