According to researcher, Osmo Wiio, “if communication can fail, it will fail.” Being prepared for potential miscommunications is the best way to ensure successful interactions. Property managers need to be able to communicate clearly to efficiently manage their community. They must also do their best to understand what owners, tenants, and residents need.
Miscommunications are a leading cause of interpersonal friction. In a recent survey, nearly 67% of respondents said that issues related to communication have led to a conflict or an altercation. Reducing the potential for misunderstandings, will in turn, eliminate potential problems occurring between members of the community. Being aware of what can lead to a communication mishap is the best way for property managers strategically minimize the potential of interpersonal conflict.
Word Choices & Tone
Ideally, discussions about important or complicated subject matters should happen face-to-face. Speaking in person gives everyone the opportunity to respond, not only to words, but also to demeanor, i.e. body language and tone of voice. A UCL research found that intonation conveys about as much meaning as words themselves. These conversational signals are typically lost in written communication and phone calls which can cause messages to be distorted and increase the potential for problems as a result of a misunderstanding
It’s helpful to review what you’re going to say before meeting with an owner to get the most polished version of your message across. Try and use words that have positive connotations and don’t forget to include the word “because” wherever you can. Words that lead to an explanation keep others engaged in conversation and increase understanding.
When people are preoccupied or tired, it’s possible they won’t hear or be able to retain everything you’ve said. Studies show that on average people forget around 50% of the information presented to them within the same hour. To avoid this, it helps to back up conversations that happen in-person or on the phone with a written confirmation in the form of an email or letter. In a follow up, recap everything that you have previously discussed. These written communications should be very detailed, and they should invite owners to reach out if they have any further questions. Opening a line of communication by encouraging a dialogue can help to clarify any remaining uncertainties.
Lastly, you can leverage online tools with CRM functionality. The best property management software systems can streamline communication from property managers to owners and tenants quickly and seamlessly. Property managers can use an online system to track conversations, record notes, and give owners a place to directly submit requests. This functionality can enable frontline staff to address customer requests and inquiries quickly and comprehensively by accessing a complete history of a customer’s communication.
By taking these precautions and implementing software that facilitates communication, property managers are can reduce owner frustration and they’re able to create a more positive customer service experience.