Is your HMO customer experience up to scratch?

Customer Experience has become a major factor in our everyday lives and the subtle changes our favorite brands make every now and then are the result of a lot of time and money being put into hearing the voice of the customer, so what can you do to ensure your customer experience is up to scratch.

In a competitive industry such as HMOs, the quality and standard of rooms are increasing and so are the little extras such as flat-screen TVs with Netflix and highly specced ensuite bathrooms in each room. Sooner or later they'll all start to look more or less the same, so what can you do to ensure you continue to stand out from the crowd? One simple and effective thing you can do that costs relatively little to set up is to improve your customer experience, here are a few little pointers to help get you on your way.

Let's start with viewings and what you can do to ensure your viewings go smoothly and are memorable for the right reasons.

Whenever you receive a request to view your property, you should always follow up with an email or text message to confirm the date, time, address and the name of the person who will be conducting the viewing. Other information such as parking facilities or nearest train/bus stops are all really helpful and your potential new tenant will be very pleased that you've gone to such extra effort. If you can, add a link to the property from Google Maps then you can copy and paste the URL into a text or email then rinse and repeat for all future viewing requests. A phone call earlier in the day to confirm the viewing is also a good idea as it will avoid you turning up to a potential no show.

Wherever possible, aim to have the property cleaned on the day of the viewing to ensure your property looks its best for when your potential new tenant arrives.

When you conduct your viewings, try to get to know the person and understand what their needs are, so you can help to make sure their needs are met. You can do this by asking where they work, do they drive, what do hobbies and interests do they have, all this information will help you put together a profile of the person. If they like eating out at nice restaurants, you could recommend a couple of your favorites. Explain all the amenities in the property and ask if there is anything else they might need if they were to move in. This is all building towards your customer's experience and if you follow these steps, you'll have shown that you are helpful and knowledgeable and not just a greedy money-grabbing landlord. This will all filter through and help to build your relationships and make them stronger not to mention the increased likelihood of them renting a room from you.

That next moment now, the viewing has come to an end and you pop the question "do you want the room?" I would hope that after your excellent customer service skills and going above and beyond what would be expected, the answer would be yes, if so, well done you! If the answer is no, don't beat yourself up over it, I would always ask why and to see if there is anything you can do to turn their no into a yes.

The next steps are crucial and they start with giving a clear timeline and actions required from both parties. You will need the moving in date, references, ID, deposits, and an initial upfront rent. It's a lot to remember, so just tell your new tenant that you will send an email with the instructions and give them a realistic timeline, aim work towards their preferred moving in date and get your bits done asap. If you take rent upfront or a holding deposit then make sure a receipt is issued and this is also written into the agreement that you have taken this money and write down what it will be used for i.e. holding deposit or initial rent etc.

Good communication is essential from here on. If you encounter any issues with the referencing, try to come up with at least two solutions then contact your potential new tenant to discuss the problem and your solutions. Once all your referencing is complete, it's time to move to the next stage, Check-in.

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