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Should Letting Agents Offer a 24-7 Helpline to their Tenants?

It’s Sunday 7:55pm, and the big football match is about to start on Sky. Jim, the Lettings Manager is on-call, watching the football pundits give their final chat about the big match… he’s been looking forward to this all week … when the works out of hours mobile rings.

Unbeknown to Jim, its a tenant of an HMO, wants him to come and talk to the new tenant upstairs about him playing his records too loud.

Even before the green answer button gets pressed, Jim is not readying himself to listen.

The big match starts in 5 mins and he knows a best outcome to this call is getting the caller off the line in the fastest time possible

However, that is completely opposite to what the tenant thinks is the best outcome … To the tenant, the best outcome is the letting agent stopping what they are doing, jump in the Company helicopter and getting around to the HMO in the next twenty minutes to sort it out.

Unequal expectations are the biggest source of unhappiness in any tenant / landlord / letting agent relationship

No matter what you think, you owe a duty of care to the tenant, so my intuition tells me they are to all intense and purposes ‘another type’ of client .. albeit not one that pays the bills .. but definitely a person you owe a duty of care to.

So, whether I am taking about a tenant, landlord, supplier or any stakeholder in your lettings/estate agency business, you can’t start to please or delight your client unless you as an agent are prepared to meet their expectations.

I often hear phrases like under promise and over achieve .. but do they mean anything? Do your actions match the words? I assume you want all your clients and stakeholders to be pleased and delighted with what you do?

If that is the case, a couple of things need to be in place to enable you to make your clients/stakeholders pleased and delighted. Primarily, you need to appreciate and comprehend the client’s anticipated outcome and secondly, as an agent, you need to have the resources and the inclination to meet them

If the last thing Jim wants to do when he’s on call is to get in his company car to check up on moaning tenants, then if we are all being honest, he will do is everything in his power to bat back that call, as it is affected by his wish to enjoy a quiet afternoon watching the game. His tenor will be defensive and his manner over the phone rushed and hasty.

The letting agency does more damage than good by having a 24 hour hotline that sets the anticipation that the letting agent could visit and sort s*** out 24-7 …  if that’s doubtful that will actually happen.

Quality service is about making fewer promises, but ensure the promises you do make,  you always keep.

Christopher Watkin

Christopher Watkin

I teach, guide, support, mentor, consult, counsel, partner many hundreds of UK Estate and Letting Agents in their quest to grow their estate and lettings agencies business. Old school techniques of touting, landlords wanted leaflets, ring us for a free valuation, we have sold this in your street leaflets don't work anymore. There are too many competitor agents .. meaning cheap fees are epidemic, overvaluing is almost a norm to get the stock and don’t even mention about the online/hybrid threat. So a few years ago, I set about looking around the UK and spotted that certain agents (not many mind you) in certain towns were still seen as the ‘go to person on property’, the person the newspaper editor rang up every week for a comment and I looked at what they did and they were doing some thing quite remarkable…. Only one thing but they were doing it so well .. and reaping the reward in terms of decent listings and decent fees, happy staff, decent sales pipeline and exchange income, managed lettings portfolios in the many hundreds .. but more importantly, they really enjoyed the job… they enjoyed getting up in the morning and people looked up to them Over 400 agents around the UK are on a mission to change the way our Estate and Lettings agency profession is perceived and looked upon, doing it town by town, city by city. I guide these 400 agents, teach them, mentor them and support them to be seen in a different light, to be seen as the ‘go to person for property’, actually be the ‘local property expert’ and prove it. Christopher Watkin 07950 147 572 [email protected]

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