Learning from an established operation in the US, where customer service is king, significant emphasis at Atlas Residential is placed on ensuring that the right people are in the best position for their skillset, leading to job satisfaction and empowerment – something that historically has been a gap in corporate thinking as the UK PRS sector has grown.
Thinking about and seeking out candidates personality and ambition, and where they have sought accountability and ‘ownership’ in their careers is key. It’s the epitome of a self-motivating, can-do attitude to look to discover and be responsible, which in fact, echoes throughout a business.
Great customer service starts with a smile, both face to face with our customers but also when taking enquiries over the phone – the smile will resonate in that call. Businesses shouldn’t see this industry through the lens of block management vs property management vs leasing. For instance, at Atlas our front of house staff undertake both leasing & concierge and property management activities, but also assist with many other day-to-day responsibilities.
Investment in training is essential and should be a priority. As an example, we recently arranged a visit for our UK team to our multi-family housing sites in the US. Our Bow Square team from our Southampton site immersed themselves in the daily life of those properties, where they were able to cross train with their respective US counterparts.
These skills will be further enhanced with sector specialist qualifications such as the new two-year management of BTR course offered by the Institute of Residential Property Management (IRPM).
Tracey Hartley, principal of Foundation Real Estate, who contributed to the creation of the new IRPM course, said: “In build-to-rent the customer is centre stage and the industry needs to equip a new breed of customer centric property managers equally as adept in managing the interior of an apartment as understanding the centric property managers equally as adept in managing the interior of an apartment as understanding the Share whole building’s P&L.”
The introduction of such an IRPM course and indeed the creation of the dedicated education & training committee within the UKAA, signifies a long overdue shift in attitude towards the importance and value of those working within BTR.