Topic: What do you do when customer service causes strife with employees?

Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Industry friends- when do you draw the line on customer service if is it causes strife and unhappiness for your employees? If you are being told you have to stay open until 7pm 4 days a week (Mon-Thur) and all of your inside staff have other commitments after work and/or children in day care that are required to be picked up no later than 6:30pm so they are unable to adhere to the new required time change, how to do accommodate? This change is to provide customer service to our residents to be available later evening hours when they are home Mon-Thur. Side note- 7pm closing time for my office means no one is leaving until 7:30pm at the earliest which gets into family time. And do you think it is beneficial to have maintenance that is on call work a full day on a Saturday? I do not have a single person willing to accept these changes and am fear of having a high turnover so any suggestions on selling this change is highly appreciated.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Lisa Trosien's Avatar Topic Author
Lisa Trosien
Noreen, is the hours change (for office staff) seasonal to coincide with Daylight Savngs Time?
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
No just a change
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Ashley Marie Manis's Avatar Topic Author
Ashley Marie Manis
We did this at a property I worked at, no one really came in. Yeah we got the occasional call or desire to tour but then they would no show. Job schedule and school schedules do not change for Daylight savings so the person that works second shift wont even be able to come in. First shift people tend to be, as you stated picking up kiddos and then going home to cook dinner. I used to just get a lot of small tasks done through that adjusted hour. Good luck!
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Dana Nettles Faith-Page's Avatar Topic Author
Dana Nettles Faith-Page
I do mostly lease-ups and the extended hours are always required. Everyone on my team takes a day and shares the burden equally. Whiles Saturdays for the Service Team is tough, it makes a lot of sense as a business. Many industries require weekend work. Once again if it is rotated by the team, it becomes easier to handle.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
We are not a lease up and we have a porter here on Saturday.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Laura Reardon's Avatar Topic Author
Laura Reardon
We paid residents to be clubhouse attendants. They would come in after we close and stay until 10 pm.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Amy Foster Williams's Avatar Topic Author
Amy Foster Williams
If we stay open late, which isn't often, it's usually just a portion of the staff that stays later, on a rotation.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
It would be only one person but all of the inside staff have other commitments after work so this change would throw a wrench in them
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Kendall McDonald's Avatar Topic Author
Kendall McDonald
If it is absolutely mandatory from corporate or your owners maybe consider paying them overtime, or giving them additional PTO? But I would definitely count traffic and see if it is even worth the change. We considered this one time, and tried it for 2 days and noticed not a single person came in from 6-7 so we ditched the idea.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Amy Foster Williams's Avatar Topic Author
Amy Foster Williams
We have evaluated it and usually get a lot of success with later hours in summer, but you have to give it awhile so that people can take advantage of it, especially prospects.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Adriane Valley's Avatar Topic Author
Adriane Valley
Some properties (the industry) runs their hours like the restaurant industry. Usually this is the case due to the properties availability. Are you guys struggling with occupancy?

If it’s required by the company, I would see how it goes. If there is not a lot of traffic in the late evenings. Note that and hopefully they will change them back.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
It’s a change being made, but I don’t think it’s company wide.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Karla Fliehler Ross's Avatar Topic Author
Karla Fliehler Ross
Could a part time position be created?
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Not at this time
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Courtney Moreno's Avatar Topic Author
Courtney Moreno
What about finding a long term temporary employee to cover the last two hours of the day? This will save on the new hire costs/liability insurance etc. An entry level candidate looking for leasing experience would love an opportunity for 10-12 hours a week at a lease up!
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Rebecca Mignery's Avatar Topic Author
Rebecca Mignery
I agree with Courtney Moreno. We had an assistant who was out for 3 weeks and hired a temp on to cover. She was already pre trained in the basics, it worked out so well we hired her!
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Courtney Moreno that is ideal and I would love a part timer but it’s not in the budget.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Courtney Moreno's Avatar Topic Author
Courtney Moreno
Noreen Roxanna Renteria I totally get that as well. Maybe once you start exceeding budget goals they’ll allow for a little wiggle room? For now I would just have an honest conversation with your team about the pros and cons about working at a lease up. It’s challenging- but hard work pays off! Good luck!
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Courtney Moreno we are not a lease up- we are stabilized.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Lindsay Stemen Battle's Avatar Topic Author
Lindsay Stemen Battle
Do you have to have extended hours 4 days a week? Why not just 1 day a week? That is still being accommodating to your residents and then your employees can rotate that 1 long day.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Michelle Rettig's Avatar Topic Author
Michelle Rettig
We stay open until 6, and just recently started adding Sunday hours and all local daycares are only open until 6 pm and only monday thru Friday. As a single mom, it's very hard to accommodate these hours. I understand that it's all in the name of customer service, but it's hard to provide customer service when I'm trying to rush people out the door because I've got to run and pick up kids from daycare. I'm at the mercy of family and friends that are available to watch my children on Sunday afternoons, which doesn't always pan out.
I understand the logic, but it doesn't seem to be family friendly for employees at all.
Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I've been in this industry for years, it just makes it more challenging and stressful.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
We are open 7 days a week
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Laura Reardon's Avatar Topic Author
Laura Reardon
When a company has no compassion for your private life it is time to go.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Had a community (400 unit A+ lease up) where we were open 8am - 8pm daily. The leasing staff worked 10 hour days, 4 days a week. They came in on a staggered schedule. Everyone (team, residents, management) loved it! It's amazing what people may be willing to do if they only have to work 4 days a week.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Great idea!
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Kate Good's Avatar Topic Author
Kate Good
I always liked working the 11-8 shift when I was Leasing. The 10 hour/4 day a week plan would have been amazing. We have noticed that we get more leases and renewals from 5-8 versus any other time slot in the day.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Hmmm. How many people did you have on your inside staff? We only have 4 so I don’t know that would work since we have 7 days to cover a week and we typically see 30+ pieces of traffic a week. More in the summer months. We would be stretched thin
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Kate, the team loved their "shift" - some people are morning people and some are not. And I agree, we always got more leases and renewals either after 5pm or before 9am. It was the hours that worked for our residents.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar Topic Author
Anonymous
Noreen, we had 5 people (manager, assistant, 3 leasing) and since we were in a lease-up we had double the traffic, we were getting 20-30 leases a week. We hustled but it worked for us. I guess we were motivated to make it work to get that extra day off, lol.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Leah Love Orsbon's Avatar Topic Author
Leah Love Orsbon
I gladly worked that shift in college (and still work well after 7, but I don’t have children, so I understand that concern). Is this permanent? If so, can you hire someone that will just work those later hours? Or, would your company consider hiring an in-house babysitter on-site? Just for those few hours?
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
This is a permanent change and I don’t know that we could have babysitting onsite, that would mean someone physically goes by to pick up another employees kiddos or the employees having to leave which is counter productive
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Teresa Swift's Avatar Topic Author
Teresa Swift
Call me old school but staff want a life. With all the technology available today, you do not need to be open 24/7
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Rebecca Slater's Avatar Topic Author
Rebecca Slater
Do you think you could have them rotate who stays til 7? So maybe each person has one late shift per week...
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Ann Bloxberg's Avatar Topic Author
Ann Bloxberg
Can you compile info to present to the owners that maybe shows it’s not such a grand idea? Maybe send out a survey to residents asking what office hours would be beneficial, etc. also keeping count of how many people come in during those hours. If it isn’t much, it may not justify the change. And finally, maybe those hours are by appointment and each staff member takes one day a week where they MAY have to work later if there are appointments.

We went to a 7 day Work week and had to split days off and our team hated it. We did traffic counts and found that it was mostly park visitors who weren’t interested in housing and almost zero residents or legit prospectives.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Ann Bloxberg's Avatar Topic Author
Ann Bloxberg
And we went back to a 6-day week
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Kate Hanks's Avatar Topic Author
Kate Hanks
Good luck with that one. I wouldn't be able to implement it nor would i be willing to work it. I have no suggestions
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Teresa Swift's Avatar Topic Author
Teresa Swift
I would not work it either and if you have great maintenance staff or anyone else, you risk losing them.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Beverly Fontenot Stevens's Avatar Topic Author
Beverly Fontenot Stevens
Your residents will not be happy with the office only being opened 4 days a week no matter how long the hours are!
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Michelle Fountain's Avatar Topic Author
Michelle Fountain
Could you not set it up where it's a rotation
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Jessica Lynn Peacock's Avatar Topic Author
Jessica Lynn Peacock
I dont feel this is right what happend to family time? 9to6 is plenty late and if your website is functioning properly you would not need in office staff that late.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Tifani Lee's Avatar Topic Author
Tifani Lee
I wouldn’t be willing to work that schedule.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Dan Lukes's Avatar Topic Author
Dan Lukes
I've had a building where the office closed at 8pm and as as late as 11pm (or later) during special events; people schedule around - not everybody wants an 8-5 or 9-6 schedule .. there's a large segment of the population out there that would love a 11am - 7pm shift or 1pm - 7pm shift.

As for Maintenance, there's not enough information there .. is it always the same guy? does the Saturday shift rotate? does the call rotate?
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Eric Brown's Avatar Topic Author
Eric Brown
Well,........ At some point either our beloved multifamily staffers need to come to the realization that we need to behave more like Retail, or Find alternative employment. Can you imagine for a second that Starbucks would tolerate staffers only working until 6:00PM? At Urbane Apartments We are Open for Business 8:00AM to 8:00PM Mon-Thu and 9:00AM to 6:00Pm Fri, Sat and Sun. We just find cheerful, happy people that like those hours,
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Tifani Lee's Avatar Topic Author
Tifani Lee
Meh. Couldn’t be me. I like being done at 3pm on Friday and weekends off.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Rebekah Rawlins's Avatar Topic Author
Rebekah Rawlins
I agree Eric!!!!!!! I’m not saying it works for all properties, and you have to have enough staffing! (I’m also seeing so many things as someone who does hiring that makes me appreciate my team from the responses on here!)
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Chelsea Alise's Avatar Topic Author
Chelsea Alise
Well, when you're hired and told one specific thing, then the policy suddenly changes, you can't really fault the staff for not embracing it. If this happened to me I'd have to jump threw hoops to accommodate my daughters after school care since my husband works over an hour away.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Tifani Lee's Avatar Topic Author
Tifani Lee
Some people purposely avoid retail because of those hours.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
That’s the point- it’s After the fact. If you apply for a job and agree to those hours, no harm no foul. However, implementing a new policy that imposes with the lifestyle of the employees you have should be thought of before making such an implementation. I know for a fact I will have notices come my way because of this. Asking employees to re arrange their life for “Customer service” is not ok. If you make your employees happy they will make your customers happy. I am just one of those few people I guess that want to put the employee first and I make no apologies for it! I value my team and their thoughts and they are livid about this
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Chelsea Alise thank you! We have been open 2 years... and have already tried to open 1 day with later hours and we either had zero people or were in the office well after 8pm.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Tifani Lee yep! I have never and never would work retail. Multi family is NOT retail. You are comparing apples and pears if you think that
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Chelsea Alise's Avatar Topic Author
Chelsea Alise
We do just fine with our current hours. No leasing problems here. ♡
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Eric- multi family is NOT Retail. There is a reason so many people despise working retail and the hours are a biggie.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Chad Christian's Avatar Topic Author
Chad Christian
If someone is complaining about a change in office hours they aren’t fit for this industry. This industry is constant change. Everyone knows that.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Mary Lisa Williams's Avatar Topic Author
Mary Lisa Williams
What customers are the owners trying to serve? They have employees, residents, and prospects. Employees need to be paid well to do their job (this includes compensation pkg, as well as company support in terms of proper tools and resources to do their jobs. They need to feel valued. They need work-life BALANCE. Residents need to feel they have a clean, "safe" home, that is a good value. Do a survey, or host a resident event to find out what they think constitutes a good value. Prospects are future residents, so you want to show your best to them, in the daylight, once you establish your best with your staff and residents. You will attract better residents once your magnet is on point.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Chelsea Alise's Avatar Topic Author
Chelsea Alise
When we were first opening we stayed open until 6pm and on Saturdays. At that time my coworker and I would alternate who opened and closed. As well as rotated Saturdays. Now we're open until 530 Monday-Thursday and until 5 on fridays. We have the option to schedule appointments on Saturdays. We're a small private owned property though, I absolutely love the people I work for, they value family and treat their staff like it.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Exactly- you work for someone who values family. And me voicing my opinion and concern for my staff is something I have to do. I value them and their family time
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Jamie Millard's Avatar Topic Author
Jamie Millard
If the office is at my property someone in every department is there.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Glenda Schoeffler's Avatar Topic Author
Glenda Schoeffler
Do most of your residents take advantage of these extra hours the office remains open, to warrant overtime hours or comp. time off for your staff?
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Overtime is not allowed.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Debora Loggins Longoria's Avatar Topic Author
Debora Loggins Longoria
If it's for packages, you can see about getting Package Concierge instead of extended hours.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
I am not sure. Our residents have not asked for this. We are open 7 days a week as it is.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Yvon Ignasiak's Avatar Topic Author
Yvon Ignasiak
I worked at one property where a resident was hired to work 6pm to 8pm just to take service requests, give out packages and dry cleaning and hand out info. We were not allowed to do tours after sundown so they could just have prospects pick up brochures and take down info for follow up. It was long ago so don't remember everything they did.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Christina Money-Marrero's Avatar Topic Author
Christina Money-Marrero
With my prior company, our office was open until 7 pm Monday-Friday and until 5 pm Saturday & Sunday. We also had someone from maintenance work every day...Saturday and Sunday included as the goal was to have all work orders completed within 24 hours. We had the highest Kingsley Scores but the staff definitely didn’t like working until 7 pm. We never lost anyone due to the work hours though.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Chad Christian's Avatar Topic Author
Chad Christian
7pm is actually a pretty standard closing time for a lot of offices
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
And what about requiring maintenance to work on a Saturday? That is not typical. I have already tried to sell that one which has not gone over well.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Chad Christian's Avatar Topic Author
Chad Christian
It actually is typical in some markets. In Houston and Denver where I’ve worked we have always had a maintenance associate on the schedule for Saturday’s
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Noreen Roxanna Renteria's Avatar Topic Author
Noreen Roxanna Renteria
Chad Christian hmmm, I have worked for Some big companies like Wood, Alliance etc and in all my years have not seen this. We have a member from the maintenance team come in on Saturday for a few hours already.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Rebecca Slater's Avatar Topic Author
Rebecca Slater
We have our team rotate weekends but half days. One works 8-12 Saturday and then leaves early the following Friday. Same thing for the Sunday shift.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Chad Christian's Avatar Topic Author
Chad Christian
I’ve always had my managers schedule whoever is on call to work a full day on Saturday and take the following Friday off. Cuts down over time and gives them a 3 day weekend the following weekend. They have loved it.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Chelsea Alise's Avatar Topic Author
Chelsea Alise
Our maintenance teams are on call for emergencies.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Dan Lukes's Avatar Topic Author
Dan Lukes
Maintence on most sites is 6 days a week; larger sites 7 days and smaller sites (under 150 units) 5 days.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Christina Money-Marrero's Avatar Topic Author
Christina Money-Marrero
Same here. It is standard to have them work weekends in our market. I can’t imagine telling someone that called in a work order on Friday night or Saturday morning that they would have to wait until Monday.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Jon E Directo's Avatar Topic Author
Jon E Directo
*gets on my soapbox* (sorry to sound preachy).

I tell my team (learned this from Archstone days), we are a customer service company that just happens to lease apartments. As such flexibility is a must.

My company just happens to cater to the millennial market and unfortunately, that cohort seems to be awake and alive at the craziest hours of the day.

While having to stay open later was frustrating we made it work through compromising. We rotated the late shift and I remember having to cover Mondays and Thursdays. Managers including myself worked one weekend a month so we can rotate and everyone can get a weekend break.

Maintenance had the same rotation after all if the CM was doing it there was not reason service managers couldn't. So there was maintenance every weekend. Groundskeepers were included in the rotation provided they were trained to unclog drains/toilets, put in temporary ac/heat, able to swap fridges and know how to shut off water to units.

We also provided self guided tours for the people that were touring at late hours. We had to do this as one of our lease ups was smack in the middle of an area filled with nightlife. After a certain hour our courtesy patrol would lock the doors. If being able to tour later was the issue this could be a solution. We would just follow up the next day and prospects loved our flexibility.

in some of our properties, they were only open later for packages. Our solution, parcel lockers.

you may be in a tough spot but our industry is ever evolving and we haev to find creative ways to cater to our clientele. This does not mean not having personal lives, but it does mean having to make compromises. I found that working 1 weekend a month freed me to do appointments, visit theme parks on weekdays.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Melissa Wheeler's Avatar Topic Author
Melissa Wheeler
No so long ago I began closing the Leasing Office at 7 pm. It takes a bit for the residents to get used to it, but now, the 5pm to 7pm time frame is our busiest period of the day. I feel it sets us apart in our market as most properties are open till 6 at best. At the end of the day, our goal is to provide the best customer service possible, and if we have to compromise to do that, so be it. The staff has embraced this change whole heartily, mainly due to the increased leases (translating to commissions) that are being earned.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Ian McIntosh's Avatar Topic Author
Ian McIntosh
Have you considered a call or answering service. That will have a real person answering the calls till 9 pm 7 days a week plus track your appointments and are incentivized to have a succesful call with each and every client. If you would like more info I can get someone to contact you who knows more about it !
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Kathy Arsenault's Avatar Topic Author
Kathy Arsenault
Self tours are coming
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Kathy Arsenault's Avatar Topic Author
Kathy Arsenault
You can use CheckpointID and scan their drivers license or passport to make sure they are not fraud before giving them access. They can email their is prior to the tour
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Heidi Voss's Avatar Topic Author
Heidi Voss
We are open until 7pm Tues/Weds. and each of us work only one of the two days. We do have maintenance work the weekends. Techs work the Saturday they are on call - they end call on Thursday and get that Friday off. The benefit to them is having a three day weekend following their week on a call. Our janitor works Sunday-Thursday and will take care of minor tickets on Sunday.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Chad Christian's Avatar Topic Author
Chad Christian
Perfect scenario for maintenance. And any team player will love that schedule
Posted 4 years 2 months ago
Elizabeth Lira's Avatar Topic Author
Elizabeth Lira
Usually I stay at work until 6ish close to 7 to finish up work orders traffic follow up and deposits. I never leave work on time there is always a hand full of things to complete. Although my children are grown 27 and 26 I don’t have to rush home to daycare homework and dinner. I don’t know how I did it when they were younger. This industry can get extremely busy from morning to evening. I have to say I have worked for a company (no names) that was big on family time and understood the importance of it. Maintenance are just important when it comes to family time that’s why we have on call after hours. For true emergencies only! You might want to look up your rights as a employee I know daycare charges after hours if children are not picked up by 6:30. I hope this helps hang in there it can only get better.
Posted 4 years 2 months ago