Thinking Inside the Box

A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog

Jen’s 5 Top Tips for Managing Agencies: Keeping Your Staff and Customers Happy

sectional title client service

By Jennifer Paddock

1. Reduce Staff Turnover – Consistency is Key for Client Retention

There is a definite link between consistency of staff and client retention in sectional title management businesses. As the portfolio manager is the primary contact for the schemes in his portfolio and often the person who chairs the general meetings and attends trustee meetings, the decision makers in the schemes build a relationship (preferably a long-term one) with the particular portfolio manager and if he leaves the management company, the company risks losing the schemes in the ex-employees portfolio as well.

Quick tips for reducing staff turnover:

  • Hire carefully – not just ensuring that the candidate has the right skills but also that they are a good fit for the company culture, managers and their colleagues
  • Pay your staff fairly and competitively and consider bonus structures if appropriate for the role
  • Review compensation annually and pay attention to your competitors compensation rates
  • Pay attention to your employees’ needs – be open to flexi-time if necessary to keep a valuable employee
  • Make your employees feel valued through giving genuine recognition and praise when deserved – a simple company wide email congratulating an employee on an achievement goes a long way
  • Give individual employees an outline of their potential career progression within your company and let them know what they need to do in order to progress

2. Spend Time with Clients Face-to-Face

Clients in all industries want to feel valued. Nothing tells a client that they are valued more than spending time with them face-to-face. In the context of sectional title I would recommend that the portfolio manager arrange to do a site inspection of each scheme in her portfolio once a year. If your portfolio managers have never set foot on the properties they manage – get them on site to do an inspection with the trustees – not only will your portfolio manager be better equipped to manage the property, having physically seen it, but the trustees will appreciate it and think more fondly of your business the next time they consider renewing your management contract.

Other ways to spend time with clients face-to-face:

  • Attending and or chairing general and trustee meetings
  • Skype chats with trustees/chairpersons when major issues pop up relating to the scheme
  • Inviting clients to events – people love being schmoozed! If your business already has an end of year function, invite the decision makers from the schemes your business manages. If not, why not consider holding an end of your function for this purpose?

3. Respond Quickly to Client Requests

Even if you cannot action a client request immediately, you need to acknowledge receipt of the request and manage the client’s expectations by letting him know when he can expect his request to be actioned. Once you have completed the request, let him know. Or if there is a delay for some reason – keep him updated. It’s all about managing client expectations and communicating with an expectant client regularly so they know they are still on your radar and that you are committed to sorting out their problem.

4. Communicate with Your Clients Regularly

If you get to the AGM and have not communicated with some of the owners since the last AGM you can’t be surprised when an owner asks you what the body corporate is actually paying you for – because he has no idea.

Of course you do a lot for each scheme behind the scenes so why not update all owners, perhaps quarterly, with a report on what you’ve been doing for their particular scheme.

Other regular communication can include monthly emails to all owners. Perhaps attaching an update or some useful information to their levy statements. This may sound like a lot of work but clever software allows you to create email templates with mail merge features that make this task simple (a shameless Mystrata plug I admit!).

Depending on the size of your portfolio you may want to consider scheduling a twice yearly call campaign where you proactively phone the chairpersons of your schemes just to check in. Make them feel loved…

5. Make Sure Your Staff are Qualified

Sectional Title Management requires portfolio managers to have a working knowledge of the Sectional Titles Act and the rules applicable to schemes. Gaining an understanding of this area of law is no small feat, but if your portfolio managers have a UCT qualification in Sectional Title Scheme Management it will ensure your clients receive a better service and set your management company apart from those agencies whose staff aren’t qualified!

What are your tips for keeping staff and customers happy in sectional title scheme management? Share with us by commenting below…

 

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3 comments on “Jen’s 5 Top Tips for Managing Agencies: Keeping Your Staff and Customers Happy

  1. Palma
    February 20, 2015

    These options require monthly payments to repay the loan, a requirement
    which is not included with a reverse mortgage.
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  2. margie
    May 9, 2014

    sounds idealistic or idyllic if only this could be put into practice the happier the clients would be.

  3. Marieta
    May 8, 2014

    It is very important that the Managing Agent will be trained and be able to do a BUDGET correctly and with effective output!

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