So you might be thing.. “What does maintenance have to do with my security service?” The key is, as we’ve discussed many times before, transitioning from a vendor mindset to a partner mindset.
Your security team and the maintenance team are partners in the overall success of the property. By working closely with the maintenance team, you can do your job much more efficiently and eliminate a number of potential issues.
Recognizing An Opportunity
I thought early on that working with maintenance wasn’t important, but I soon realized differently. If the maintenance guy doesn’t like you, he might report that your guards failed to lock up the pool or secure the gym, even when they did. These little complaints cause numerous headaches and can be eliminated just by maintaining a good working relationship with the maintenance team.
It’s not just about eliminating conflict though. There are opportunities for security companies to leverage their capabilities to improve the maintenance operatation on a property. If you can show a property manager that you’re not just going to improve security but also go above and beyond to help out in other areas, that’s going to dramatically improve your retention and referrals.
Property managers are themselves concerned with retaining residents, so they will welcome anything that will help them with that task. We found this recent article “4 Tips for Leveraging Property Maintenance to Improve Resident Retention”, and it’s incredible how much security companies can assist in these activities.
For instance, the article suggests you should identify common maintenance service requests. Silvertrac has a portal that allows residents to report issues, which means we have all the data as to which requests are most common.
It also advocates nurturing communication between the maintenance and office teams. We have a full maintenance module that can show the incident report, the communication with the maintenance team, and the resolution of the issue, all easily visible by the property manager.
How To Work With Maintenance
To facilitate good relationship, you don’t want to be creating extra work for the maintenance team. That means keeping good records of who’s reported what so that you don’t have different guards reporting the same issue several times.
Silvertrac also allows you to define who’s getting notified about certain issues, so you can make sure critical issues are going to the maintenance supervisor, the second level, and the property manager, but not blasting out to everyone involved in the property.
Scheduling in routine rounds for basic maintenance issues such as lighting inspections can be a great way to get issues addressed more easily and quickly. That way, maintenance knows when to expect issues, and your team gets to focus on security the rest of the week.
Ultimately, the best strategy is just to talk to maintenance. Ask them how you can be the most effective partner, and how you can make life easier for them. I guarantee you they’re not used to hearing that from other vendors, and they might spread the word back to the property manager.
Coordinating With The Property Manager
In the traditional system for reporting maintenance issues, the guard finds the issue on-site and reports it to the property manager. This is good in that it gets the issue addressed, but bad in that it creates more work for the property manager. They now have to file a work order and communicate with the maintenance team. You want to take work of their plate, not pile more on.
The better way is to have your security team report issues directly to maintenance while keeping the property manager in the loop to oversee the issue. This gets the problem addressed more quickly, it reduces the workload for the property manager, and it shows you adding value.
Ask the property manager how they want maintenance issues reported as well. Do they want a picture? An audio file of the officer describing the problem? A written report? All 3? These are easy to provide, but it’s important to know what the customer wants ahead of time.
Some Home Owner's Associations don’t have the resources to have the maintenance team come out every day and may only be able to bring them out for lighting inspections every few weeks. If you work out these details ahead of time, you can arrange to report any lights that are out, the location, and the type of bulb the day before. This takes a great deal off the property manager’s plate and really makes you a partner instead of a vendor.
“We’re not going in to replace their existing systems,” said Johnny on today’s episode, “you’re just going, ‘how can I fit in?’"
If you want more tips on fitting in to the maintenance system, check out this article on effective maintenance management. By working with other vendors and reducing the property manager’s workload, you have an opportunity to massively improve customer satisfaction and retention.