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Property managers have a lot on their plate. Between finding new tenants, dealing with billing and rent collection, and overseeing repairs and maintenance, there’s hardly time to take a breath. As a result, many property management companies turn to call centers to help them manage their maintenance needs.

What is a property management call center, and how does it work?  Read on to find out!

What is a maintenance call center?

A maintenance call center is a professional service that answers and responds to tenant maintenance requests on behalf of property managers. The call center agents are available 24 hours a day. The call center can be used to process both emergency and routine maintenance requests for residential or commercial properties.

The main benefit of using a property management maintenance call center is that it allows you to streamline your maintenance process. All of your maintenance requests can be handled in one place, and you can track the progress of each request. This can help you ensure that all of your properties are being properly maintained.

What are the advantages of using a property maintenance call center?

Property managers have options for handling their maintenance requests. For example, they could use voicemail, refer tenants to the office, or avoid calls altogether. However, using a call center comes with some distinct advantages. Let’s review some of these benefits.

Handling Maintenance Calls 24/7

Property management maintenance call centers like Absent Answer are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This allows tenants to get help with their maintenance issues whenever they need it instead of waiting for the next business day. Having a 24-hour call center can prevent small issues from becoming bigger problems and is especially helpful during emergency situations.

Increasing Tenant Satisfaction

Property managers need to provide excellent customer service to maintain a good relationship with their tenants. Tenants who have a good experience with customer service are more likely to renew their lease. Maintenance call centers are one way to achieve this. Providing a service that responds quickly and professionally to maintenance issues gives tenants peace of mind.

Reducing the Property Management Workload

It is no secret that property management is a time-consuming job. Between juggling tenants, investors, and contractors, there always seems to be too much to do and not enough time to do it.  A property maintenance call center can help reduce this workload by acting as a go-between for tenants and maintenance staff. This can take a lot of the burden off of the property manager, who can then focus on more important tasks.

Streamlining Maintenance Operations

A well-run management maintenance call center can help to streamline your organization’s entire maintenance operation. By serving as a single point of contact for all maintenance requests, these call centers can help to eliminate communication issues and ensure that all policies and procedures are followed. This can lead to reduced costs and a more efficient maintenance operation.

For example, a good call center can help to prevent non-emergencies from being treated like emergencies. This can save your organization money by avoiding the excess costs that can be incurred when paying after-hours or emergency rates to your vendors.

Dispatching and Tracking Requests

A maintenance call center ensures properties are properly maintained by promptly dispatching the appropriate party, whether a vendor or maintenance staff. By efficiently categorizing requests, the center ensures timely and cost-effective maintenance.

For example, if a tenant reports a burst pipe, a plumbing contractor or maintenance on-call might be dispatched based on the severity. For HVAC issues, an HVAC specialist would be sent. Direct dispatch to specific vendors often speeds up response times, resulting in swift resolutions and satisfied tenants.

Infographic comparing some examples of emergency and non-emergency property maintenance calls. An example of an emergency is a major water leak or flooding, whereas a dripping faucet is an example of a non-emergency.

Distinguishing between emergency and non-emergency maintenance calls

One of the most vital roles of a property maintenance call center is discerning between emergency and non-emergency maintenance requests. It’s crucial for both property managers and tenants to understand these differences to set expectations and prioritize tasks appropriately.

Maintenance emergencies pose an immediate risk to health, safety, or the property itself. They require immediate attention to prevent further damage or danger. Examples include:

  • No heat during extreme cold
  • Major water leaks or flooding
  • No electricity
  • Sewage backups

On the other hand, Non-Emergencies are maintenance issues that, while inconvenient, don’t present immediate danger or risk. Addressing these can typically wait until regular business hours. Examples include:

  • HVAC not cooling in mild temperatures
  • A dripping faucet
  • Light switch not working
  • Minor leaks

The ability of a call center to correctly categorize these requests is essential in streamlining operations. Misclassification could lead to unnecessary costs, delays in addressing true emergencies, and tenant dissatisfaction. By providing clear definitions and examples, property managers can work with call centers to ensure a smooth process and timely response to all maintenance issues.

How does the property maintenance dispatching process work?

The process for processing and dispatching property maintenance calls varies by property. Everything is customizable and tailored to how you want your calls to be handled.

Below is a simplified breakdown of how the dispatching process typically works.

1. The call center receives a maintenance request from a tenant.

The first step is intake. These calls may come in 24 hours a day or only after hours when the regular office is closed.

2. The call center determines the nature of the request and the urgency level.

Each maintenance request isn’t the same. There will be various issues coming into the call center, and they’ll work to identify and classify them correctly based on the urgency and who is responsible.

Some calls will be the tenant’s responsibility or require a referral. Other issues may be non-emergencies that can wait for regular office hours.

3. The call center assigns the appropriate vendor and dispatches the request.

For calls that require dispatching, the call center will use software and detailed procedures to route the call to the appropriate maintenance technician. This could be an on-call maintenance person or a third-party vendor.

4. The call center provides the technician with all necessary information to address the request.

On-call maintenance technicians or vendors will communicate with the call center to clear the call. This includes retrieving the details of the call and informing the call center when they will be able to respond.

5. The call center monitors the progress of the request and follows up with the vendor and tenant as needed.

The call center keeps a complete record of each maintenance request, from the first phone call down to the final report from the maintenance technician. Often there is software that helps to facilitate this process.

Conclusion

Property managers can benefit significantly from using a maintenance call center. You can ensure that all of your policies and procedures are followed and that issues are captured, dispatched, and tracked by outsourcing these requests. This leads to a more efficient maintenance operation with reduced costs.

For more information on how a call center can help your organization, please contact Absent Answer. We would be happy to discuss our services with you and provide a proposal customized to your needs!

Ready to streamline your maintenance calls?

We handle property management calls for thousands of units nationwide, 24/7/365.

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