Lettings Agencies: Common Customer Complaints and How to Avoid them

Anyone who has worked in a lettings agency knows that to do so, you need a bit of a thick skin. Being the middle man between tenants and Landlords brings with it a certain amount of confrontation, not to mention the huge workload that comes with managing a large portfolio of properties, as well as being responsible for their advertisement.

Anyone looking to go into business in the lettings industry needs to possess a certain toolbox that will help them to overcome some of the most common challenges. Even those who have worked in the industry for a while should always be on the look-out for new tips and tricks, to improve their experience and that of their clients. Here, we take a look at some of the most popular customer complaints and offer up some advice on how to avoid them.

Out of Hours

As a lettings agent, you facilitate every act of communication between Landlords and their tenants. This is a considerable responsibility considering the importance of maintaining a safe home for tenants and the potential costs associated with such for Landlords.

Emergency scenarios are commonplace when you work in lettings, for example, a tenant could be locked out of their home, they could have no access to water or heating, or a major building failure could take place that threatens their wellbeing. Similarly, mindful management of property maintenance and repairs can be the difference between a Landlord meeting their mortgage payments, or not.

As a result of this, it is essential that lettings agents are available at all times to give permission for work to take place. A surprising number of agents don’t offer an out of hours phone line, which not only acts as a serious red flag for tenants considering renting the properties they advertise but which also puts them at risk of legal action against them due to the many rules and regulations they have to adhere to when it comes to tenant safety.

So, step one is to consider offering an out of hours phone line yourself. This will put you miles ahead of the competition, not to mention the fact that if a company’s customer service is excellent, 78% of consumers will do business with a company again after a mistake. And before you start worrying about the cost of this, there’s a new solution on the market that enables you to facilitate this essential service without breaking the bank.

Outsourcing your out of hours phone line to a third party has a multitude of benefits. Firstly, you get to make the most of a body of ready-trained, expert customer service representatives with plenty of experience in emergency call handling, secondly, you only pay per minute, which means that you always get a return on your investment and makes this option far more affordable than hiring in-house full-time staff for the task. Furthermore, it allows you and your existing team to maintain a good work/life balance as you can simply hand over the reins when 5 pm strikes.

Slow Response Times

Whether you’re trying to get in touch with your lettings agent via telephone or email, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re not going to get an immediate response. Lettings agencies are notoriously hectic work environments thanks to the multiple responsibilities agents juggle on a daily basis, from creating property advertisements and carrying out property viewings, to managing property maintenance projects and writing up legal paperwork.

Whether you have to call back a few times to get through or you’re placed on hold for a long time, getting in touch with a lettings agent can be inconvenient and frustrating for many people. For this reason, agencies should consider outsourcing again as a solution to this common customer complaint.

As well as outsourcing your out of hours phone lines, you can also outsource any calls at any time of day, as a way of increasing your staff body without the cost of hiring. And all this without sacrificing quality, as outsourced workers are some of the most experienced experts in their fields, which you should definitely bear in mind considering 68% of customers say the service representative is key to a positive service experience.

Outsourcing providers like Cymphony ensure a smooth integration into your existing body of call handlers too, so that customers and clients don’t notice the difference. Being able to answer calls more quickly enables you to offer a better service, which is particularly important when it comes to responding to emergencies, and also creates a more fluid workflow which is crucial for busy teams.

Quick Enquiries

Despite the significant number of calls and emails received by lettings agencies, the vast majority of enquiries only require a simple, quick response. For example, someone may have a question about a property, such as “Is there any parking available?” or perhaps they want to know how long a tenancy on a property would last. And of course, requests for property viewings are going to be high on the agenda for a lot of your customers, which is another request that can be handled swiftly.

Yet, despite the minimal nature of their request, your customers are waiting forever for their answer. A great solution for this issue is live chat. This form of communication is known for its convenience, thanks to its accessibility and speed, making it ideal for quick questions. In fact, 41% of consumers prefer live chat when contacting customer support.

Installing a live chat feature into your website is easy too, especially if you make the most of Cymphony’s installation instructions. You can even outsource to experienced live chat agents to further ease your workload!

Property Maintenance Progression

A key aspect of the job of a lettings agent is to manage property maintenance projects on behalf of your Landlords. This can be a complicated and time-consuming task; acting as a go-between for three parties; the Landlord, the tenants and the contractors. Not to mention the fact that contractors are notoriously difficult to tie down thanks to being in very high demand. As a result, these projects usually progress slowly, much to the frustration of everyone involved.

Work associated with property maintenance projects tends to take up the majority of your time as a lettings agent, so an extra pair of hands can make a huge difference. Outsourcing the simpler calls, for example, those with the aim of gaining permission from Landlords or access from tenants, helps to speed up the process and keep tenants and Landlords happy, as well as freeing up your time to dedicate to other tasks.

Workload Management  

In a similar vein, an extra pair of hands can be a huge help when it comes to any aspect of a letting agent’s workload. These days, you can outsource so many different responsibilities to third party providers, and Cymphony even supplies virtual personal assistants to busy workers. A virtual personal assistant is qualified to manage all typical administration tasks, which is exactly what makes up the majority of your time as a lettings agent.

So, why not give the responsibility for the simpler, yet most time-consuming tasks of the day to an admin expert while you contribute your expertise to the situations that benefit from it the most? This is the fastest way to improve your customer ratings, as it allows you to go the extra mile, which most agents do not have the time to do.

As you can see, there is so much potential to change the face of lettings; transforming its typical working environment from one of chaos to one that is smooth and efficient; eradicating the many customer complaints that would usually plague its workers. Outsourcing is the best way to facilitate the changes that are needed to make this a reality, whether you’re establishing an out of hours phone line to make sure you’re available in emergency situations, a live chat service to help keep call and email numbers to a minimum, or you’re enlisting the help of a virtual personal assistant to lend a hand with the many, time-consuming administration tasks that make up so much of your workload. These simple changes can help you to avoid all of the most common customer complaints; helping to boost your reputation and profitability.

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