If I was in a room of landlords and I was to ask, “What are the issues you’re having with tenants?” I would hear a number of responses, including:
- “Tenants don’t pay on time.”
- “Tenants don’t take care of my property.”
- “Tenants are all nightmares to deal with.”
- “Tenants are always suing and trying to get something for nothing.”
In a room of tenants I would hear, among other things:
- “Landlords are crooks.”
- “Landlords don’t maintain the property.”
- “Landlords invade my privacy.”
- “Landlords cheat me out of my security deposit.”
Each side thinks they are victims and those on the other side are villains. Often, it only gets worse when a third party is invited in the conflict.
I contend the longer we see one another as enemies on opposing sides, the less chance we will come together. If we convince ourselves we must be on the defensive and get them before they get us, it only builds barriers that keep us divided as adversaries. Instead, I propose we reevaluate this type of flawed thinking and consider some solutions to help bring these two groups together.
As the professionals, better is expected of us, and we are held to a higher standard than tenants are. Our mistake is in thinking like consumers. We want the benefits of being an owner but not the responsibilities. We want the same privilege to put forth our complaints as tenants do, but that is not how business works.
Strategic business people are not resistant to consumer criticism; they use it as feedback. I recommend you not discourage tenant complaints but rather evaluate their merits and use them to make improvements.
Real estate is said to be a $55 billion dollar industry.1 This trade is and can be a lucrative commerce, provided you learn the profitability in establishing repeat and loyal clients. One huge tip in developing good clients is to recognize the importance of having superb customer service skills.
These are seven customer service statistics every landlord should consider in regard to how they operate their business. This statistical research clearly indicates why customer service is so important:
- 95% of all US residents are impacted by the rental industry.2
- 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for better customer service experiences.3
- 125% profit increase results of 5% increase in customer retention.4
- 81% of customers are likely to give repeat business to companies after receiving good service.5
- 81% of companies outperform their competitors with strong competencies delivering an excellent customer experience.6
- 82% of US consumers stop doing business with companies due to a poor customer service experience.7
- 55% of US consumers are driven away from companies for their failure to resolve their problems in a timely manner.8
Try not to think of your renters solely as complaining pests. Consider them as your customers willing to offer free marketing advice on how they view your business operation. Many successful businesses pay high fees to acquire this insight.
Remember, ultimately how you treat your tenants (consumers) could either help or hurt your business!
For legal advice, always consult with a qualified attorney to assist you with your specific situation.
Teresa Billingsley is a third generation rental property owner. She has owned and managed for twenty-five years. After seeing landlords unnecessarily expose themselves to problems she wrote the books, “A Learning Stage: for Property Owners & Managers,” “A Learning Stage 2: A Landlord’s Advocate and Teacher,” & “A Learning Stage 3: Property Management 101.”
1 Professional Landlords, www.ProfessionalLandlords.com, (accessed 9/22/2014), 2 Lovely, www.livelovely.com, (accessed 12/22/2014), 3 Forbes, Jan 2013, www.forbes.com, (accessed 8/26/2014), 4 “50 Facts That Will Make Businesses Rethink their Customer Service,” SlideShare, 2013, http://www.slideshare.net/Desk/50factsthatwillmakebusinessesrethinktheircustomerservice, (accessed 12/12/16), 5 Ibid., 6 Ibid., 7 Ibid., 8 Ibid