How your people skills can improve your property retention rate: Danelle Hunter

The true value of a real estate business lies within its rent roll, and the number of properties managed can often mean the difference between a business running at profit or a loss. In order to really harness their true potential, it’s pivotal that property managers maintain a strong customer retention rate and leave a positive impression on their landlords.

Fundamentally, our industry is all about people, and just like any other people-based business, we as real estate agents must consistently nurture our professional relationships. With more than 12 years of industry experience, I have seen first-hand how important customer service is if you want to keep listings and see your retention rate soar.

At Biggin & Scott Knox, our approach to property management is quite different from most. Our agents are responsible for the full property management process and provide a full spectrum service, because we believe it’s important for our customers to have one point of contact who is aware, at any given time, of what’s happening with their property.

Time and time again, we meet with new customers who are dissatisfied with their past agency. Usually, this will be because of something such as the agent taking too long to get return calls, or not bothering to update them on important issues. In the eyes of a customer, these simple things are not so simple, and if an agent cannot afford them these small courtesies it is likely they’ll soon take their business elsewhere.

Our team has recently achieved a 100% retention rate, and we are proud to be able to say that we have not lost a property within the last 12 months, other than those which have been sold and are no longer available to rent. In the last year alone, our department has achieved a 46.3% growth, which is something I believe we owe to our strong people skills and commitment to customer service.

Here are some of our key techniques that have helped us to consistently attract and retain landlords at Biggin & Scott Knox.

Build up a strong rapport

When you first meet a new potential customer, you only have a short period of time in which you can win their trust and communicate how well you can and will take care of their property. This is why I believe it’s crucial to be able to build rapport quickly. Making the effort to ask thoughtful questions and engaging the customer in a meaningful conversation is a guaranteed way to make sure they remember you.

Continuous communication

Same day communication is a policy I strongly stand behind – and while it isn’t always easy to implement, I know that this is the number one reason why many of my clients have continued to work with me for so many years. I make it my mission to respond to every email and answer every enquiry as soon as I can, without fail. This means that even if a customer has sent me an email at 3am, I respond the moment I wake up!

Provide a gold standard service

To truly stand out from the competition, try to cater to each customer’s individual needs. At Biggin & Scott, we do things for our clients that other property managers simply don’t do. In addition to day-to-day duties, we assist with the setup of trust accounts, help organise renovations, help clients process insurance claims and pay bills on their behalf through their rent. We’ve even been known to clean a dirty property to make sure the owners are left happy and once we had an owner forget to silicone a broken tile, so one of our property managers did it for him while she was completing the condition report so he didn’t have to make another trip!

Automate systems

Maintaining consistency is key to ensuring happy clientele and I have discovered that automation through systems assists us with achieving this goal without losing the personalised touch. As a result, I have completely automated our property management department with a range of software which reduces the amount of manual labour our Property Managers are responsible for, freeing up their time to ensure that their levels of customer service are consistently superior. Systems we have implemented with great effect include Asana, Console and InspectRealEstate.

At the end of the day, real estate always has and always will be a people-based business, and if you’re looking for ways to improve your property retention rate the single best thing you can do is to recognise this, and make it work to your advantage.

First Published in Elite Agent on 31/01/2018