As a company that specializes in live answering services for doctors, home contractors, and property management companies, we know what it’s like to answer calls that aren’t so pleasant. Things happen. People get upset before calling in. The key to managing a stressful call is remaining calm. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
Let’s explore this idea of remaining calm in the context of running a property management company. The first thing to realize is that customers rarely call property managers to tell them how much they love the service they receive. Rarely do people call up to leave compliments for staff members. When they call, it’s almost always because something is wrong.
As a property management answering service, we have fielded calls from customers:
- reporting property damage.
- in need of maintenance or repairs.
- looking to report annoying neighbors.
- kept looking to complain about staff members.
You name it, we have heard it. Yet our personnel are trained to remain calm and be objective. They are trained to get the facts and forward them to the right people. They are trained to offer solutions whenever doing so is feasible.
Try to Be Empathetic
So how do our people remain calm? One of the first things we train them in is empathy. To be empathetic is to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Try to imagine dealing with the issue they are calling you about. If you can see it from their perspective, it’s a lot easier to remain calm.
During the holiday season, a common maintenance issue for residential property managers is the frozen garbage disposal. Renters throw all sorts of food waste into the sink without even thinking about it. Before they know it, the garbage disposal is frozen, and the sink is clogged.
It’s easy to get frustrated when this sort of thing happens. But put yourself in the tenant’s shoes. You didn’t do it on purpose. You weren’t looking to cause a problem that would force the maintenance man to come out on a holiday. It was an accident. Now you just need help fixing things.
Focus on the Facts
Another helpful tip for remaining calm is focusing on the facts. In all likelihood, the caller is in a heightened state of emotion. Whether she’s frustrated, scared, or angry, her emotions are partially influencing her ability to communicate. If you can keep your emotions out of the equation and focus on the facts, you can better understand what’s going on as you search for a solution.
It’s easy to respond in kind to heightened emotion. But an emotional response to an emotionally charged conversation only makes matters worse. Stick with the facts and you’ll find it easier to prevent an emotional conversation from escalating.
Reassure the Caller
The hardest thing to do when dealing with a not-so-pleasant call is to reassure the customer that you are there to help. Curiously, this is often one of the most effective ways to keep a conversation at a calm level. Callers don’t want to be made to feel guilty when they call in with a maintenance issue. They don’t want to feel like they are being blamed. Reassuring them that everything is fine goes a long way toward maintaining positivity during the call.
Remaining calm as a property management company representative is a no-brainer. But any kind of business that helps customers over the phone is in the same boat. When those not-so-pleasant calls come in, the people who answer need to remain calm and under control. Otherwise, calls can get out of hand.