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