Last modified on October 18th, 2023
By Matthew Kaddatz
In a previous article, I shared some strategies for attracting and onboarding new owners to sustainably scale your property management business. In this article, I’ll come full circle in the customer lifecycle by discussing how you can effectively build, manage, and maintain successful owner relationships to foster long-term loyalty and growth.
This article was originally published in 2023 October edition of the NARPM Residential Resources Magazine. It is part three of a three-part series.
Set up a mutual success plan
Before you can truly dial in and foster strong owner relationships, you need to set up a mutual success plan, which outlines your owner’s goals and ensures you’re aligned from the beginning. To help you formulate this, start by asking each owner a series of questions:
- How long do they expect to hold the property? Are they in it for the long haul, or do they plan to sell in the coming months or years?
- How do they want to make money from this investment? Are they looking for cash flow, appreciation, or both?
- How involved do they want to be in maintenance decisions? Do they want to be notified of everything or just approve repairs for major issues?
- Why do they have a rental property in the first place?
- What would motivate them to sell? Are they on the lookout for opportunities to sell? Would it be hard to convince them to sell?
- What would cause them to self-manage? Have they been burned by property managers in the past? What do they expect from you?
- Do they want to invest more in the market you operate in? If so, what are they looking for? If you see a property you think would be a great fit for them, do they want you to pass it along?
- What are their preferred communication channels and frequency? Do they want to know all the little nuances or only updates on the big things?
Once you have a better understanding of your owner’s goals, you can set expectations and match your service to their needs.
Implement strategies to build long-lasting relationships
Having strong relationships with your owners is critical to your success as a property management business. However, it takes a lot of time and effort to foster and nurture those relationships, so you must continually look for ways to optimize your customer service strategy to offer the best possible experience. Start out by prioritizing the following:
Proactively and regularly communicate: Keep owners informed by providing clear and timely communication regarding updates and performance. Mobile communication tools like texting and email built directly into your property management software can make this easy and efficient. Additionally, schedule dedicated one-on-one time at regular intervals to review performance and share detailed reports.
Be transparent: These days, transparency is everything. Empower owners and support their business strategies with consistent access to property and performance data. Consider implementing property management software with a self-service owner portal that can give them a centralized location to access information and check on the status of their properties in real time. Another good way to increase transparency is to send out a monthly newsletter with valuable information, such as property updates, news, important filing dates, or any upcoming events.
Personalize your customer service: Even with standardized processes and contracts, you still need to treat each owner as a unique and valued customer. Be sure to provide service that showcases your attention to detail for their account. You can do this by sending a personalized gift, writing a handwritten thank-you note, or hosting an owner event to show you appreciate their business.
Provide growth opportunities: Show owners how they can take their performance to the next level and reinforce your business’s position as a trusted advisor by analyzing industry trends and identifying opportunities that can help them drive additional revenue. Property management software with built-in analytics can give you and your team the insights you need to make strategic recommendations.
Look for ways to upsell and cross-sell your services: As you grow your business and the types of owners you support, offering value-based services could be a meaningful way to build credibility and owner satisfaction. Some additional services you could offer include quarterly asset reviews, more property inspections, and asset management. You can also cross-sell any existing services, such as in-house maintenance for routine work, unit turns and rehab, referrals to real estate sales businesses, or things like an owner benefit package. A special caveat: If you don’t have the bandwidth to offer higher or additional levels of service, then it may be better to wait until you have more resources. Extended service tiers should be differentiated and exceptional, not just average if you want to provide the most value and keep your owner relationships strong.
By setting up a mutual success plan and following the relationship-building strategies I outlined in this article, you can not only retain your current owners but also attract new owners with a stand-out customer experience.
If you want to learn more about growing your business, download our free guide below.