Last modified on August 17th, 2020
By Elizabeth Millar
When it comes to community association management, you’ve got a lot of personalities and opinions to contend with. This type of job takes a special kind of person who can juggle a thousand different demands, while simultaneously adhering to the rules and listening to the community at large. Here are a few resounding expectations you’ll hear from most homeowners and board members that will help you retain your associations’ business for the long haul.
1. Nurture Board & Homeowner Relations
As the liaison between the board and homeowners, you are on the front line of knowledge. You see and hear things members of the board might never know about otherwise. Similarly, you’re on the insider track with decisions and upcoming changes that could affect homeowners.
As someone who sees and hears everything, it’s your job to service the relationship between all parties involved. This will enable both the community and the board to realize optimal possibilities when changes are coming down the pipeline (or need to be considered for future evaluations). It’s also your responsibility to partner with the board and advocate on behalf of the homeowners you represent.
Many homeowners may not understand your role and what you bring to their association. Ensure they know who you are and the value you bring. Some ways to do this are:
- Call and check in with new homeowners who have recently bought into the association, so you can let them know who you are.
- Make a point of introducing yourself at board meetings so everyone there knows your role vs. that of the board.
2. Share Your Experiences & Knowledge
You bring experience and expertise to your role with each new association you serve. As someone who’s seen things happen—both good and bad — residents expect their community managers to bring this knowledge to the table, and communicate and act on it. It’s not only okay to bring up suggestions, ideas for best practices, and potential changes; it’s presumed that this is one of the key attributes you’ll bring to your community. As an agent of the board of a community association, it’s your top priority to best serve the community with your skills, education, and experience.
This matters because people who have not had to manage conflict might not be able to navigate difficult conversations. However, when a community manager can say, “This is what worked before, and this is why it worked,” people (both the board and homeowners) will be more likely to pay attention to the suggestions at hand.
Remember, you are in a partnership with your associations, and they will benefit from your experience and knowledge. Sharing and providing guidance will be key as they navigate through issues and projects.
3. Be Available
You and your company should be easy to contact. When someone has an issue or question, they should be able to get in touch with their community manager during regular business hours.
If you don’t respond to emails or keep your office door closed, you’re putting a wall up between yourself and the residents you serve. It’s essential to remove those barriers and be as accessible as possible, so people feel as though you’re truly representing them. If you don’t have an answer immediately, it’s okay to say you’ll get back to them. If you’re too busy to answer the phone, just call them back.
Not only are you representing the community, but you’re also representing the company you work for. Being unavailable can tarnish your employer’s entire brand.
But let’s be honest, being available at all times while also doing site walk-throughs, logging and recording violations, running board meetings, and everything else on your plate is unrealistic. That’s why you should be leaning on tech to lend a hand in this area to make it possible.
The Tech Advantage
With the right community association management software at your side, you can reduce the number of phone calls and emails you receive by providing your homeowners and board members with self-service portals. Online portals enable your residents to get their community information at all times. Hot topics like dues balances, architectural review statuses, and violation statuses can be accessed by your residents in just a few clicks. Better yet, with mobile tools, your board and homeowners can have 24/7 access to their portal through an app on their phone.
Modern software also enables you as a manager to both 2-way and bulk text and email your residents or communities all at once, while keeping the conversations in the database for anyone on your team to access. This ensures that your team has visibility into what’s happening with all associations and residents, so anyone can answer questions when you get phone calls or emails.
Increased transparency among your residents, as well as your team, will help reduce the calls and emails so you can be rest assured that your communities are receiving excellent service while you’re in the field, in the office, or working from home.