Our secret to good customer service? We answer the phone!

One Sunday morning I got a call from a landlord that was interested in finding out more about TenantMagic www.tenantmagic.net.  Toward the end of our conversation she asked “Why should I use TenantMagic? There are so many companies like yours out there. ”  I simply replied “We answer the phone on Sunday morning.”  That landlord is now a regular user of TenantMagic.

Know your customer

There are between 8 and 10 million landlords with fewer than 10 properties. From our observations,  the vast majority use paper applications and maybe some type of manual background screening. They tell me that the background screening can be anything from an online search by the landlord to having the applicant simply supply a copy of their credit report. Neither of these are very effective at identifying problem tenants.

We found that most of these landlords are not using any type of program to facilitate their application and screening process. When they call in, they indicate either

  • They didn’t know such a service existed until someone mentioned it to them.
  • There are so many different programs, they can’t determine which one to use.
  • They are don’t fully understand what features are needed or how the programs actually work.

In each case they appreciated having someone to speak to that could explain to them about selecting and using an online rental application and screening program.

Most of the callers were in 40’s 50’s or 60’s and valued having someone to talk to.

Matching customer service tools with your users’ preferences

There are many web sites that do not have a phone number listed for customer assistance. Trulia for example, doesn’t have a phone number or an email address for their users. They rely on a search page where you enter a question and a FAQ page. Other sites offer a chat bot that that offer a slightly better interactive experience.

Relying strictly on a searchable knowledge base or chat bots could be perfectly suitable if you know that your users are all under the age of 35. But, you could be frustrating and ultimately alienating customers that do not fall into that demographic.

Offering a range of customer service tools

The optimal customer service solution when you have users that vary in their technology sophistication and age is to provide a range of methods. With TenantMagic, users can submit a trouble ticket, email customer support, and call customer support. They can also go to our FAQ page.

We are available to landlords and applicants 8am to 8pm Monday through Friday and from 9am to 5pm on the weekends. We return missed calls within an hour during business hours.  Calls are returned the first thing the next day if received after hours.

We have found that providing customer service channels that meet a wide range of user requirements keeps our users highly satisfied when they have questions or need assistance. This can be evidenced by the large number of highly favorable reviews we have received. See for yourself – http://bit.ly/2IDdFeh

At TenantMagic we know that understanding your customer’s level of comfort with different types of technology especially for customer service goes a long way with customer satisfaction and retention.

TenantMagic provides comprehensive application and tenant screening at no cost to real estate agents, property managers and landlords. Applicants pay the fee.

Jay Apple is co-founder of TenantMagic, LLC  www.tenantmagic.net

The Risks With Using Paper Rental Applications

I recently received a call from a condo association manager that was referred to me. She was concerned about their paper rental applications. They have been using paper applications for over 40 years and had them all stored in their offices. Legal names, dates of birth and social security numbers were written in each of them.

The manager finally realized the risks associated with having thousands of  documents containing sensitive personal information on the premises. The office was also running out of space to store them which made the matter even worse.

The need for personal data

Detailed personal information is crucial to be able to make a qualified decision. Here is a link to a post that does a good job of explaining why this data is important when assessing rental applicants. https://bit.ly/2I6rDG9

Identity theft risks with paper applications

Identity theft is the fasted growing white-collar crime in America according to the FBI.

Real estate agents, property managers and landlords that use paper rental applications are increasing the risk of identity theft.

There are 2 types applications that pose these risks-

1) An actual paper application that is handed out at the location or available on line and then downloaded to be completed. The completed application is then hand-delivered, emailed or even faxed back to the office.

2) An online fillable pdf.

The security problems stem from the fact they are printed out to be viewed and distributed.

A paper application contains the applicant’s name, date of birth, current address and social security number. Credit card information can also be found on applications in many instances.

This information provides an identity thief with everything that is needed assume an identity and fraudulently use the victims credit accounts.

Paper applications are easy to be viewed by unauthorized individuals. I have seen them laying out in the open at many offices.  Rental offices by their nature normally have people regularly coming in. There are also cleaning and maintenance people that could access them, especially when the offices are closed and no one else is around.

On-line pdf rental applications present an additional security problem  when there are multiple applicants. Many times the co-applicants are required to complete the same application as the primary applicant on the same form. The primary applicant will complete their then the co-applicant will continue with the same application. This allows the co-applicant to see all of the primary applicant’s personal information. This is a cause for concern when the applicants don’t know each other.

The benefits of secure online rental application

Issues associated personal data security dangers can be effectively addressed by using  a secure on-line application program.

Important features include –

–  Individual applications (that can then be combined for review) for each applicant.

–  The ability to capture an SSN for screening purposes, but not make it visible to anyone after it is entered.

–  Access by permission only. If more than one person needs to review the application, each needs to have their own log in credentials.

Paper applications are obsolete and provide a tempting target for identity thieves.  Many of the personal data security dangers with paper rental applications can be greatly reduced by using a secure on-line rental application and background screening service.

TenantMagic Upgrades and Improvements

 

We are please to announce that TenantMagic has upgraded and enhanced its online rental application and screening program in addition to launching its new web site.

What this means to you –

  • More detailed credit reports
  • More in-depth criminal reports
  • Still the same great customer service that you come to expect from TenantMagic

The credit reports will now break out the lines of credit by type. For each open account we added terms and monthly payments.

New features on the web site now include –

Thank you to all of our regular users. For those of you that have not used us in while, please check us out to see our improvements at www.tenantmagic.net. We know you will be pleased.