The importance of teamwork cannot be overstated or emphasized enough.  Yet sometimes, boundaries are so clearly drawn regarding the role or “job description: of each staff member, that those who desire to “go the extra mile” are forced to remain at the starting line and watch prospects and residents “fall through the cracks. 

I was recently asked the following question which brings up the issue of maintenance and leasing staffs getting involved with each others’ job duties: 

Q:  Is it appropriate for maintenance staff members to get involved in the leasing process and how far should they go? 

AThis is a very important subject and it brings up another question – Is it appropriate for leasing/office employees to get involved in some aspects of maintenance and how far should THEY go?

As property management companies have to make difficult budget decisions, some budget cuts have involved a reduction in leasing and maintenance personnel.  The result is less office coverage and slower response time to resident requests, as one or two team members are trying to do the jobs of three or four people.

Providing some “basic” training to your leasing and maintenance personnel to create an “overlap” in their job responsibilities will take some of the pressure off your team members and provide better service to prospective residents and existing residents.

If a leasing person is away from the office and a maintenance staff member encounters a prospective resident, the maintenance person at the very least could extend a warm, friendly greeting.  The visitor could be made comfortable and offered refreshments, if available and given a brochure to look at while he or she is waiting.

If a guest card or visitor log is available, the maintenance person could request that it be filled out.  Then, if the wait time becomes excessive and the prospective resident has to go, there will be a record of the visit and a way to follow up.

Office personnel can provide this same type of support to their maintenance team when they are busy turning apartments and handling service requests.  Every person working in the office should know how to operate a plunger and an Allen wrench.  Leasing team members must also be willing to pass out flyers, pick up litter, sweep sidewalks and maintain common areas, etc. 

If you are constantly paging maintenance to pass out your lease renewal letters or handle minor messes around your community, then you are delaying the make ready process as well as prompt service to your residents.

REMEMBER:  Being part of a team means doing whatever it takes to get the job done whether it’s your job or not!

[Editor’s Hint:  Sometimes, a reported non-working garbage disposal simply needs to be “reset” by pushing the little button on the bottom of the unit.  Office personnel can instruct their tenants while on the phone to give this a try before sending over the maintenance team.]  

Joyce Kirby is with Shoptalk Service Evaluations, “Ask the Secret Shopper” and may be reached at joyce@shoptalkservice.comor by visiting www.shoptalkservice.com   Reprinted with permission.