In September 2015, Rentwest won the Communications Award at the REIWA Awards for Excellence. It was a big achievement for our small team and highlighted the lengths we go to in order to maintain strong, positive relationships with our property owners, tenants and contractors, and within our team.
In property management, it’s crucial that we communicate well. Over the years we’ve learned the hard way what works and what doesn’t. I’d like to share three things we’ve learned about good communication.
Good communication involves effort
Communication plays an important role in all businesses, regardless of the industry. At Rentwest we’ve found that communicating well involves having a clear strategy; the use of different platforms and mediums to reach different people and, most importantly, sustained effort. Good communication doesn’t just happen; you have to work hard at it.
If you think about it, communication is often the first thing that slips during busy times. At Rentwest we ensure that this doesn’t happen, even if our team is spread thin. If a property owner or tenant calls with a question, a staff member is always available to help them. If the property manager or assistant property manager assigned to the property is unavailable, the call is taken by our General Manager, Michelle Rigg, or me.
In our office, client communication is not a question of ‘your job’ or ‘my job’. Giving our clients the best service is always our job.
Good communication builds a strong team
A positive team culture is a foundation upon which you can do amazing things. At the heart of this team culture lies respectful communication that inspires people to do their best.
There are a lot of challenges in property management, so we make it a priority to ensure that our team morale is kept high. We do this by recognising things like personal and team achievements and peer-voted awards like Employee of the Year. We also celebrate milestones like staff birthdays and team members’ anniversary dates. We keep on top of all these moments by maintaining a shared team calendar.
Acknowledging milestones is important because it brings us closer together and allows us some time to reflect on our achievements.
Good communication involves moving with the times
Long gone are the days when a simple newsletter every few months would suffice for keeping in touch with clients.
Effective communication in the digital age doesn’t just mean having a presence on all the major social media platforms – it also involves developing unique content for followers and being available to answer questions or interact with them. Every phone call, email, Facebook message or tweet is answered because every single one is important to our business.
At Rentwest our multifaceted approach to communication involves a lot of different tasks, including:
- regularly updating our website;
- regularly updating our blog;
- writing unique content for our monthly newsletters to owners and tenants;
- updating social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn) several times a week;
- actively promoting community and charity events;
- participating in industry groups;
- preparing comprehensive inspection reports for both tenants and property owners;
- collating reviews and testimonials from clients.
We’ve found it necessary to train team members to be able to manage certain aspects of our communication strategy. This serves as another way we differ from our competitors and we consider it a great extra service for our clients.
When you run a business, communication is at the heart of what you do. If you do it well, your business will be in a better position to thrive. Make communication a goal for 2016 and you’ll see for yourself the amazing things you can achieve.
Written by Suzanne Brown.