Category: Answering Service
7 out of 8 afterhours calls go to voicemail
Recent testing of property management companies uncovered some shocking results. Test calls placed to random property management operations across the United States found that only one in eight had a person answer the phone after regular business hours. The other seven calls, an appalling 87 percent, went to a voicemail system. “This suggests these companies place a low value on providing personal service to their present and future tenants,” said Adam Berkson, president of LiveVoice, which sponsored the comprehensive study. “I suspected it would be bad, but these results stunned me.”
The calls were intentionally placed after regular business hours, the times when most rental prospects and tenants would typically call. The agents who placed the test calls posed as prospective tenants who were interested in or requesting information about units available for rent.
“This provided us with an accurate indicator of the degree of customer service – or in this case, customer disservice – that most people would encounter when trying to rent an apartment or have a problem addressed,” Berkson added. “It’s no wonder most renters are frustrated because of their building management’s unresponsiveness.”
“A business’s responsiveness – or lack thereof – to telephone calls gives a strong indication of their overall commitment to customer service,” said industry expert Angela Garfinkel, president of Quality Contact Solutions. “This first impression, based on what customers receive when they call, indicates a business’s normal operating procedure.” Sadly, it will never get any better. If this is how they treat prospects, imagine how they will treat you once you sign a lease.
“An even greater concern is for the building owners who contract with management companies,” Berkson said. “Property owners should carefully vet potential property management firms before making a commitment. Call their number in the evening and on weekends,” he advises. “See how they answer and how long it takes them to respond. This is how they will treat your tenants. Is this what you want?”
While it’s not practical for most property management firms to have someone in their office 24/7 to answer phone calls, an obvious solution is to pass on this critical element to a telephone answering service that can fill in for property management personnel when they are away from the phone or not in the office. “It’s common sense, “Berkson concluded, “but 87 percent of property management companies simply don’t get it.”
The test calls were placed by trained agents from May 9 to May 25, 2016 to one hundred property management companies across the US. Testing expert Bill Haack coordinated the project and compiled the results.
Peter DeHaan, PhD, is a freelance writer, call center authority, and publisher of Connections Magazine, which covers the call center industry.