Making it easy for a customer to complain may seem counter-intuitive to hassle-free property management, but an easy-access complaints policy can actually help to reduce complaints going forward.
Ian Hollins of Manchester-based property management experts, Clear Building Management explains.
No one enjoys dealing with complaints. Particularly if you’ve been doing your best to deliver a fault-free property management service and something outside of your control has gone wrong. But, as property managers, we ignore complaints at our peril.
Open communication between managing agent, RMC directors and leaseholders is, of course, key and will ensure that most ‘issues’ are picked up before they enter complaints territory.
However, leaseholders and RMC directors must also have a clear route to raise complaints at the earliest possible stage – and before they turn into a situation that escalates and becomes too difficult to resolve.
Every managing agent will have their own way of dealing with complaints.
At Clear Building Management we believe customers should be able to complain in whatever way suits them best, whether in person, over the phone, by email, by text, or through our online portal.
In terms of response, we would recommend aiming to resolve all complaints by the end of the next business day. This is surprisingly possible!
For more complicated complaints or those that cannot be immediately resolved, it is essential to keep the ‘complainant’ informed as to your plans to both investigate and resolve the issue.
Regular progress reports are key; it’s no good having an all-singing, all-dancing complaints policy if you then abandon issues halfway through the process. Keep your leaseholders updated with progress – even if there is nothing substantive to report, you need to show that you are doing your best to keep moving towards a resolution.
As flat dwellers ourselves, we know all too well the effect on day to day life of a managing agent that doesn’t respond to calls, isn’t on top of maintenance matters or who simply doesn’t seem to care.
A tricky complaint may take days or even weeks to sort out but, if you can demonstrate both empathy and urgency, then a disgruntled customer can quickly become an advocate.
Back to our original point and, whilst no one likes a complaint, they can be a source of valuable feedback and help to drive better property management.
For a more customer-focused approach to residential property management, talk to the team at Clear Building Management.
Our commitment to keeping our customers happy was first rewarded in August 2016, when we became the first independent managing agent to be given the ‘Customer Service Excellence Award’ by the Cabinet Office.