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Rommel Anacan

Welcome to my blog on MFI! This blog allows me to have an ongoing conversation with multifamily professionals like you. My focus is on helping you and your companies succeed by helping you optimize the quality of your relationships. If you'd like more information about me, my company and the ways that I can help you, please visit my website at www.RelationshipDifference.com

Five Steps to Handling Resident Complaints

Five Steps to Handling Resident Complaints

Have you ever heard the statement, “Customer service would be easy if it weren’t for those customers?” Sometimes that is just too true, isn’t it?

 

After all we know that sometimes residents:

 

  • Don’t read their leases
  • Don’t think their leases actually apply to them
  • Cause the problem then get mad at you for the problem
  • Can be unreasonable
  • Can be dishonest
  • And on and on and on and on

 

The challenge that you face is even if a complaining resident is all of the above, you still have to deal with the situation don’t you? In other words, the fact that a resident may be all of the above doesn’t mean that you can just “DQ” their complaints and brush them off. Well you could try but then you still have ‘Harold’ standing in the middle of the leasing office wondering why he can’t “speak to the manager!”

 

So what can you do...or what can you encourage your teams to do to manage these situations? After being in contact with thousands of people during my career, both onsite and at corporate, I have isolated five effective things that people can do when someone complains.

 

Help the customer feel important:

 

The most important “people-skill” that I believe all of us should learn is how to make other people feel important. If you are able to make an unhappy resident feel important, you will go a long way towards resolving any issues, even before you get to resolving the issue.

 

I cannot tell you how many times I spoke with people who just needed to vent and feel as if they were important enough to be heard. And even when I couldn’t give these people what they asked for,  I still got lots of “thank yous” and even some apologies after I took the time to make sure they felt important.

 

Remember it’s not a battle:

 

One of the most common mistakes that associates make is approaching a customer complaint as if it were a battle to be won or lost. How many times have you seen this when you’ve lodged a complaint with a company? Don’t you often want to say, “Look I’m not the enemy here, I’m just unhappy about this!”

 

A battle with a resident is battle you cannot win, even if you’re right. And the issue shouldn’t be about trying to prove who is “right” and who is “wrong” but how the issue may be resolved.

 

And the more you fight with a customer, the less important you make them feel . . . which means they will continue to do what they have to do to prove they are important!

 

Lose the snark/

Use some warmth:

 

When someone has a complaint, she often braces for “impact.” In other words, she expects the associate may give her some grief (especially if the resident secretly knows she was in the wrong), so she is prepared to dish it right back.

 

Remember that scene in the movie Top Gun when one of the pilots says, “I’m going to guns!” An upset resident is often prepared to go to guns...so when an associate fires a round of snark, the resident is prepared to pull the trigger.

 

Not the best way to diffuse a situation, huh?

 

When you’re genuinely warm and sincere with a customer, that can immediately diffuse things. I mean, how can someone argue with, “I’m so sorry. I see that we really fell short and I’d love to see what we can do to help you.”

 

Look for solutions

 

As I talked about earlier, associates often see these situations as battles to be won; so the search for solutions takes a back seat to putting the customer in his place. But the truth is, there are always solutions to be found aren’t there?

 

Sure, sometimes the solutions are not what the customer wanted initially, or what associates were able to do initially...but there are solutions everywhere. You just have to be willing to look for them.

 

 

(Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Rate this blog entry:
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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

This was great!!
It really brings things into perspective.
Thank you

  Crystal McDaniel
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hi Crystal! Thank you for reading the post and for the kind words. Handling resident complaints is never fun, but I like to say that you can't control how people come in~but you can control how they go out.

  Rommel Anacan
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great article! However, I think I missed something - what does "DQ" stand for?

  Iris Esguerra
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Hi Iris! Thanks for reading the article! "DQ" is short for disqualify/disqualified. Apparently I watched too many Olympic events when I heard the announcers say "DQ" a lot.

  Rommel Anacan
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Very good advice!

  The Rent Rite Directory
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thank you for reading!

  Rommel Anacan

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