During the Great Recession, we all lived through the “doing more with less” which morphed into “doing more with nothing.” Budgets were cut, services were scaled back wherever possible and some owners even lost sight of the key component of building management: tenant retention.
As we all know, it costs twice as much to land a new tenant as it does to renew an existing one. Our tenants are our customers, and like in any business, exceptional customer service is what keeps our customers happy.
So how do we do that?
How often do we interact with our tenants? Are there any issues? Does it look like their business is doing well or struggling? The only way to know for sure is through one on one meetings and site visits. Getting feedback on building operations, tenant services and staff interaction goes a long way in showing your tenants that you are there to provide best in class service. In our ever connected world, face to face meetings are still the best way to connect. I like to say you can’t BFF your tenants remotely.
Have you upgraded any aspect of the property, or just getting by with the status quo? There are many improvements that can be done that add value to the building.
Adding a recycling program, new paint and carpet to the lobby and exterior improvements, low cost energy improvements, upgrading the restroom products and tenant events all show that the management and ownership cares about the tenants.
We saw many cutbacks on certain budget items in the last few years, and doing these easy improvements really came back to us in positive feedback from the occupants in the buildings. Many of these projects can be intertwined to make these informative and add excitement.
Working with your building services contractors and suppliers can go a long way in making a partnership out some of these improvements. It also a great way to help keep the costs down. We look at our vendors as a resource to our business, not a sales rep. We work with the information they bring as well as information at events like the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Every Building Conference to give us the resources to make improvements to our daily operations.
One example of a successful vendor partnership is co-hosting a recycling drive for Earth Day. The vendor brought in the dumpster to collect the items at a low cost to us, and our building sponsored some refreshments. The turnout was great and people were happy to be recycling items like electronics, printer cartridges and old mobile phones. These types of events really help build a sense of community at the buildings.
So doing more with less can make a lot of sense if done in a well-planned manner. During the recession we saw many Landlords want to cut services, change to cheap restroom products and eliminate tenant events. I feel the managers who kept a high level of service and tenant interaction were the ones who came away with tenants that wanted to stay when their lease was up.
For more on improving tenant satisfaction, Jim Peck of Rosemont Realty will be participating in a panel discussion at the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Every Building Conference & Expo on June 24, 2014. Joined by Mike Kapalko of Tork, and Josh Radoff of YR&G, Jim Peck will present “How to Retain (Happy) Tenants in a Changing Office Environment.”