Talking the Talk: Communication Between Strata Corporations and Property Management Companies
Like those other relationships, communication can sometimes be a challenge. Communication within your strata needs to be effective, whether that’s among council members, from the council to the residents, between the management and the council or the management and residents. A professional strata management company will work with you using a variety of tools and communication channels to ensure that communication flows smoothly in all of those dynamics. Clear communication in every interaction makes for better and more productive relationships at every level.
What happens if you’re not communicating effectively? Chaos. Confusion. Imagine a strata run by a manager who doesn’t understand the council’s vision because it was never communicated to her. She in turn cannot communicate effectively with the residents. If the manager isn’t communicating correctly with the council, they may not get all the financial information they need. Good communication is critical to the smooth management of your strata, and a lack of it can impact you at every level.
What’s the answer? A good strata management company will be able to assist your board with communication in the following ways:
1. Availability - Ever notice how a boiler always seems to burst outside of business hours? Or how a pipe leak always seems to occur at 3 a.m. on a Saturday? Challenges and maintenance issues never take a holiday, and that means your property management company always needs to be on call, too. Your company should provide you with a 24/7 hotline that you can call to reach a live customer service associate in case of emergencies.
2. Mass Communication to Residents - When emergencies like power outages or weather events arise, it’s smart to have a tool that enables your property management team to communicate with your strata’s residents. A good strata management company will have technology that allows you to communicate quickly and easily with all of your residents at once. For example, FirstService Residential Connect has a built-in mass communication tool that allows communication to all residents via email or text (if they opt in) or by robocall.
3. Customer Satisfaction Surveys. Effective communication is a two-way street, right? Beyond providing your strata corporation with documents and reports, a great property management company will ask you for your feedback on a regular basis and respond to that feedback as well. This will help the company align their processes and practices with your expectations.
4. Technology – A quality strata management company will have proprietary software that will help you create an information hub for strata council members, homeowners and your management team. That system should allow your residents to access everything from strata council meeting minutes to maintenance work orders and should be mobile responsive so that members can log in on their smart phones or tablets.
5. Contract Summaries - Reading a contract is no council member’s idea of a good time. Yet understanding them is essential to a healthy relationship with your property management company and the vendors that serve your community. That’s why the best property management companies will provide you with a contract summary sheet – a condensed version of your vendor contracts that breaks down all of the essential contract information. This can take shape as an easy-to-read table, complete with costs, frequencies of services and dates for expirations and renewals.
Clear, effective communication is critical to receiving the best possible service from your strata management company, enhancing your property values and improve the lifestyles of your residents. That’s why it’s important to seek out a company that offers you multiple ways to stay in touch, at all times.