Every property owner and manager knows that effective and regular communication is essential to running an efficient and profitable building – and if the recent Blizzard in the Northeast is any reminder, it’s also critical for managing risk in emergency situations. Your tenants need to know what’s going on in real-time. Does your team have an effective communication plan in place? If not (or if you’re not quite sure), we’ve got you covered.

According to BOMA, the key aspects of an effective communication plan are frequency, accuracy, comprehensiveness, and inclusiveness. You can achieve this through the following five-step plan:

#1 Define target audience members

Clearly define and identify each tenant “persona” to include in your Communications Plan.

  • 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 fire wardens?

#2 Create communication frameworks

Create buckets for the most common communication types that will be used with tenants.

  1. Daily Communications
  2. Periodic/Scheduled Messaging
  3. Crisis Communications
  4. Continuous Feedback Loop

#3 Determine items to be communicated

Clearly describe the activities/events that will be communicated to tenants.

  • Work orders/Service Requests
  • Problems/Complaints
  • Building Events
  • Local Events (Non?emergency)
  • Leasing
  • Billing
  • F&LS Planning/Training
  • Emergency
  • Crisis Communications (PR)

#4 Associate and assign responsible team member and process

Clearly identify which building team members will be in charge of which action items, and set targets for completion.

#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.

Once you’ve developed your Communication Plan, it’s time to get your building team onboard and put it into action. First you need to “trumpet” the plan by providing “cheat sheets” to tenants and employees. Don’t forget: it’s a living document that needs to be revisited and updated regularly.

Next it’s time to set expectations with your workforce – as well as tenants – and eliminate all barriers to implementation. A barrier many property management teams often face is lack of technology. Having a mobile workforce and a fully integrated property management system is essential for any Communication Program’s success.

To learn more about mobilizing your workforce, download Building Engines’ Definitive Guide to Mobile Property and Tenant Management, which includes “Four Steps to a Proactive Mobile Strategy.”