10 Ways your Maintenance Team can Improve the Resident Experience
6. Choose the right time to give residents maintenance-related items
Rhodes says giving residents a repair-related move-in gift is a sure way to put the maintenance team against a wall. “Don’t give out a toilet plunger as a move-in gift,” he says. “Let’s think it through… you have a resident move in, they pay rent and they are greeted in the bathroom by a toilet plunger. That’s like buying a car with 100,000-mile warranty, but you open the trunk and it’s full of tools. How much confidence in the plumbing does this brand new resident have?” Giving the gift of a plunger can be done by the maintenance team after they’ve used a new plunger to clear the lines on a service call. “In this way the resident knows that the toilet works, and maintenance will respond if there is a problem.”
7. Good communication between office, resident will assist Maintenance
Educate office staff about the information that maintenance needs on a service request. Rhodes says the office needs to know the difference between a dripping faucet and leaking faucet, and be able to convey that to the maintenance team before the service call. He recommends arming staff with cue cards that can be used to ask questions and get detailed information from residents when they call for service. “It’s teaching the right language for office staff to use,” Rhodes says. “The cards are written in maintenance’s own words so that maintenance gets a complete description of the problem.”
8. Cross-train the front office on how maintenance does its job
Invite office staff members to spend a full, normal day shadowing a maintenance technician. That, Rhodes says, will help leasing associates and administrative assistants who are likely to field maintenance calls a better understanding of what the technician needs to do the job right the first time. If a technician has to return to the job because he or she doesn’t have the right information and tools, resident confidence in management’s ability to resolve issues may be shaken, Rhodes said. By the same token, spending a normal day in the office can help a technician with understanding life as a leasing professional.
If a technician has to return to the job because he or she doesn’t have the right information and tools, resident confidence in management’s ability to resolve issues may be shaken, Rhodes said. By the same token, spending a normal day in the office can help a technician with understanding life as a leasing professional.
9. Provide social setting for maintenance and residents
A maintenance social is a great way to let residents mingle with technicians in a casual atmosphere. Rhodes encourages management to put spatulas in their tech’s hands and host a hamburger or hot dog cookout during the outdoor season. “Make it maintenance-themed so that your residents see maintenance techs as human beings, and maintenance techs see the same in residents,” he said. Consider having an agenda, and include topics like most common service requests and tips residents can use to help their apartments run more efficiently.
10. Enhanced onsite communication leads to successful maintenance
Host regular team meetings with the office staff so that everybody is always on the same page. “Let the maintenance department talk about what’s going on in their world and the office talk about what’s going on in their world,” Rhodes said. “It can’t be about whining.” Understanding issues that face each group will help improve communication with residents and resolve problems faster, Rhodes says.
Maintenance teams should know their role in the customer experience. Quite frankly, they can be perceived as the face of the company.