Before You Hit ‘Send’-Three Reasons to Call Instead!

Written by Apartment Management Magazine on . Posted in Blog

By: Rommel Anacan | www.RelationshipDifference.com

E-mail imageSome of my favorite things to read online are the things people say when they’re commenting on stories! I am always amazed at how ugly, mean-spirited and downright awful some people can be when they communicate behind a wall of anonymity provided by the computer.

Here are some comments I found on a few sites:

You are a FOOL–with a LOT of company.

3 crap articles in a row.  You’re on a roll Doyel.

Obviously Ravens fans can’t speel, no surprise.

Do you think any of these people would actually make those comments if they were standing in front of the people they directed them to? I don’t. (And BTW-I love that the comment about someone not being able to spell has the word “spell” spelled wrong.)

When I was the customer care manager of a property management company in Southern California, I discovered very quickly how making a phone call could be the best thing you do in resolving a complaint! I usually had a practice of communicating with people in the same way they first contacted me, unless they told me otherwise. So of course I loved it when people emailed me or wrote me a letter because I could respond back without having to actually talk to them! (Admit it, you feel the same way!)

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But sometimes I’d notice that an issue that should have been resolved would keep going; or sometimes I’d see that my email back would trigger another email that seemed more angry and frustrated and the first, which of course, was not my goal!

Here is the funny thing…when I’d see these escalated emails or letters, I would then pick up the phone and reach out to the customer personally. In a majority of the cases the residents would typically be very nice and sometimes apologize for how they communicated to me in their writings.

It seems that the one-on-one connection was often enough to defuse a customer’s anger. Sure, I often had challenges that still needed to be resolved, but I found that residents were often more willing to work with me and see my point of view when I spoke with them personally, instead of relying on email or letters. I can’t count how many I’ve spoken with who thanked me for calling them and working with them, even when I wasn’t able to give them what they wanted!

Why You Should Consider Calling Instead of Writing

It’s Easier to Sound Like a Jerk Over Email

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This one works both ways. I’ve seen many emails from associates to residents that made me cringe and fear for the job security of the associate who wrote them! As I talked about earlier, when you are safe and secure behind your desk, it’s easier for you to say something you shouldn’t say, or to say it in a way that you shouldn’t. It’s also easier for your upset resident to do the same thing.

When you are talking in person (or on the phone) there is a tendency for people to want to find some type of common ground, because not everyone is comfortable being combative or aggressive in person.

It’s Easier to be Misunderstood Over Email

There is no way around this one, letters and emails often read harsher than they are intended. This is why you’ve probably heard that you should never use email to correct or discipline or chasten someone. The other issue with written communication is that it can be looked at and stewed over again and again, further inflaming an already upset resident. If you must send an email read and re-read it from the customer’s point of view~and have someone else (who is generally level headed) to read it for you if you have any doubts!

Personally Connecting is Powerful

Personal ConnectionWhile technology allows us to communicate in every way possible, it also seems to isolate us from people as well. In today’s world where we text more than we call, where we Facebook more than we meet for coffee, there is something emotionally powerful when you pick up the phone and say,

“Hi Roger. This is Kimberly from the Quail Run office. I just got your email and I am so sorry about your experience and wanted to talk to you right away about it…”

Before you click on the “send” button, would you be better off picking up the phone instead?


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Rommel Anacan is the president of The Relationship Difference; a corporate training, motivational speaking and consulting firm in Orange County, California. He is a multifamily industry veteran, having worked at all levels of the industry from onsite to corporate, where he developed a reputation for tackling common challenges in an uncommon way. For more information visit his website at www.RelationshipDifference.com

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