Topic: Almost every office I call these days has an automated system answering the phone WTH????

Donna Langford's Avatar Topic Author
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I was in property management for 25 yrs before moving to the vendor side, one of the most important things we always taught our leasing agents was importance of answering the phone before the third ring , being polite and asking all the right questions, almost every office I call these days has an automated system answering the phone WTH???? It is so aggravating I wonder how they even lease apartments? If I was a looking for an apartment I would hang up and call until a live person answers ?? When did this become a thing ????
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Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Darcy Shannon Diedrich's Avatar
Darcy Shannon Diedrich
Times change.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Pam Voertman's Avatar
Pam Voertman
I agree. Everything so impersonal these days. I would answer by third ring. ????
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Rhonda Hayden's Avatar
Rhonda Hayden
I agree - times have definitely changed ! It was always about customer service !
Some companies are switching over to lease and renew all on line - kinda sad actually....when I questioned this I was referred to as “ Old School”
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Michelle Martinez's Avatar
Michelle Martinez
Donna, so refreshing to read this, because I was a vendor for 10 years and thought the same thing!! I can back in to the property management side and things are very different!
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Paula Rote-Tigani's Avatar
Paula Rote-Tigani
It’s a thing.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Mel Survivor's Avatar
Mel Survivor
Agreed its a big thing. I did the same as you 25 plus years and went to vendors side.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Jessica Romero's Avatar
Jessica Romero
We have to realize how much more we’re throwing at leasing agents today:
Reputation management, package concierge, customer service, party coordinator, supplier gate keeper, etc.
We want leasing agents to sell but they wear so many more hats.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Chris Lermann's Avatar
Chris Lermann
We are a great solution for Party Coordinator Fitcasa Inc.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Jessica Romero's Avatar
Jessica Romero
oh man I can offer solutions, depending on your budget.
Valet concierge can greet and screen visitors, facilitate delivery of amenity services for residents (????walking, apt cleaning, dry cleaning), coordinate with suppliers, etc.
Torch Fitness can provide an amazing fitness event daily/weekly/monthly
Laura Hulsey can help with rep management.
Apartment Life can plan res events.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Jonathan Weatherford's Avatar
Jonathan Weatherford
Jessica Romero thank you so much for saying that. Most people forget this. Yes you want me to sell but I also do everything else lol
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Melissa Brown's Avatar
Melissa Brown
Jessica Romero spot on! So many different things to do! You know how busy all of us were at my old property I could barely come out to say hi.. moved to a different property and I’m all yours lol we all just need to understand and appreciate the “ other side”
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Tom DeAngelis's Avatar
Tom DeAngelis
Please press 2 for a comment
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Aimee Myers Murphree's Avatar
Aimee Myers Murphree
Customer service is being put to the wayside, from no longer accepting packages in the office, to robotic or self guiding touring.... No personalization anymore. Those two things would deter me from leasing.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Linda Wright Thorn's Avatar
Linda Wright Thorn
I agree. I always say people buy (or lease) from people. I happen to be a one person manager/lessing/marketing. At times I have to put on the answering machine but always call back as soon as possible. Same for emails.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Lisa Trosien's Avatar
Lisa Trosien
I was shopping properties (comps) for a client. At one particular community, I had to press * (or whatever) three to four different times. Finally got a human. Very frustrating. I'm sure it drives renters crazy.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Jennifer Lea Yoneoka's Avatar
Jennifer Lea Yoneoka
Nothing wrong with old school phone technique ! We used to have a mirror in front of the phone!
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Cierra Dawn's Avatar
Cierra Dawn
Most people prefer email and texting now.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Jane Nicholson-Gates's Avatar
Jane Nicholson-Gates
That's a pretty negative statement when a lot of us don't have the choice on the automated...but it works....I lease apartments...
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Jonathan Roberts's Avatar
Jonathan Roberts
Just how us vendors aim to scale growth, it’s the way PMGs can scale their growth. Tech is overall positive, but human connection is one of the things sacrificed
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Kim Kaye's Avatar
Kim Kaye
Many times we are away from our desk out on tour or otherwise busy with current or prospective residents. We urge our prospects, residents and vendors to leave us a message in case we are away from the phones.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Barbara Mabry's Avatar
Barbara Mabry
I so agree with you!!
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Matt DeGraw's Avatar
Matt DeGraw
“A good market masks bad management”. There are so many leads, properties can perform wo answering the calls right now. However, the struggle is real to get employees to answer the phone! Additionally, some renters don’t wanna talk to humans. There’s gotta be a balance... I’m trying to find one. And yes, we need to answer the phones ! One of our areas of focus for sure.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Jennifer Strickland Rambo's Avatar
Jennifer Strickland Rambo
I completely agree!
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Chris Stutz's Avatar
Chris Stutz
Donna, all too true! Can you imagine, in the year 2020, age of texting, chatting and all the sort, that a potential renter takes the time and effort to actually make a phone call and then doesn't get to speak to a human? Yikes. But even so, the best leasing teams can't answer every phone call while dealing with all other tasks. In fact, most offices miss nearly 60% of their leasing phone calls!
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Robin Cubbage's Avatar
Robin Cubbage
Depends on whether they answer the phone. I don’t know how they get away with that
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Kathi Blatz's Avatar
Kathi Blatz
Im alone in the office 90% of the time. We don’t have an automated phone system however if I am on one call and two lines are ringing I’m certainly not putting a prospect on hold. I deal with a lot of college students as well and they are all about texting and emailing. It does go both ways. There are many positives to technology advances. When I start to feel that things are getting too impersonal I take the time to hand write a note to a certain resident, or send out thank you cards for renewing, even though the renewing is done online. Despite doing things the modern way, we still have a 4.9 Google rating so clearly I’m not doing anything wrong that I’m aware of????‍♀️ and we have 302 units and about 550 residents ..
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Michelle D. Sykes's Avatar
Michelle D. Sykes
It helps if you get a return call after leaving a message too.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Lisa Smith Anderson's Avatar
Lisa Smith Anderson
Usually if they have caller ID they know its a cold call for sales. We do not have caller ID
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Donna Langford's Avatar Topic Author
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Lisa Smith Anderson these are properties we service , no one ever answers ????????
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Lisa Smith Anderson's Avatar
Lisa Smith Anderson
Wow. I love my vendors they keep us going
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Donna Langford's Avatar Topic Author
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it is just so strange that 90% of properties don't actually answer thier phones, if it is frustrating to a vendor I just wonder how prospects and residents feel. I am all about technology but there are so many especially older folks who don't text or even use smart phones .
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Lisa Smith Anderson's Avatar
Lisa Smith Anderson
Donna Langford agree! One of my properties are all 55 and older. Your so right!!!
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Lisa Smith Anderson's Avatar
Lisa Smith Anderson
So sad that simple communication is becoming a thing of the past. What area are you in
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Donna Langford's Avatar Topic Author
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Lisa Smith Anderson Naples, FL it is beautiful but we are in a building boom again, high end properties going up every where , rents are really high and no affordable place for working class ppl to live , we did this 10+years ago and then the market crashed .... Just hoping things stay strong in our area!!!
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Michelle Kelley's Avatar
Michelle Kelley
Donna Langford If I am with a resident, or even super busy that day I am not answering calls from vendors. Simply not happening. Email me and you will get a response when I am available.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Leah Love Orsbon's Avatar
Leah Love Orsbon
We used Lease Hawk because I thought it was more efficient. But, I don’t anymore. But, I don’t think 3 rings is a hard and fast rule. I think answer it when you’re not with a guest and able to focus.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Leah Love Orsbon's Avatar
Leah Love Orsbon
Entrata is so cool with being able to text us straight from our website too. So many people prefer it.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Melissa Brown's Avatar
Melissa Brown
Maybe they are busy leasing apartments or with a resident? If you were in pm for 25 years you should know how demanding the positions are. Leave a message or send an email, if they can use your services they will reach out. Good luck with your new role.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Karen Robertson's Avatar
Karen Robertson
I was a training and marketing director for 20 plus years. I taught to answer the phone by the third ring. I gave points to those that did on shopping reports ... and dinged those that didn’t. Circumstances sent me back on site and into the real word some years ago... and I realized the arrogance and disconnection of my expectations. The reality is that we have to answer all knock leads by the end of the day ... when our residents are coming in for packages, asking questions about the short balance letter they just found on their door...and are submitting the work order they forgot to call us about in the morning they left for work. Many office are open seven days a week... working with two to three team members...who all get days off during the week. Benchmarks are important...but they only measure part of the story.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Melissa Brown's Avatar
Melissa Brown
amen! Every property is different and so many duties have changed.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Karen Robertson's Avatar
Karen Robertson
Melissa Brown we all have our own challenges don’t we! I think at the end of the day, most of us try hard to do a good job.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Melissa Brown's Avatar
Melissa Brown
Karen Robertson I agree.. we work hard! I have Always been blessed to work for amazing companies and with amazing people and had the best bosses who appreciate me. I have Never have the luxury of being overstaffed or just looking at the phone watching it ring But I Have had a bad shop report before where I tried to answer the phone while we had a fire alarm going off and was distracted From the shopper on the phone and had points Taken off because I wanted to answer the call within 3 rings. No one really knows what is going on at the office unless they are there at that time.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Karen Robertson's Avatar
Karen Robertson
Melissa Brown I hope they listened to your explanation. I will say my company does listen to both sides.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Melissa Brown's Avatar
Melissa Brown
I will just say It was a learning lesson for all of us and I don’t believe in shopping reports.. too subjective and not all shoppers understand the objective.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Jana Davies's Avatar
Jana Davies
It’s 2020. Everything is on line. Text. Email. Approval letter. Everything.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Alex Zachary's Avatar
Alex Zachary
Not all of us can answer the phone by the third ring. Most of the time we are dealing with residents, prospects or just day to day activities. We always check messages and call back if they leave a message, but we can’t always be glued to our desks.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Tony Leon's Avatar
Tony Leon
AGREED!!!
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Tina Bishop's Avatar
Tina Bishop
No one returns emails either.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Ashley Yancey's Avatar
Ashley Yancey
I am in a busy office and I always call back anyone who leaves a message but it is nearly impossible for me to answer the phone on the third ring and I have worked in many offices where this has never been an issue. We prefer for vendors to send emails. We are just too busy. Sometimes I cant get back to you in the same day. We do our best.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Richard Sargent's Avatar
Richard Sargent
Keep in mind, 25 years ago, a tour of an apartment home took all of 15 minutes. And amenities? That may have included a swing set. Maybe a pool. Maybe.
Our leasing consultants are now hosting hour long tours, planning and hosting resident events, cultivating in-person resident and prospect relationships, completing full background screenings, meeting all local, state and national fair housing laws, staying up to date on Grace Hill requirements, walking the tour path and the exterior of buildings to ensure cleanliness and sometimes going as far as baking fresh baked cookies and serving fresh fruit infused water each day. Add in other basic functions like handling the administrative side of entering maintenance work orders, closing them out, completing daily reporting for upper management/asset management or the ownership group, etc.
While we lose a little bit on service, our residents gain a TON on an actual living experience. In my market, occupancy has hit a 20 year high. Until the market demands that the phone be answered on the third ring by an actual person (something I was taught, too, when I started), then there isn’t a big incentive for property owners to make that change.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar
Anonymous
Yeah, no. We were still doing all of that 25 years ago. AND answering the phone by the 3rd ring. And, we didn’t have any fancy software to help us do any of it. Have you ever typed a box score on three part carbon paper with correction tape? Or, ever heard of a Chilton credit machine with the Velcro strap for the handset of the phone?
Our industry has really progressed with technology, but service is now, and always has been the key to success in this business.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar
Anonymous
Could be weeding out vendor calls !
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Chelsea Alise Spivey's Avatar
Chelsea Alise Spivey
I will not answer the phone if I have someone sitting in front of me. It is rude. It is sooo aggressive when I cant answer and I see the same number call 5 times in a row back to back. It makes me not even want to talk to them. Let us handle our business, leave a message and you will get a call back.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Stephanie Romaszewski's Avatar
Stephanie Romaszewski
100% agree. We have a voicemail for a reason, if we are on the other line, helping prospects, etc. I wont answer. Its rude to call and call and call and have that annoying ring over and over when with someone.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Deborah Kay Volker's Avatar
Deborah Kay Volker
The industry has changed, I've been in it approx 15yrs as well as lease myself... we have noticed as renter's the customer service is horrible... no one answers the phone, emails often go ignored, talking to someone in the office goes in one ear out the other, work orders go ignored for months so we just repair things ourselves... this has been the same each community we live at... I think it's the new millennials coming in. I was amazed how we lived at one community 7yrs and nobody even knew us by name... sad, but on the plus side it teaches me to be better... lol
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar
Anonymous
The multitudes of software programs has taken away from the customer service. It is the reason we don’t have time or energy for the very reason we are here- the residents! Take Craigslist, Yardi, RentCafe, MaxLeases, LRO Rainmaker, hundreds of emails, logins, passwords, all out of the equation of your day. Add back in a couple of simple programs to keep track and on budget. What do you have???? TIME. Time to think, pay attention to residents, prospects, vendors, and really LISTEN. I understand the software creates better records and better NOI, but it’s totally overboard!! Managers are chained to their desks and repairs are neglected.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar
Anonymous
I too get frustrated when a live person does not answer my call but come to realize that I am not the majority renter demographic anymore. I do make an effort to evolve with the rest of the world but for important matters, like fire/flood/blood/HOUSING, I prefer live conversation.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar
Anonymous
I know for our company, we made the switch to automated phones due to our residential technology, RentCafe. We are not a fan of the automated greeting either, but the benefits of traffic entry and accurate marketing source info were the drivers of the decision. Callers can get to a live person by following the prompts; press 1, 2 or 3 and, if the office is available to pick up, they do, just like the old days.
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar
Anonymous
Same here. I do answer quickly when we are short staffed. Part of it becomes a nuisance though when your trying to complete your work and the darn thing never stops ringing!!!Especially if there is more than one of you in the office that is quite capable to answer as well!
Posted 2 years 5 months ago
Anonymous's Avatar
Anonymous
This is interesting because when I’m doing market surveys 9/10 I’m met with an automated system instead of an actual person. At my leasing office, we answer the phones directly without an automated voice unless we are closed. I find it interesting that a lot are switching over to this
Posted 2 years 3 months ago