You have heard it said a million times: Communication is the key to a great relationship. In reality, however, the relationship between Homeowners Association Boards, Property Managers and Contractors can be contentious. How often do you hear that a contractor didn’t meet a Board’s expectations or a property manager’s timeframe? Or worse yet, consider the contractor who does an excellent job but fails to properly communicate it to the property manager, leaving the property manager exposed to the board without a complete set of answers? I have encountered all of these scenarios because I’ve sat in all three seats. In almost every instance, the solution to any underlying frustration is simply a matter of better communication between all parties and a commitment to this communication.
Boards are comprised of dedicated volunteers with a variety of backgrounds. Therefore they need to rely on the expertise of professional property managers to care for the affairs of the association. Property managers, in turn, need the support of contractors who will deliver the highest quality service and provide a communication mechanism to ensure that the property manager is equipped to communicate with the Board of Directors. This fluid approach creates a communication trifecta in which the homeowners association, the property manager and the contractor are all winners.
A difference between sourcing governance and contractor teaming
Let’s face it; contractors need a great relationship with the property manager. This relationship begins with the sourcing process and continues through contract delivery.
The sourcing process
The sourcing process is the period in which the contractor and the property manager clearly align expectations. If these expectations are not aligned, the delivery process is destined to fail. This sourcing governance can take many different approaches, however in the end it is most important that all party exceptions are clearly stated and agreed upon. In addition to traditional focus areas of cost, quality and delivery, expectations regarding communications must be clearly defined.
How can small contractors communicate with property managers?
Today, technology simplifies communication. Just look how easy it is for us to share pictures, tweets, and blogs. So why don’t more service contractors open up technology to their customers for greater visibility and answers? Is it that they don’t know how to use the available technology, or is it that they believe that visibility might lead to questions or problems? Whatever the reason, contractors need to deliver what they say they will and be able to show it to the customer. This communication will only help to solidify a contractor’s relationship with a property manager and help to equip the manager when communicating with an HOA Board of Directors.
How did Charter Elevator address this communication challenge?
At Charter Elevator, we recognized the need to help property managers see and understand the work that we were producing while contracted on their properties. As a result, we developed CharterView, a visually-based web communication tool that maintains an historical record of the maintenance, repair and modernization activities. Our field technicians log into the unique CharterView system every time they enter a building, and they record the activities in both a pictorial and descriptive text format. These historical records are then available for the property managers and HOA boards to see and review.
Unforeseen benefits of the communication system
Although the CharterView system was developed to ensure customer satisfaction, we discovered a secondary benefit – that of pride for the technicians. As in any service business, the technician’s work may never been seen by the customer. How often will a customer look in a hoistway, pit or elevator machine room? Now a customer anywhere can see the hard work of the technician, and the technician has pride in his/her work product.
A winning trifecta for Property Managers, Boards and Contractors
Pride and communication are key to building a complete relationship between the three key support members of a homeowners association. Adding timely, clear communication to the sourcing process will help to build pride and success for any organization. With CharterView by Charter Elevator, you have a winning trifecta.
Visit charterelevator.com today to learn more about the CharterView customer communication system.