And if you’re like me and have family members (read: mothers and work-age children) who depend on you for guidance, or turn to you in fear or to vent, then you’ve probably had some recent conversations where you’ve said things like “stay calm, there’s no need to panic, now is the not the time to sell, and you should actually buy!” … All of which I actually had to convince myself of as well.
As I reflected on the calls and the conversations, it was interesting to admit that I knew they were inevitable as soon as I saw what was happening in the markets. But although I knew they were coming, I didn’t proactively reach out first. In retrospect, I could have likely helped alleviate some amount of worry and concern if I only acted proactively on my well-informed instinct.
All of us have been in situations like this both personally and professionally. A situation where proactive communication based on a likely concern from family, friends, customers, etc. can go a long way toward alleviating that concern, putting people at ease and actually strengthening relationships and trust.
A great example of someone who did that well this week was the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz. In response to the market volatility, he sent out a memo to all Starbucks employees and locations encouraging them to show special concern for their customers based on market events. The crux of his memo and instruction are summed up in this paragraph:
“Our customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern. Please recognize this and–as you always have–remember that our success is not an entitlement, but something we need to earn, every day. Let’s be very sensitive to the pressures our customers may be feeling, and do everything we can to individually and collectively exceed their expectations.”
Now, Starbucks may not be a perfect company, nor Howard Schultz a perfect CEO, but to me, this is a great lesson in effective communications. He likely gained significant additional trust and admiration from his team for his empathy, as well as from customers.
The opportunities to act similarly are there every day for us to take advantage of and this is certainly true in commercial real estate property management. Great property managers are tuned in to not only what’s happening in their building and the surrounding area, but also the micro and macro events that may have an impact on their tenants. With that awareness comes the opportunity to proactively reach out and communicate as needed. Having the right processes and tools in place for effective communications makes this effort that much easier.
This week, we are making our Tenant Communications Guide available that addresses best practices, processes and tools for an effective tenant communications program. But while there’s a lot of helpful information in there, like Howard Schultz demonstrated, it really begins with awareness and empathy. Those are always the hallmarks of great communicators and an effective property management team.