Our reputation as a letting agent is defined by our customer service. You can read glowing descriptions from letting agents about their customer service on websites all over the country. We describe our customer service as “outstanding” but what does this mean in practice? Here are the key points that form part of our philosophy:
We have a rule at Umega of responding to every customer enquiry within one working day. In reality we respond much quicker than this, especially if it is urgent, but as long as we keep our response times within one working day our current and prospective landlords and tenants are happy.
We utilise the full range of media available to us in communicating with our landlords and tenants. This includes phone, email, text messaging, social media, web chat, writing letters and good old fashioned face to face meetings. We believe it is important to communicate with our customers using their preferred medium which makes it quick and easy for us to get the right information to the right people at the right time. It also helps us communicate effectively and efficiently. If we relied too heavily on using the phone then it would severely limit the volume of communication that we can deal with on a daily basis.
By recognising the types of information that our customers need the most frequently and when they need it, we are able to supply relevant information at the corresponding part of the letting process. An example of this is mailing a checklist postcard to outgoing tenants when they serve notice on their tenancy so that when moving day comes we can turn the flat round, and their deposit refund, swiftly and without misunderstanding.
The feedback we receive from our tenants and landlords tells us that we strike the right note with our tone of communication. In our industry, it is vitally important we tick all of the legal boxes associated with renting a property (Housing Act, Repairing Standard etc) but the risk with such a legal heavy process is that it can leave tenants and landlords slightly lost in it all which can lead to problems from misunderstandings. We make sure that we fulfil all of our legal responsibilities but accompany it with a way of communicating that highlights the important areas and ensures customers do not need a legal background to understand it.
Making it Personal
For every tenant and landlord we represent, we have a dedicated in house property manager that is familiar with a property and the associated landlords and tenants. This helps if there are any issues that are not easily resolved. Good examples of where property managers help landlords and tenants are in sorting out communal repairs (like roof repairs) which can take a few weeks to resolve. It also means that if either a tenant or landlord requires advice about any aspect of the tenancy then they have a familiar face or voice that they can talk to.
How we do it
The above points provide a good overview of what we do to help deliver outstanding customer service but where we really come in to our own is in how we do it. We have a fantastic team and we do not take that for granted – in short, they are a pleasure to deal with! By looking after our team and keeping them motivated and challenged, this is the best way to ensure that our customers receive an outstanding service. There are hundreds of ways in which we look after our staff from providing a great working environment to working with Investors In People to hold us as to the highest standards we are capable of.
Like everything we do, we know how important it is that we are constantly improving and learning. If you have any feedback or comments about what we do and how we could do it better, let me know by commenting here or tweet me @UmegaNeil.