Customer service comes from everywhere nowadays. It’s not just over the phone – it’s a Facebook post, or a question on Nextdoor, or a DM from Instagram. And the customers? Well, let’s just say they’ve been a bit more dramatic lately. Long separations and grueling uncertainty resulted in an uptick in poor customer behavior across nearly every service industry. So between the need to check multiple platforms and the knowledge that your homeowners and boards are more on edge than usual, how is it possible to keep service up to par?
The answer is technology. Your software doesn’t just serve as a tool that improves the workload of your employees from a functional point of view. When homeowners have access to self serve, boards have full transparency into community needs, and community managers are able to spend more time in person, customer service quickly elevates. And when service improves, customer questions decline.
There are many ways to improve service while cutting time spent with customers through technology. Through our experience, these three tricks serve as the biggest relief for association management companies:
1. Teach homeowners how to use their web portals and mobile apps
Custom-branded web portals and mobile apps are imperative to the workings of an association. These tools empower homeowners to track payments, manage violations, input work orders and communicate with the management team when needed. But the old saying, “If you build it, they will come,” is simply not true – especially when it comes to technology.
Take time to showcase how and why one should use the web portal and mobile app to your boards, and provide tools to your boards that they can send to their homeowners on the technology. Perhaps you can video a self-guided tour of the app, showcasing ways to use it in five minutes or less. Or perhaps your newsletter can have a monthly “did you know?” section that features a portion of your web portal that greatly improves efficiency. When a homeowner calls asking for help on something they can do on their own through a web portal or app, be sure to spend extra time on the phone showing them how to manage the need on their own for future purposes. The key to technological adoption is overcommunication, and while it may feel redundant at times to constantly discuss homeowner tools, you’ll always catch the eye of at least one person. And that one person who learns something new about the technology you provide is one less phone call your team will receive at the beginning of the month to process a payment.
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2. Use mobile technology to improve board transparency
Board members often feel frustrated when they don’t feel like they have access to the information they need. Perhaps they have to reach out to someone on your team every time they need to view an invoice, or perhaps financial reports are getting lost in a sea of emails. Because of these common communication mishaps, invoices may be delayed in approval, projects may get pushed back, and client satisfaction may take a quick downswing.
That’s why we are so passionate about our homeowner and board mobile app. By providing board member tools to view all documentation and complete everything necessary through the tap of the thumb, management companies are able to instantly reach their boards through the one communication piece that never leaves their side. Not only does mobile technology enhance communication, but it speeds up the time it takes to complete vital community initiatives. This in turn improves the board members’ reputation among their fellow homeowners, which only further improves client satisfaction.
3. Provide tools that community managers can use anywhere and everywhere
The secret sauce to superior customer service is showing that you are always there for them. In community management, that means being out in your properties as often as possible. When homeowners put a face to the name, a management company isn’t just some conglomerate who writes violation letters; it’s an organization that builds community.
To support community managers in their efforts to work one-on-one with their clients, they need the right tools to be in the field as much as possible. Mobile apps such as CINC Manager should be used to complete the bulk of their day-to-day tasks and should have capabilities to complete anything from anywhere – whether it’s processing a work order in a parking garage or viewing an ACC request while on a site inspection. The more proactive your employees are in communicating with their boards and homeowners, the less reactive you’ll have to be with incoming client calls.
These are just a few examples of ways in which technology improves service while cutting time spent with customers, but there are so many more innovations that can drastically improve service within your organization. To learn how one company cut their customer calls by over 50% through technology – all while building better communities for their homeowners – take time to read about the incredible story from Gulf Coast Community Management.