Essential telephone support for Estate and Letting agencies: A case study
• A telephone “facilities management” style service to cut letting agencies’ on-call costs.
• Management of overflow and out of hours calls to combat letting agency staff burnout.
• Vendors, landlords and tenants benefit from action rather than simply having messages passed on.
• Property viewings, diary bookings and enquiries can all be dealt with by SMARTstrat.
SMARTstrat were approached by Loc8Me Letting and Estate agency to assist with overflow and out of hours calls. They needed more than just a call answering service; they wanted a seamless extension of their business. We were to respond to calls from vendors, landlords and tenants by dealing with enquiries wherever possible, rather than simply passing on messages.
A particular area of concern was student tenants who were using the out of hours call-out number for non-emergency matters. On-call staff were receiving unnecessary “emergency” calls throughout the night and because on-call staffing is expensive, this increased the agency’s costs. It also had a significant impact on staff morale due to burnout and frustration.
Managing student tenant enquiries
Rather than just taking a message, SMARTstrat manages Loc8Me’s Letting and Estate agency’s student enquiries by providing a telephone facilities management service. Some examples are:
• We have access to alarm codes so that any student who calls to say an alarm is going off can be given the code straight away and talked through the reset process.
• If the electricity has gone off, we talk the tenants through the mechanics of the fuse box to see if a switch has been tripped and tell them how to correct it before reporting a maintenance fault.
• We go through checklists and flowcharts supplied by the landlords/agent for all aspects of the accommodation before having to refer the student to the agency or landlord.
• If offered, we can notify the on call property manager when keys are lost and provide access to the property if needed out of hours.
• We can be given access to a list of maintenance companies who we directly contact to arrange property visits if the issue needs urgent attention.
This service for student accommodation prevents the following:
• Estate and lettings agency staff burnout/turnover
• Unnecessary call-outs for the fire services
• Frustration from tenants looking for immediate assistance
• Time wasting during office hours
• The cost and disruption to the Estate and Letting agency of losing good staff
• Piece of mind for tenants that their calls are answered and the relevant people informed ready for the next working day
New tenancy agreements
By feeding overflow calls to SMARTstrat, all calls from prospective new landlords are captured, thereby maximising the potential for new business. It’s well documented that potential clients who are met with an unanswered call will rarely call back; they prefer to call a competitor who is readily available.
Tenancy call-out scheme cover
By managing the tenancy call-out scheme for lost keys, maintenance and repairs we remove our client’s costs of paying staff to be on-call every night and reduce the amount of out of hours, non-emergency calls.
Loc8Me Estate and Lettings agency said:
“Using SMARTstrat has reduced my costs considerably, and the positive affect on my resources has been significant. It’s hugely important to Loc8Me Estate and Lettings that staff, vendors, landlords and tenants are all looked after. We’re well on our way to providing the kind of service we have always aspired to, and SMARTstrat are eager to suggest added efficiencies and processes to make it even better.”