There are many strategies that can be implemented and tips that can improve tenant communications and make commercial real estate business run smoothly and efficiently. Below are several key pointers that will help both property managers and tenants communicate professionally and to the best of their ability.
1. Define The Members Of Your Target Audience
Executive Level: Who signs the lease? Business Contact: Who is the point‐person for meeting with members of the building team? Who meets with the property managers to discuss how things are going? Administrative: Who submits work orders or calls when something isn’t working or needs attention? Billing/AP: Who do you call when you need something paid? Groups: What are the groups of people you may need to communicate with such as emergency teams, mobility impaired, or emergency first responders?
By clearly defining all points of contact you can create a go-to list when implementing your commercial communications strategy.
2. Create Communication Frameworks
Create frameworks for the most common communication types that will be used with tenants.
Consider daily communications, periodic scheduled messaging, crisis communications, and implementing a continuous feedback loop.
Use these frameworks to build a robust client communication plan that can be linked to your pre-defined target audiences for clarity and ease when communicating.
3. Determine Items To Be Communicated
These items may include:
Work orders/Service Requests
Local Events (Non‐emergency)
Crisis Communications (PR)
Associate and assign responsible team members and processes
Clearly identify which building team members will be in charge of which action items, and set targets for completion.
Who will communicate with regard to leasing? What about billing? Who will you assign for work orders? What about emergencies?
Communicating proactively with tenants is one of the top ways property managers can increase tenant satisfaction.
5. Plan An Account Management Strategy
Clearly describe the timeline for implementation of all regularly scheduled meetings/visits with tenants.
Prioritize and schedule based on renewal dates & tenant size.
Be informed going in. Are there any issues, concerns, or unresolved problems? Make sure you know the status of open items.
What do you want to learn? How is their business doing? Space needs? Feelings about the building?
Capture all meeting and discussion notes.
If a tenant service‐related (or any contentious) issue involves an exchange of more than 3 messages, go see that tenant in‐person to discuss the situation. Don’t forget to document the conversation!
With these five key areas addressed, here are some additional pointers to further improve your tenant communications.
Be A Good Listener: Everyone wants to be heard. By focusing on what your tenants are saying to you, you’ll be better prepared to respond appropriately. Give them time to express their needs, wants and feelings, instead of simply sharing yours.
Set Clear Expectations: Unmet expectations are a quick way to sour a relationship. Be clear with your expectations. The experience will be much more enhanced on both sides of the relationship if clear expectations are laid out. Clear communication of expectations should start at the time of the lease signing.
Recognize Different Communication Styles: Some tenants speak quickly and want quick resolutions. So, get right to the point. Others want more details and background, so give them more explanations. Some don’t want to know you as a person, and are happy to have a text-only relationship, while others want to connect with you. Take a little time to learn about tenants, and you’ll figure out their style.
Don’t Be Distracted: Put away the cell phone, stop answering emails, and focus on the conversation that you’re having. In today’s technology-focused society, this is a common pitfall that new real estate agents should avoid. It can be hard to step away from your devices, but effective communication in a face-to-face setting depends on it.
Consider Your Body Language: Picture this: You’re in the middle of negotiating a lease with a major tenant, and you’re representing the landlord. The tenant rep tells you that the potential tenant is open to discussing the offer, but their arms are crossed and he/she hasn’t made eye contact. They might be saying that you two can move this deal to the closing table, but their body language is saying otherwise. Remember, you’re constantly communicating, even when you’re not talking.
Be Brief and Specific: Keep your messages short and sweet without leaving anything out. Be as concise and specific as possible. That goes for oral communication, too.
Diversify Your Communication Channels: There is no one-size fits all approach. Some tenants will prefer to follow your account on Facebook and Twitter, relying on social media for updates, while others want to be notified through a multi-channel tenant communication solution allowing for messages to be sent via text, telephone, email, social, or other endpoints.
Demonstrate That Communication Is Two-Ways: In addition to outward-bound communication with tenants, property managers should actively encourage two-way dialogue in the form of text-to-chat, feedback on maintenance or other issues pertaining to their space. Successful landlords and property managers will listen and act on this feedback.
By implementing the various tips outlined in this blog you will work towards rapidly improving your overall tenant communications strategy.