When you call or send an email, there is no customer service department. It’s me you’ll be speaking with every time. And while I’m always happy to speak with homeowners and board members, through the use of some of the best technology in the field many questions can be answered and issues resolved 24/7 through any computer or smartphone without even needing to make a call or write an email.
YOU HAVE MY ATTENTION
Management companies divide duties among managerial, administrative and accounting departments because it allows a small number of people to manage a large number of communities. The majority of the career I spent working for some of these companies I managed 18 to 22 communities at one time. (But I was never supposed to tell my clients that!) Sometimes the administrative and accounting staff members were assigned to specific communities like me, and they were spread just as thin as me. Sometimes those departments worked collectively for the entire company’s portfolio, leaving no one person specifically knowledgeable of any one community. Assigned staff members like me being spread thin negatively impacted our ability to deliver timely and thorough service. Departments working collectively led to a lot of errors, most commonly with the accounting department misallocating income and expenses between different communities.
If I’m essentially doing the work of 3 people for your community, the only way that’s manageable is with a much smaller number of communities in my care. Instead of 18 to 22 I’m aiming for 5 to 8 depending upon the workload of each community. While that will be enough to fill my schedule under this operating format, it means my time isn’t nearly as divided and I’m not being pulled in as many directions. This allows me to deliver timely and thorough service with less chance for error. When a number of communities sign up with me that exceed that volume, I’ll hire other well-rounded managers capable of performing these duties that will work in the same manner as me and deliver the same Excellence in Community Association Management I strive for.
I’M NEVER “OUT OF THE OFFICE”
Being spread less thin allows me to be on-site more than my competitors, but without an administrative department to answer calls and resolve basic issues I can’t be unavailable to take those calls and resolve those issues. Unlike my competitors, my operations aren’t chained to an office.
I utilize a VOIP phone system, so I can forward calls to my cell phone when I’m away and answer them as seamlessly as if I was sitting at my desk. Like most people, I carry a smartphone with email always at my fingertips. But unlike most of my competitors, I use web-based management software and carry a tablet with an internet plan. The combination of these technologies allows me to work just as efficiently on the go as I can from the office.
INSTANT ANSWERS ARE AVAILABLE 24/7
While I’m happy to answer as many calls and emails as homeowners may want to make to me, and while I’m equipped to do so just as efficiently in the field as I am from the office, the most common reasons homeowners contact management don’t require speaking to me. They don’t even require the homeowner to take action during business hours.
All management service packages above the Basic accounting-only plan include access to the Community Portal feature of my management software. Homeowners can log-in from their computer or smartphone 24/7 and do a number of things at a time that’s convenient for them. They can view their account balance, including a detailed account ledger, and make payments online with very low processing fees. They can submit maintenance requests, and they can check in later to see the progress of those requests all the way to completion. They can download important documents and forms in PDF format. There’s even a private social network where information can be exchanged between neighbors without the “noise” of social media platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor. And when events occur that many people will ask questions about, such as a power outage, a water main break, a major project that may impede day-to-day living, etc we can send out community-wide emails and text messages through this platform. Again, I have no problem fielding calls and emails, but if your homeowners wish to use the Community Portal the most common reasons homeowners contact management can be addressed without the need to speak with anyone or even be mindful of business hours.
The same platform that provides homeowners all of these instant answers and solutions includes some great features for board members. Board members enjoy access to almost all of the same information and reports that I see through the management software. You won’t need to contact me to get a hold of a certain report, check the status of a maintenance request, etc. because all of that information is available to you as quickly and easily as it is to me.
The most common reason board members contact management is to follow up on the status of certain board directives and projects. With this information contained in the management software, you won’t need to wait for my reply to learn where something stands. You can even check my progress without me even knowing you’re looking over my shoulder. The expedience this provides in obtaining answers and the transparency into the work I’m doing for your community is unparalleled. And as old board members resign and new members are elected, changing access between homeowner and board member levels is quick and easy.