We hear it over and over again: Communication is the key to a good relationship. This holds true for all relationships, even the one you have with your condominium management company. But just as individuals differ in their ability to communicate effectively, management companies can differ significantly, too.
To stay connected with your community, your condominium management company should use a variety of communication approaches and be forthcoming with a range of information. Residents in your community should also find it easy to reach someone at the company when needed. You can determine if you are in a relationship with a communicative management company or with the silent type by considering how you’d answer the following five questions.
      1. Can you reach someone whenever an issue arises?
It’s inevitable that some problems will come up at inopportune times. Perhaps a bad storm will reveal a leak in your roof in the middle of the night, or a malfunction will prevent your front gate from opening on a weekend. Your condo management company should provide you with a number you can call around the clock for problems that just can’t wait for normal business hours.
       2. Does the company provide 21st-century communication tools?

Sure, there are times when you may want to use postal mail, keep hand-written notes, or talk to someone face to face. But electronic tools often simplify basic tasks. Your condominium management company should enable you to use your laptop or mobile device to obtain community-specific information, access condominium documents (such as newsletters, calendars, or planned events) and request repairs at any time.
One such tool, FSRConnect, is uniquely offered by FirstService Residential. It provides condo board members with the ability to communicate easily with residents, convey important information via their community website, maintain a calendar to let residents know about upcoming maintenance and scheduled events, and other important information. Residents can use it for an assortment of applications, such as communicating with the manager or the board, access the InfoCenter and the community website to obtain information at any time, and book activities.
  1. Will you be alerted in the event of an emergency?
If an emergency situation occurs, such as a wildfire or flood, you’ll want to get real-time information about what’s happening and what you should do. Your condo management company should offer a way to receive these critical alerts.
The ResidentAlert feature in FSRConnect provides up-to-the-minute information during emergencies. These updates can be sent as an email or an automated phone message. In fact, during the 2016 wildfire that forced the entire city of Fort McMurray to evacuate, FirstService Residential used the mass email feature to send property-specific updates to the owners, no matter where they were. In this way we were able to maintain continuous communication and quickly provide new information as we received it.
  1. Does the company help you understand vendor contracts?
It’s important for condo board members to understand your vendor contracts. A good management company knows this and will provide an easy-to-read summary containing costs, service frequency, and critical dates (expiration, renewal, etc.). 
  1. Do you have an opportunity to provide feedback? 
Your condo management company should want to know if you are happy with its service. Encouraging feedback with surveys or some other structured approach lets you know that it is open to hearing what you have to say. FirstService Residential implements one such system to obtain annual feedback from condo boards. It is also the first condo management company to create a scorecard system so it can make ongoing improvements to its customer service. 
A company that prioritizes communication demonstrates its commitment to providing you with great service. Contact FirstService Residential, Alberta’s leading condominium management company, to find out how we stay in touch with our clients.
Thursday March 19, 2020