Category: Answering Service
49% of property management companies fail to return a message to prospective renters, leaving callers perplexed
Test calls placed to property management companies revealed that a shocking 87 percent of calls went to voicemail and half of those calls were never returned. “This goes beyond being disrespectful; it’s bad business – make no mistake,” says Adam Berkson, president of LiveVoice, which sponsored the insightful study. “The voicemail messages were from people wanting to rent or lease property. They had a need and were ready to spend money, yet no one bothered to return their calls. And even those who did respond, most took way too long to call back.”
Given such a poor response, we are left to wonder how these property management companies stay in business. “If you were a property owner, would you trust a property management company to represent you professionally if they don’t return phone calls?” asks Berkson.
“I’d love to commission a study to find out why property management companies are so poor at customer service. But when most use voicemail to answer their phones and half won’t return phone calls, it would be impossible to gather useful information.” We can only speculate as to their reasons:
Perhaps the property management companies don’t call back because they have no vacancies at that time. But at the very least they should provide the courtesy of a return phone call to let people know. And if they leave a positive impression, they could be the first number prospective tenets call the next time they have a need.
However, anyone who manages a building or group of properties knows that vacancies can occur at any time, often unexpectedly. Why not compile a waiting list? Then they can fill future vacancies fast.
Some property management staff may be too busy to return phone calls or can’t return them in a timely manner. “Although this is an explanation,” says Berkson, “it is not an excuse.” When businesses fail to perform basic functions, they must resolve the problem. They may need to streamline their processes, hire more staff, or get some outside help.
Hiring an answering service to assist with basic phone functions would be an ideal, cost-effective step. “Answering services can give out property information, communicate vacancy status, screen prospective tenets, and follow up with people by phone, email, or text,” adds Berkson.
No One Knows
These are just speculations. Only the employees who are not returning phone calls know for sure. “I believe the owners of property management companies want to provide good service to tenets and prospective tenets,” says Berkson. “I suspect the breakdown likely falls to individual employees and is not indicative of the entire organization.” Berkson recommends owners of property management companies place periodic afterhours test calls to their business to personally experience what happens. Then they can take appropriate action.
The test calls for this study were placed from May 9 to May 25, 2016 to one hundred property management companies across the United States. Testing coordinator Bill Haack oversaw the calls, compiled the results, and provided analysis.