At the heart of property management is customer service. But with 65% of those polled saying their managers provide “below average” customer service, it’s clear the property management industry needs to look for every advantage when it comes to communications with customers. Many managers, recognizing that the telephone is the lifeline to their businesses, are improving their communications systems.
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A modern telephone system takes an agency’s communications to a whole new level. It not only improves customer service, but agent productivity and mobility; and it reduces costs. Simply put, it helps you work smarter.
To do all this, a telephone system doesn’t have to cost a lot or demand lots of technical expertise. It does require property managers to carefully consider their options when it comes to technologies and service providers. But when properly envisioned, installed and employed, a modern phone system positions a property manager for increased productivity as well as business growth.
For a property manager, business growth depends on managers staying productive. So, ensuring they are managing their time wisely is critical. A modern communications system lets agencies measure important metrics like call volumes, talk time, and missed calls. It gives agencies the data they need to make important business decisions about staffing and training. In the office or on the go, agents can keep track of their offices’ productivity in real time. They can also generate reports to examine how their managers can be more productive.
Improving Customer Service
The most important way to retain a customer or to grow referral business is simple: excellent customer service. Managers are constantly being rated based on their ability to quickly respond to customer policy questions, help with property issues, and build relationships with customers.
An up-to-date communications systems means property managers:
- Never miss a customer call
- Are better prepared with CRM integration
- Route customers to the right employee quickly
- Can monitor calls for quality assurance and training
The days of getting up to go talk to someone or waiting for return emails or voicemails are a thing of the past. Property managers can improve the way they communicate with everyone in the office through unified communications. With Unified Communications, agents can transfer calls, share screens, send email and instant messages, and access applications and data seamlessly, regardless of where they are located. Voice, data and conferencing all are managed from the agent’s desktop, which is accessible through laptops and a range of mobile devices.
Work is definitely no longer a location; and modern communications systems reflect that reality. With them agents can easily manage their phone settings to stay connected with customers and prospects whether they’re in the office or on the go. Set a phone number to ring a cell phone, an office phone, at home, or all of them at the same time. Now customers need just a single phone number or extension to stay in touch.
Agents also can monitor the productivity of an office even when they’re away. The days of losing visibility to a property managers when you’re traveling are thankfully behind us. Remote workers, too, stay connected to the agents in the office and owners can monitor their productivity as well.
- Customers can always reach agents
- Traveling managers stay connected to the office
- Property managers can search for qualified employees outside local area, if necessary
Tracking every customer interaction is critical to an property management firm. Understanding the policy history, call history, and personal notes and preferences of the insured is key to providing an optimal customer experience. Companies make large investments in software to manage and track every client-facing interaction, and a modern communications system integrates phones and other systems.
CRM software integration with the phone system helps keep agents prepared for every customer call. Customer interactions are more efficient, boosting the number of calls agents can make in a day.
- Better customer management
- Greater efficiencies
- Improved visibility
- Personal touch
Fostering Business Growth
A phone system shouldn’t get in the way of a business’ ability to grow. It should be flexible, easy to maintain, and easily adaptable to the needs of an expanding business. Agents should be able to add new employees to the system in minutes or open a new location and have the phone system up and running the same day. Employing the latest telecommunications technology keeps agencies ahead of the competition. Trying to compete in today’s market with a regular telephone line is simply not good business.
For many firms looking to modernize their communications systems, the first decision is between a traditional phone service and one based on newer Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology.
Traditional Telephone Service
A traditional telephone solution uses the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), which gives each call its own private bandwidth pipe from end to end. It’s kind of like someone giving you a private two lane road whenever you and a friend want to drive somewhere. It’s wonderful, but there’s a lot of unused space in front and behind. And while this solution is the most reliable, it is also more expensive.
Voice Over IP
VoIP wraps voice transmissions in data packets for transmission over the Internet, so calls share bandwidth with other data moving on the network. This makes VoIP a more efficient way of calling, and as a result, VoIP solutions are usually less expensive than traditional phone lines.
VoIP-based services are usually provided for a flat monthly fee that virtually eliminates long-distance charges. Saving money is the most popular reason most businesses give when they make the switch to a VoIP system, but plenty make the move to take advantage of its many advanced features. Some examples:
Unified Messaging (UM) - Merges voicemail, email, and fax into one simple solution. Voicemail is converted to email and can be “read” through the audio on a computer and the user can call back selected parties in any order. Users can also have the voicemail translated into text and sent as an email or even a text message to their smartphones.
Softphone applications - Allow users to treat their computer as a phone handset. With a softphone on their computers, users can “click to call” contacts and seamlessly transfer calls from a computer to a cell phone with one click.
Device/phone number mobility - Users can take their office number to another office or location using a softphone (voice application that runs on a computer) or VoIP handset. This allows them to not only take all of their preferences with them, it also helps the business save cell phone minutes.
Find me/Follow me - Extensions can be set to ring a desk phone two times then attempt to reach them on their cell phone, home phone, or ring all phones at once.
VoIP technology has ushered in a new way of thinking about workplace efficiency through unified communications. Voice, data and conferencing are all managed on a single IT infrastructure that is accessible via in-office equipment, laptops, and a range of mobile devices.
In evaluating UC’s potential impact on your agency, consider this: Your agency is only making money when your managers are staying productive, selling and servicing customers. Using unified communication applications like the 3CXPhone computer and smart phone application can save your agents two hours a week in lost time. That’s two hours they can put back into selling and growing the business.
Call our Specialist. He can be reached at:Dar ZuchBusiness IT Specialist - CalgaryHelia Technologies