The Tenant Experience Guide

Page 6

Tenant Communication, Workforce Development

The Evolving Community Manager Role

and How They are Welcoming Tenants Back to the Office

By: Jennifer (Ortiz) Fierro, Zeller

In property management, there are specific scenarios one can prepare for. Yearly fire drills are performed, preventative maintenance for the building is completed, and quarterly life safety meetings are held. In addition, standard operating procedures are in place with action to take in case of an emergency. However, a worldwide pandemic is something no one anticipates. While the world was focused on direction from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tenants quickly lean to property management teams for support in navigating this “new normal”.

Unexpected Challenges When shelter in place orders were issued, many questioned what effect this would have on the commercial real estate industry. With employees not coming into the office, what would this mean for the property management team, especially those whose roles focus on tenant services and engagement. How could we continue to provide the same level of service to tenants from a distance? Community Engagement Manager with Zeller Adriana Bibbs said, “Learning methods to keep social connections ‘alive’ while distancing has been the most challenging task, and re-engaging tenants who have not been in an office setting for a year, has proven to be just as challenging as tenants attempt to reacclimate themselves into their new day-to-day.” With all the challenges presented, we took this as an opportunity to provide exceptional service to tenants from a distance. Lack of supplies was an unexpected challenge for many tenants. Stepping up to assist tenants in finding personal protective equipment such as face masks, hand sanitizers, and office desk barriers was one of our top priorities. The best kind of service one can provide to tenants is the type that can be adjusted based on the current challenges. The best solutions to these challenges required the willingness to step outside our comfort zones and find new solutions.


Tenant Experience Guide | October 2021

COMMUNICATION IS KEY We hear that ‘Communication is key in all relationships.’ In the landlord and tenant relationship, that also applies. As information from WHO and the CDC was continuously changing, property teams would have to quickly adjust cleaning protocol and building policies. Informing tenants as soon as possible about any building-related information updates was essential to stay ahead of all potential concern’s tenants may have. With everyone working from home, constant communication became necessary. Most tenants were coming into the office on a rotating schedule. Discovering an efficient process to communicate information with more than just the primary office contacts became a new assignment for on-site teams. Tashe Woods, Community Engagement Manager with Cousins Properties, said “Tenant communication plays the largest role in my daily responsibilities. -- We believe that consistent and clear communication is the key to building relationships at our properties. We use our customer app to communicate construction updates, building events, neighborhood news, property announcements, restaurant & retail advertisements, COVID-19 changes, amenities updates, and more.” The frequency and method by which the information was distributed changed dependent on the information shared. We always wanted to make sure tenants were comfortable and aware of what was happening at the office building, even if they were not physically present. Surveys were an essential tool when addressing tenant concerns. This involved taking a list of possible most common questions or concerns and outlining them in a survey to better understand a tenant’s level of comfort, needs, and intentions to return to the office. Surveys allowed the property management team to prepare well ahead for tenants’ return. Surveys also gave tenants the opportunity to share their input on the satisfaction of services.

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