Long before email, the smartphone and other modern collaborative technologies hit the market, one could potentially have a good excuse for a lack of strong communications in their business. Long distance fees on landlines were too expensive to allow employees to freely leverage what was the most common form of interaction other than face-to-face meetings.
Wires could get crossed, manual patching of one line to the other could be faulty, and other technical issues could arise, leading to inherent and somewhat predictable challenges when trying to maximize the efficiency and user experiences of communications.
No one should ever hate on a caveman for not being easy to reach, as this was simply a way of the wild - if you wanted to talk to someone, you had to find that person to do so.
Today, businesses have a proverbial universe of communication technologies at their fingertips to improve collaboration and ensure that everyone is on the same page and in touch at all times. This means that there is no excuse for poor communication in your community association management business, both internally among coworkers and externally with the homeowners you serve.
Even so, many community association managers are struggling to optimize communication in their businesses, leading to inefficient collaboration and sometimes poor engagement with clients. If poor communication is an issue in your organization, don't get too down on yourself. Instead, let's take a problem-solving approach and look at how you can improve your communications and become more collaborative:
Better Communication through Technology
As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and all of those problems with reliability and affordability of communications technology from the past likely drove the progressive innovations that we have available today.
While the personal touch is still king, if your management company isn't leveraging modern communications technology for your core collaboration needs, chances are other areas of your business are suffering too. Here are some of the available communications technologies that can help you boost your collaborative power:
- VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol phone systems tend to be more functional, affordable and reliable than traditional landlines, and are already present in a majority of American businesses. These solutions can go a long way toward controlling costs and keeping better communications with such services as voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding, and remote access.
- Email: It may seem that email is not worth mentioning since it is so ubiquitous these days, but a solid email communications strategy is still an important part of doing business. One thing we see all the time is businesses who use a free email address as their main communication tool. Think about the message that conveys to the communities you manage. ABCmanager1601@aol.com doesn't exactly inspire confidence in your technical prowess. Invest in your own domain name, and get an email server set up on it (and a website while you're at it!). You can easily do this on godaddy.com.
- Broadcast Messaging: When you've got an important message that needs to get out to all of your homeowners, there is no faster and easier communication method than broadcast messaging. Broadcasts can take the form of an email blast, SMS messaging, or even mass voice mails. If you're a TOPS user, you can take advantage of iMail, a mass email broadcasting system. Or you can look into various industry portal services for advanced broadcasting options.
- Automated Notifications: Many newer software apps are building communications right into the system itself. For example, when a work order is assigned to a vendor to be done, the app can send an instant notification to the vendor, as well as a courtesy notice to the homeowner will save you time and effort while keeping the lines of communication open.
- Unified messaging: Unified messaging is a relatively new technology that combines instant messaging, texting and even email technologies into a single system which retains a searchable history of communications. A business-class service can boost your collaborative performances relatively quickly. A good tool to try UM in your organization is Slack.
- Cloud sharing: The modern management company is distributed. Managers stay on site at their communities, offices span multiple counties, even states. Maintaining a single server in the office to store shared software applications is no longer feasible. Enter the cloud, where an entire server worth of applications and data can be stored on a virtual server that can be accessed online by everyone on your team.
- Mobility: The modern workplace is fueled by smartphones, tablets, portable computers and myriad alternative gadgets. Incorporating mobile devices into your business processes can save time and ease communications with your homeowners.
- CAM software: Leveraging software that was specifically developed for community association management can be an important step in tightening up operations and providing a vehicle for employees to collaborate. This can have a positive impact on not only the internal communications that take place every day, but also those that are targeted at owners and other clientele over the course of longer periods of time.
CAM businesses that adopt these types of tools will be inherently less likely to suffer from communication issues - as well as others - given the more preferable user experiences yielded.