For many multifamily communities, a missed call represents a missed opportunity for revenue, whether that call would have given on-site staff a chance to capture a lead or address a renter concern that could bring about a positive review or lease renewal. Unfortunately, on average, 40% of incoming calls to properties are missed. Hiring more local staff to manage incoming calls during business hours is a costly solution, and many calls come in when the office is closed.
To capture more of these calls – and leads – your community may be looking to partner with a call center (also known as a virtual leasing center). However, not all call centers are equal.
Most multifamily communities require more than a simple answering service that has the sole purpose of taking messages that are passed along to busy staff. Instead, you need a partner that will have conversations with callers, providing information about your community or helping to resolve resident concerns, while passing along details about leads that make it easier for your on-site staff to close a deal.
Four things to look for when partnering with a call center
- Helpful staff. The management team at the call center and the people who will be responding to incoming calls have to have a strong understanding of how your community runs. It’s important that you be able to reach them directly to provide details about your business (even better if you can visit in person). The staff should be able to relay relevant information during calls, respond to renter concerns, and convert leads. Ideally, callers may not even realize that they are speaking to someone who is not at your property.
- Software integration. Preferably, you should be working with a call center that provides customer relationship management (CRM) software that offers robust lead tracking, scoring, and management. If possible, the data collected by the call center should integrate directly into your property management system (PMS). If not, you should be able to access reports that you can easily import into the PMS yourself.
- Transparency into marketing channel ROI. A quality virtual leasing center should have the ability to provide transparency into how all of your lead generation sources are performing. The system can assign trackable numbers to each marketing channel, then provide you with detailed reporting broken down by source. You’ll no longer need to rely on the memories of prospects or on-site staff filling out guest cards to track your leads. Instead, you’ll have fact-based reporting on which you can base your future advertising budget decisions.
- Value-added services that go beyond the phone. Finally, look for a call center that can provide you with additional value-added services. For example, can they implement and manage a live chat box on your community website? Can they respond to emergency maintenance situations after hours? Can they help improve your on-site team’s performance by listening to and scoring their calls?
A virtual leasing center can assist a property – large or small – with capturing calls that would otherwise have been missed both during and after business hours. However, the benefits go far beyond just answering phones. When researching a call center, look for one that will be a true partner to your community and support your goals with value-added services that will help you run your business smoothly and efficiently.