At this time of year, while most people think of Thanksgiving turkeys and the fun of the December holidays, a busy leasing office manager’s mind may also be on concerns for the community. One of the most crucial tasks is handling office closures during the winter months. It’s critical to communicate office hours and maintain business as usual for both current and potential residents, even when the doors are closed.
But with just a few simple steps, you and your team can keep your office rolling along–even when you’re sitting down to turkey and stuffing.
As a resident, there are few things more irritating than trying to visit the property management team, only to find that the standard office hours have changed. During the holiday season, residents may have questions regarding their bills or rent, need to collect a package that was delivered to the office, or even want to discuss renewals. Take a proactive approach by messaging your residents several weeks in advance of office closures or time changes, and include details about emergency contacts.
Your messaging strategy may include:
No matter how well you communicate your office hours, it’s likely you’re still going to get calls during your closures, particularly from prospects. While you could — and should — update your answering machine or voicemail message with information about your holiday opening hours, you may also want to engage a call center to help to ensure you never miss an important call. Call centers can operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can cover for your team when your office is closed.
Remember that leaks, floods and heating issues can still happen over the holidays. If possible, set up an emergency hotline for maintenance problems and communicate the details to your residents alongside office hour change information.
Your social media accounts are a powerful way to communicate to both residents and prospects. From Facebook postings to reminder tweets, residents can feel comfortable knowing they always have somewhere to look for news. Meanwhile, prospects can get a feel for how you engage your community with critical updates.
However, keeping your posts fresh and regular doesn’t mean you have to hover over your keyboard during your holiday celebrations:
Take advantage of your email and your community website as ways to share information about operational changes during the holiday season. While your office is closed, set an automatic reply on your email that explains your current office hours while reassuring the sender that their email is important and that your team will attend to it as soon as possible. Additionally, consider adding a post to your blog or adding an update to your website’s homepage that outlines your holiday hours.
With a plan in place to communicate with renters as well as to handle emergencies, you can help your office run smoothly throughout the busy holiday season.