Historic Increases in Email Volumes Eating Up Your Time?
According to a survey done for over 7,000 communities, the volume of communication with property managers has increased by 40% in the past 24 months. If you extrapolate this, the data is showing that the HOA Boards are also experiencing an increased volume of communication. As a volunteer, you want to know how to reduce the volume of communication boards deal with at your HOA and condo community.
Here are 8 ways you can deal with this increased communication traffic:
1. Online access to info 24/7 365: Give owners the information they need online. Post documents, policies, answers to FAQs, and their account balance in an online portal so they can retrieve the answers themselves.
2. Mobile Functionality: Homeowners are on the go and an increasing % of them use their smartphones to get the information they need. Does your community offer this convenience?
3. Direct communication traffic to the right people: Ever receive emails as a courtesy copy and it doesn’t require your attention? These still take up time to review. Think about if all 5 Board members are receiving emails. Most of the time a certain board member handles maintenance items, the Secretary handles administrative items the Treasurer handles accounting items, etc. By routing emails you’ll save everyone time. Some software systems allow owners to make requests for these items and it auto-routes to the right email (person) to make it even more efficient.
4. Make communication responses easier: The Board should be able to easily email the entire community to get the word out. Additionally, they should be able to make distribution groups to communicate with targeted groups for example: owners of a certain building or phase of a community, or a specific resident type like pet owners. Also, you may want to also have text or voicemail broadcast capability to help get the word out.
5. Keep track of communication: Look for a system that allows you to keep a record of emails sent and replies by homeowners.
6. Simplify: There is a large difference in software systems these days. A great system will allow you to simplify communication around the more complicated management items such as violations and architectural review requests. This will significantly reduce time spent on communication.
7. Get competent help: Unfortunately, the #1 complaint in the industry is a lack of responsive service. With a 40% increase in communication in the past 24 months, this will only make things worse. If your current management company is terrible at handling communication effectively find a company that will. Look for a company that will put response times in writing. If you are self-managed and the Board volunteers want help keeping up, outsource some of the work. An example is when you hire out the monthly accounting, that company will handle owner questions related to payments.
8. Answering service: If your community is receiving an increased number of after-hours emergency calls, you may consider an answering service. Let them handle these calls so you don’t have to. Provide a list of emergency types and the 24/7 vendors you use and they will dispatch for you and send you texts to keep you in the loop (if you want) as well as a synopsis of what happened the next morning.