Many letting agents benefit hugely from repairs and maintenance management software – it saves them a lot of time and effort in hours that might otherwise have been spent on the phone or writing emails to tenants, landlords and contractors. Those hours can now be concentrated on other areas.
However, this time saving is usually down to the fact that those letting agents’ tenants are actually using the software, rather than calling in or emailing to report repairs. This is a challenge that needs to be overcome – new systems and processes are often met with resistance (both conscious and unconscious) wherever they are introduced. With this in mind, the system needs to be made as enticing as possible so tenants are not intimidated by it, but this is usually easier said than done. There could be any number of reasons why a tenant might be resistant to using the system – here’s how you can overcome those reasons.
One of the biggest barriers to accurate repair reporting is language-based – with so many different nationalities living in the UK, you’re far from guaranteed to be dealing with tenants who speak perfect English. With a picture-based system like Fixflo’s, all tenants need to do is drill down the menus to the right problem. They can also take their own pictures, videos or audio files to better illustrate the issue.
It’s important to be clear as early as possible that repairs should be reported using the software as opposed to the phone or email. If tenants think they can call or email an office, they’ll do so more often than using the method you want them to use. To this end, you should concentrate on promoting the system and its benefits to them at the start of their tenancy. If they do call or email anyway, you should also redirect them to the software, even if it’s easier to just action the repair – this way the status of every repair is contained within the system so everyone relevant can see it.
Don’t underestimate the power of promotion – after all, you can’t expect people to use a system they know nothing about. At the beginning of a new tenancy, you could send out a welcome pack that explains the system and its benefits, in addition to telling the reader how to get started using it. You could also send out emails with links to the software and step-by-step instructions on setting up a profile – that way, the user will already be online and ready to begin.
Although tenants have the ability to report repairs at any time of the day or night, that’s no good if the person on the other end doesn’t respond in a timely manner. While we’re not suggesting that you have to immediately get the ball rolling on a repair that’s come in at 3am, start the process at the earliest convenient time. This shows the tenant you care and increases their confidence in the system, making them more likely to use it next time. If you’re not responsive, they’ll be less likely to use it.
Ultimately, the best repairs and maintenance management software is the one you can convince your tenants to use. The challenge is getting them to do so – but once they’ve adopted it, the benefits will be immediately clear.
With five years in agency-based content marketing behind him, Ben’s dedication to not going to the gym is matched only by his unbridled passion for the humble comma.