Communication is one of the greatest challenges a block manager faces. In addition to dealing with landlord and leaseholder matters, and a constant stream of contractors, they’re also tasked with communicating with all the buildings’ residents and keeping them in the loop. After all, the occupants are the ones who will be affected by routine maintenance and repairs to the building and, more often than not, they’re the ones who will notice the issues. Keeping them informed and engaged is good practice.
From our extensive interactions with block managers across the world, we’ve sourced the best ways to stay in touch:
Staying in touch with residents is vitally important in today’s block management. In addition to improving residents' day-to-day lives in the buildings they live in, keeping them informed is important because it shows them that the building’s management structure is transparent. When it comes to stakeholder interactions, it’s also important to protect yourself, so be sure to leave a paper trail of every encounter.
Find out who you’re dealing with
It’s far easier to tailor your communications if you know who you’re dealing with. Building a resident profile allows you to work out who you need to contact and how best to do so. The catch is that most people are wary of giving out personal information, so when trying to build profiles, it’s best to be upfront and open. Explain that you’re trying ensure block communication is more effective, and to sweeten the deal, offer a random raffle prize for those who complete questionnaires and provide feedback. Incentive is everything.
Know what you’re trying to communicate
Now that you’ve worked out who you’re trying to communicate with and why it’s important, you need to define what you’re trying to get across. Effective block managers don’t just communicate with their residents in a crisis, they also provide regular building updates, advance warning of works in progress and feedback opportunities.
Remember the communication you receive in return is just as important as the original message you’re trying to get across. Once you’ve worked out what message you want to put out there, we suggest responsibility should be assigned to a single team member. Tasking one person with communications ensures your tone stays consistent, regardless of the information you’re providing.
Strike the right note
When it comes to tone, try to keep your messages as engaging as possible. Some of the topics may be considered dry by some, so if you want to get your message across, you need to keep it concise. Always reference where more detail can be found for those residents with a longer attention span and more interest. And don’t underestimate the importance of pictorial content – some may not speak English.
There’s something for everyone
When it comes to contact, there’s a whole range of mediums to suit:
It’s hard to ignore the impact that social media has had on communications in the business world, and block management communication is no exception.
While Facebook is the obvious communication channel, giving managers the opportunity to create groups, post bulletins and send out mass messages, other social media outlets also have role to play. Instagram is an effective way of engaging residents, while Twitter is a useful way of providing information but also receiving information. Its back-and-forth nature lends itself to speedy dialogue and can be good for trouble-shooting.
Even in the age of the internet, you can’t overlook the importance of face-to-face contact, especially among the older demographic. In addition to enabling an information exchange, timetabling regular meetings will build a sense of community within the block and make residents feel invested in the building.
Your block management software
Finally, perhaps the best method of contacting residents is through your block management system. Technology not only provides ease of communication, but also the benefit of a secure audit trail to ensure you have all on record. Using the Fixflo BlockPlus system, it is easy to ensure relevant messages can be broadcast to right audiences, whether residents, leaseholders, landlords, or other relevant stakeholders.
It's not all talk
It's great to have everyone on the same page, but effective communication has an added bonus! Clear lines of communication can also be an investment in the building itself. Updated and invested residents feel engaged and tend to treat the block better. Meaning less time spent dealing with complaints and organising contractors!