Does your professional answering service know all about the birds and the bees?
Better find out.
Summertime is birds and bees time, in a big way. It’s also ant time, mosquito time, and housefly time. And the time when your residents are hitting speed dial to ask you to phone an exterminator or pest control when something is flapping its wings nearby.
The question, for answering services like ourselves, and for property managers like you, is: Are such calls warranted?
The best answering services understand completely that when they send a message to your on-call personnel, they are interrupting their lives. And assumptions and presumptions can lead to burnt bridges, and worse – overtime pay – which is something none of us want.
It’s all a matter of trust: If you cannot trust your answering service to understand the difference between an office call and a crisis that is worth paying overtime for – well, that partnership is on shaky ground.
You want and deserve a collaborator that will look out for your budget by not bothering you with inconveniences that are truly “hold for office” requests. Anything else is – well, a pest.
That being said, your callers may think differently. They may want to put you on red alert for a few ants they’ve seen on their kitchen cabinet, and demand that someone be out within 15 minutes with a can of Raid and an itchy trigger finger.
The important thing to remember – and the sigh of relief when partnering with the best answering services – is that the caller is not always right. The customer is always right. (And that’s you.)
Imagine you receive a frantic call from a resident: “I have a bird stuck in my stove vent and it’s flapping and making a lot of noise.”
In the past, our clients have considered similar incidents to be emergencies, of sorts, and requested we contact them swiftly to intervene.
But how about a resident that spots a bee or two buzzing behind the drapes? Clearly, this is not an emergency – but a job for a fast hand and the nearest fly swatter.
However, if it’s the weekend, and bees are funneling one after another through a hole in the wall – you’d better believe your answering service will be reaching out. All signs point to a hive being built behind the drywall, and that can be dangerous. Bee stings can kill, after all.
The bottom line? A bird is a bird, and a bee is a bee, and an emergency is an emergency – assuming YOU say it is.
The best answering services know that each community gets to choose its own protocols surrounding emergencies and non-emergencies. What warrants a call in the middle of the night (or any time of day) and what should wait until the office reopens?
At Focus, if an occasional call seems unusual in scope, our agents are trained to report directly to their team leaders. Together, they can make a shared decision about whether normal protocols and practices should be circumvented in the interest of safety and/or liability.
Our track record for choosing correctly is impeccable.
After all, we understand the birds and the bees, and how important it is to listen to the buzz around the apartment complex without flying off the handle.