By Linda Day Harrison, theBrokerList, Chicago, IL
Ever call or visit a business, ask a basic question, and receive an answer of “I do not know?” To make matters worse, there is not even an offer of “I will find out”, or “Let me ask a supervisor.” It is rather scary and it is also profound. In business we work so hard to build our companies, market our properties, or create features and services, all to find out nobody in our own company has a clue!
While visiting a business recently, I asked a simple question pertaining to a geographic location. Of course, the woman on duty had no clue. She did not know what highway exit she was located at, nor could she tell me east, west, north, or south! That is a huge pet peeve to me. How can you permit your employees to be that completely oblivious of their surroundings? It is unconscionable, but so very common.
Well there is a solution! The solution is so basic that it is hard to believe it is not done more often. Create an on-going FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) for your team. Every single company, and property you manage, should have a FAQ. Employees should have this at their desk or on their desktop. Digital or paper, laminated or in a plastic sleeve, does not matter! No matter what, there needs to be an at-a-glance tool so the most basic of customer questions can be answered. Let me be perfectly clear here, it is not the employee’s job to know this! It is your job as the property manager, leasing director, management company owner, or brokerage company owner to make sure they know!
For instance, if the FAQ is for a building, the top question should be directions (from the north, south, east, and west). The directions should include the address of the property, an easy to explain set of instructions on how to enter your property, and where to park! And for goodness sake, do not ignore public transportation. If someone calls your property and asks what bus to take, you had better know. Think about how insane it would be for someone to call your company, to ask about renting your property, but then not be able to tell them how to get there! Believe me it happens to the best of us, but with an FAQ as a standard across all desks and desktops it does not matter because everyone will be equipped with the knowledge and power to assist a customer!
Consider the most basic questions like:
- How do I get to the property?
- How long have you been in business?
- When was this building built?
- How tall is the building? (feet and stories)
- How big is the property? (acres and square feet)
- Is there a post office nearby?
- Where is the nearest hospital?
If your staff does not have this information at the ready, at the worst it could be the difference between a life or death situation! Everyone should know how to get to the nearest hospital or storm shelter, etc. Sometimes we are so busy with the stuff that comes up day after day and is asked over and over that we forget to learn other important information about our company and properties.
Capturing this knowledge and turning it into an FAQ can make a tremendous tool for marketing as well as day to day assistance when your customers or clients call!