The next time your team receives a request from your commercial tenant, start the clock. To ensure tenant loyalty and drive lease renewals, you can’t overlook the value of fast, thorough tenant service.
In current market conditions, property teams don’t want slow responses to be the nudge that prompts tenants to downsize their spaces, implement fully remote work models, or tour other buildings.
Case in point. Flagship Healthcare Properties in Charlotte, NC knew the importance of making their tenants feel heard. But they struggled to do so while managing 150 healthcare properties for over 460 tenants throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
Implementing the following strategies empowered Flagship to respond to all tenant requests in one minute or less.
1. Invest in CRE Technology
Although commercial real estate is slowly going digital, many property management teams still use inefficient manual processes to manage critical workflows.
This was the case at Flagship. The firm relied on spreadsheets and individual emails to manage work orders and tenant communications.
Unsurprisingly, this process was ineffective, and often left tenants waiting indefinitely for responses. It was also unsustainable given Flagship’s rapid growth forecast.
So Flagship decided to invest in a building operations platform to manage work orders, tenant communications, and certificate of insurance (COI) tracking.
Having these core abilities in one central platform made it easy for Flagship to effectively manage and prioritize work. Going digital also dramatically reduced the time they spent on administrative tasks, such as logging work order tasks, sending tenants updates, and recording billables.
(Software needs can vary by portfolio size and specialty. Check out this list of top work order software features in 2021 to inform your search.)
2. Set Concrete Goals
Set concrete goals for tenant service resolutions. Either by daily completion volume, time limit, or some other metric to guide team focus and help them understand management expectations.
Flagship set a service goal of responding to all commercial tenant requests within one minute. Then they trumpeted this commitment to tenants, prospects, and management. Setting and sharing these goals held their team accountable and left no wiggle room for service levels to slip.
By leveraging the reporting functionality in their building operations platform, Flagship routinely analyzed team efficiency and tracked tenant satisfaction of work orders via thumbs up or thumbs down ratings. They could also see which teams were or were not meeting targets. This helped them identify bottlenecks quickly and meet their ambitious goals more consistently.
Flagship’s tight timelines will not be realistic for every property management team. But what’s important is to set an ambitious timeline that still fits your team’s capabilities.
To identify goals for work orders or other tenant service request types, consider:
- Analyzing past work order performance
- Benchmarking response metrics against peers
- Asking engineers on the frontlines for their input
3. Establish Task Ownership
Manually assigning work and commercial tenant requests to the correct person is time consuming for property management teams. It can also lead to accountability issues. With too many hands in the cookie jar, it’s difficult to know who is responsible for which task.
To expedite this process, Flagship configured their building operations platform to automatically assign work to available engineers.
This was a vast improvement from past workflows. These relied on administrative middlemen to receive requests, often by phone, in person, or other inconvenient method; log information, and assign work. By updating this process, Flagship could mobilize their engineering team almost instantly.
The platform helped them prevent engineer burnout by tracking workload by team member to see who might be overworked. The team could then reassign or re-prioritize work as needed.
4. Determine an Escalation Process
Despite a property team’s best intentions, mistakes are inevitable. To prevent commercial tenant requests from slipping through the cracks, use automated notifications to alert management if a tenant request isn’t acknowledged in the appropriate timeframe.
If a tenant request receives no response within one minute, a Flagship point of contact receives an escalation notice via email that the request is outstanding.
If the request goes one hour without being acknowledged, a notification is sent to the upper management team. This air-tight escalation process improves team accountability and empowers the team to address missed tasks before a tenant is inconvenienced.
Flagship’s efforts are yielding positive results. The firm maintains a current tenant satisfaction rating of 92.8 percent. They’ve also tracked a noticeable increase in tenant satisfaction scores year-over-year since implementing their new strategy.
Tick Tock: Commercial Tenants Have You on the Clock
Keeping your commercial tenants happy is always the name of the game for property teams.
But in a COVID-adjusted world, it’s time to kick things up a notch. With commercial teams searching for competitive differentiators, don’t overlook the value of fast, responsive property management.
To meet rising tenant expectations, Flagship switched from paper-based process to a building operations software platform.
In doing so, they improved tenant satisfaction, drove more revenue through billable work orders, and used better reporting to make more informed decisions.
Learn more about how to improve your work order processes, check out this infographic: 5 Common Problems with Work Order Systems for Commercial Real Estate.