Three Steps to Faster Apartment Service Request Resolution
There is no question that we live in an instant gratification society. We are no longer willing to wait for much of anything–especially when it comes to something impacting our personal comfort. If a resident has a service request, not many are willing to wait a week or even 48 hours. They want a solution and they want it N-O-W. So, what’s a maintenance team to do?
It is a rare occurrence that I encounter any maintenance team or any property management professional who has spare time. The vast majority is working at full speed from the second they start their workday to the second they force themselves to end their workday.
Speeding up service request resolution is not solely a “maintenance” thing. It’s a “team” thing. Here are three steps your team can take to significantly speed up service request resolution.
Educate the Leasing Team on Taking Detailed Service Requests
After working on site for many years, it’s easy to take it for granted that everyone knows what the critical questions are. Unfortunately, this is an area where most don’t receive any training, and usually they learn on the job listening to other team members (who haven’t received training either). Schedule two times per year for your maintenance supervisor to conduct Work Order 101 training and walk the team through the following:
- The 10 most common service requests at the property
- Troubleshooting tips for those most common service requests
- Key questions the maintenance team would like you to ask for those common requests (For example, did you pour Drano down your garbage disposal, Mr. Jones?)
Set Standards for Inputting Service Requests into the System
Quickly is not a standard. By defining exactly what the expectation is, you can measure and manage the process. An example of a standard would be:
- All service requests will be typed directly into the facility management software as the resident is reporting it; or
- All service requests will be entered into the facility management software within 1 hour of receiving it.
The goal is to get away from jotting down the request on a sticky note and creating the opportunity for that note to attach itself to someone or something and disappear forever. The maintenance team has a 100% greater likelihood of completing a service request if they actually receive it in the system.
Ensure Maintenance has the Parts, Tools, Equipment, and Education Needed to Address the Most Common Service Requests at the Property
Every property is different, so while I am a huge proponent of requiring basic training, standardizing maintenance shops, and maximizing purchase power, I am also a fan of having the right stuff at the right place at the right time. Having to run to the local hardware store over and over again or constantly having to bring in a specialized vendor to fix a common issue loses valuable time.
Residents can be impatient (can’t we all?). But by addressing service request resolution as a team, you’ll be able to say to residents with confidence, “Someone will be able to come and work on that right away.”
What steps do your teams follow to ensure speedy service request resolution?