From the Winter 2022 Issue
What Does Effective Condo Communication Look Like For 2023?
Effective Communication for Managers
It probably goes without saying, but this topic is so important for condominium managers that we will say it anyway. Effective communication is a critical component of every condominium’s success. It is essential to keep the community informed and engaged. It helps managers and boards make more impactful decisions, making the community run more efficiently. And it can keep residents happy!
It is Easier and Harder to Reach Residents
The paradox of communication is that it has gotten simpler and more complex, and property managers should consider this as we approach 2023. Residents have multiple communication streams to check each day. They are often overwhelmed by the amount of email they receive, so even if you send out emails in addition to stuffing mailboxes with memos and letters, they aren’t necessarily getting or retaining the information.
Communication preferences also vary, so communities must consider using multiple methods to maximize their reach. Email, text, voice memos and other forms of electronic communication should all be utilized to ensure community members stay informed. This may sound like time-consuming work, but automation tools and software can streamline these processes. It’s Essential to Prioritize
Better communication leads to better condo operations, but there’s more to it than that. There’s money at stake. Effective communication will reduce costly errors and save the management staff’s time, ultimately reducing labour costs. And good communication will help with owner engagement leading to stronger turnouts at meetings. By reaching a quorum right away, boards can move ahead with the condo business instead of investing more resources trying to get owners to show up. In short, most corporations can’t afford to endure the impacts of poor communication.
Communication Strategies for 2023
- Use multiple communication channels: Email is inexpensive, targeted, immediate and familiar. Even if some of your residents don’t have a computer, they almost certainly have a phone and email account. Email is still one of the best ways to reach condo residents and board members, but these emails need to be short, concise, and have a specific call to action if someone’s response is required. It’s even better if that email is sent through a resident portal or condominium management platform. That’s because recipients will recognize the sender (it usually appears as the name of the building) and will be less likely to overlook or delete the message. They also provide an ability to see what messages have been sent over time through easy reporting. Furthermore, these online platforms serve professionals like you very well. They allow busy condominium managers to draft and schedule messages, attach documents, and send information to the entire community without manually adding email addresses. Better yet, some systems let managers use those same email messages and will also deliver the messages as phone alerts, texts and automated voice messages. You cover all of your bases with these three communication methods, but you can always print and mail letters to anyone who requests to receive physical copies of notices. Sometimes, you may not even use email at all but send community updates via the resident portal instead, freeing up resident inboxes while still delivering key messages.
- Segment recipients to avoid information overload: There is such a thing as information overload. If too much irrelevant information comes in, members will become less attentive and more apathetic. That’s why segmenting recipients into groups is so invaluable. Again, many condo management platforms will allow managers to sort staff, board members and residents into different groups. This way, sensitive messages can be sent to board members, concierge, and security staff. You could even organize recipients by towers or floors so that only those who a water shutoff or elevator repair will impact will be alerted.
- People will pay more attention to photos and videos: Video-based content is more attractive than any other type. People would almost always rather watch something than read something. We realize you may not have the time or desire to start a TikTok channel for your buildings. Still, you may consider incorporating small videos or photos when sharing information about important events or updates. You can easily attach multimedia files to the emails you send out. Your residents will pay more attention to what you’re saying, and you might even find it fun to do something creative.
Don’t Forget; Communication is a Two-way Street
We’ve highlighted a few solid communication strategies, but all facilitate one-way communication from condo managers to boards, staff, or residents. To keep clients and residents happy, you will need to allow them to share their concerns and ideas.
Providing residents and board members with a tool that allows them to submit requests electronically, not through email, ensures that requests stay visible, can be
tracked, and are promptly resolved. Creating discussion forums for the community can be an optimal solution to get the honest feedback managers require without having to devote too much time collecting it. Some members who don’t usually attend meetings may be more inclined to participate in forums since they can think about what they want to say and contribute from the comfort of their homes. You can use a condo management platform that offers this functionality or try out a free and familiar platform like Facebook. Both allow you to keep forums free of harmful posts since you can moderate each post before it goes public.
When you think about your 2023 goals, keep communication as one of your main priorities. It is not just a matter of happiness for residents. Think of the cost-saving benefits to property managers, front desk and security staff, and board members. While people like being happy, saving money makes them even happier.
Consider using a variety of one- and two-way communication methods to maximize your reach and inspire engagement in the community. Ideally, you’ll want to utilize software that can streamline your communication efforts and save you valuable time.
Mark Charlinski is the new Chief Revenue Officer of Condo Control, joining earlier this year. He brings a wealth of knowledge from hospitality, an industry with similar challenges to condo management. Mark’s goal is to maximize clients’ return on investment in Condo Control by helping solve the problems condo communities face today and in the future.