Communications, when done well, can help your HOA or condominium management company build resident trust and provide a valuable experience to residents. In this blog post, we cover ten planning and organization tips to help you not only manage outreach to residents but EXCEL in it!
1) Perform a frequent communications audit
On a regular basis, it’s helpful to review outreach efforts for the communities you manage. This evaluation will help gain insight on how effective those efforts are. The audit will prompt you to ask questions about:
- Methods used by managers to contact residents
- Percentage of residents reached through each method
- How residents have contacted the management office
- Which questions residents ask management regularly
- Whether staff responses satisfied residents
- The time it takes for a manager to respond to and resolve a resident’s question, concern, or complaint
2) Develop a communications strategy
Based on the evaluation, work with your team to develop a communications strategy that comprises the following elements:
- Responsibility for communicating with residents – Designate roles to employees and make sure that responsibilities for everyone is clear.
- The content of your communications – Decide what information needs to be conveyed to residents?
- The frequency of communications – Specify the number of times a week, month, or on an as-needed basis.
- Method of communication – phone, email, text message, or website notice.
- How will you measure resident satisfaction with management responses and overall customer service?
Read our blog post to learn more about how to create a communications strategy for your community. After the plan draft is complete, review it with your team, test the plan, and make any corrections to it.
3) Keep residents contacts up to date
Low open rates and high bounce rates may overshadow your communications efforts. When you review resident contacts in your database, you may find that some information is outdated. Therefore, you should reach out to residents whose emails or phone numbers are no longer in use and correct the information. A better method is to have residents update their contact information in the database themselves.
4) Create a communications schedule
Once you and the team have developed a high-level communications strategy that aligns with business objectives, it’s time to drill into the specifics. Create a schedule for what staff will convey, by whom, when, and through what methods. A schedule that contains content at least two to three weeks ahead of time helps you to stay on task. You may opt to create a spreadsheet or a calendar. Here is what a sample communications schedule might look like:
5) Segment your communications
Residents require different information based on what is occurring in the community (and can impact them) and which area of the community they reside in. That is why dividing residents into groups based on location are helpful and can guide your team in providing them with relevant information. This also improves the organization of your communications.
6) Create message templates
As you continue the outreach to residents, you might identify similar information managers send time and again. Thus, a message that managers can re-use should be converted into a template. Templates help keep content consistent and save time. Additionally, staff can also re-use the templates and edit the content if needed.
7) Schedule your messages ahead of time
Once you’ve built out the templates and created a communications schedule, start scheduling messages through your communications software in ahead of time. Scheduling messages beforehand has many advantages. For example, staff can schedule messages in advance so that no outreach is forgotten during busy times. Furthermore, a staff member can schedule a message days or weeks prior to a holiday. If your communications software permits, it’s best to schedule messages a couple of weeks ahead of time.
8 Incorporate your branding
The company’s brand should be prevalent in every outreach effort to maintain consistent messaging and professionalism. To illustrate, the brand reflects the company’s voice (tone), values (what the company stands for), and design (look and feel). When creating an email or newsletter, add the company logo and incorporate the brand’s colors in text and background areas. Additionally, developing a brand template with all requirements can help staff to keep their messaging aligned with company values.
9) Keep the content simple
To convey information to residents effectively, the message needs to be clear and easy to understand. Use short headlines and keep the text short. Furthermore, staff should incorporate the 5 W’s and an H – who, what, when, where, why, and how into the message. Also, if the information you need to put across requires sharing lengthy details, break it up into sections with short headlines.
10) Don’t leave out interpersonal communications
One of the most important, more in-depth ways to convey information to your community members is through personal, face to face communications. This communication focuses on verbal (what is actually said) and non-verbal cues (tone, expressions, and body language) to express feelings or convey information. Therefore, you can gain a better understanding of resident sentiment in face to face meetings to address problems before it escalates.
Community outreach is a vital part of daily operations – without it, poor communications can result in resident disengagement and lack of proper coordination internally. However, when done right, outreach helps to improve transparency in and out of the organization and increases satisfaction for both residents and employees.
Pilera Software is the premier community and property management suite that has helped thousands of community managers and back-office personnel enhance communications, improve customer service, and manage compliance and operations. May we help your community achieve these success stories? Book a demo to see how Pilera’s community management suite can help your company.