Property Management:What Customers Want January 19, 2018 Mark Brecheen Property management is more than just overseeing a building. It is about relationships and creating a unique professional experience with “customers”—not tenants.We live in a world of instant gratification and the expectation for property management is no different. In an effort to accommodate that level of expectation, customer service platforms are now based on relationship management—a direct connection with the individual tenant. The better the customer experience and the more personal it is to their needs, the better the relationship, which means higher lease renewal, increased referrals and greater rental rate tolerance.Establishing that relationship is based on meeting the customer’s basic needs in a timely manner. Heat, air, cleaning, lighting, security and parking are the top priorities. The objective of today’s astute property manager is to anticipate and satisfy these basic needs before the customer has to ask. And thanks to the advancement of building automation systems, managers are able to monitor and proactively address many issues before the customer is event aware of the potential situation.…with more automation creeping into our industry, it is essential to keep the personal level customer relationships going at all times.However, with more automation creeping into our industry, it is essential to keep the personal level customer relationships going at all times. This is where communication is crucial. Open dialogue facilitates engagement and trust, and allows property managers to get to know their customers on a more personal level. Using this knowledge, managers can create events and programs that are specific to that building and that encourages a sense of community. Onsite amenities are also a must to give properties and their managers a competitive edge—from conference centers, fitness centers, tenant lounge areas, game rooms, putting greens, wine bars, patios with fire pits, ride share bicycles, collaborative meeting areas, etc. The amenities don’t necessarily have to be top-of-the-line, but a variety of options are expected.KBS has partnered with highly-customer centric management firms to oversee its properties and deliver that customer service excellence that is synonymous with the KBS brand.The efficacy of this strong management team is in the numbers. KBS conducted a survey on its prestigious Providence Towers and 3811 Turtle Creek properties in Dallas. Both properties boast impressive amenities and business environments, with incredible management teams to match. According to the KBS Kingsley Survey, both properties scored significantly above KBS portfolio averages and the Kingsley national average index.The top two areas indicative of tenant satisfaction are “overall satisfaction with management” and “management’s accommodation of special requests.” Second to these are three more categories: satisfaction with management’s communication, access and professionalism.Leading the polls in customer relationship and satisfaction is where it counts—and it extends beyond just the customer level. The brokerage community is acutely aware of who is managing local properties and will initiate relationships with the management team as part of their due diligence before exposing their client to that property. The direct communication between brokers and property managers has become much more common throughout the term of leases—not just through the initial process.The success of most businesses is based on customer relationships, and property management is no exception. When it comes to being a manager of the future, integrity, responsiveness and professionalism helps ensure excellence. Visitors recognize this difference. Mark Brecheen is a Senior Vice President for KBS, overseeing over 1.9 million square feet in the western U.S.