To borrow from MasterCard’s 17-year ad campaign run, some things are priceless. Retaining a tenant is one of them. Cleaning and refitting a space to show, vacancy carrying cost, marketing and advertising fees, commissions and incentives, lease concessions to entice a new tenant? In a market like Tucson’s where competition for tenants remains fierce, keeping them truly is priceless, and it cannot begin as the expiration date is upon you.
Positive tenant relations are critical to retention, and we all know retaining tenants adds value and avoids costly replacement. Some relationships with businesses in your property may last months, years and even decades. Setting up expectations and communications up front is key; an initial meeting with the tenant as soon as soon as the lease is signed will help in creating clarity for parties. Being an initial resource to your tenant will very likely establish a healthy, happier and more successful relationship. Make sure you are prepared with all the pertinent property information (utility info, proper maintenance request procedures, mailbox number and key information, instructions for gates or roof access, building rules, after hour emergency contact) to effect a smooth move in. Too many times, managers are reactive problem solvers rather than proactively heading issues off by anticipating them and applying their knowledge and experience.
Communication with your tenants is very important; addressing complaints and maintenance issues swiftly minimizes interruption of your tenant’s business, where distractions from their core business can be costly. We make sure our tenants have multiple ways to contact us, from online to text and phone call. Equally important is a procedure for after hour calls and a knowledgeable backup for coverage. No complaint should be minimized, as perception becomes reality for those affected. Complaints that go unaddressed can compound getting other tenants involved and making the issue much larger than necessary.
Having key relationships with service providers becomes even more important at peak times. When pipes freeze or storms bring trees down, that ever critical relationship with a plumber, roofer or landscaper comes to bear. We want to ensure that our properties receive early and prompt attention so businesses occupying space we manage suffer minimal downtime.
Keeping tenants satisfied is crucial to operations of your building. Surveying tenants periodically gives them a chance to voice their suggestions and opinions, and feedback is a strong tool to improve your Manager’s and company’s performance. Our Property Managers enjoy a healthy competition every year, working to unseat the reigning “Tenant Relations Award” winner. Property site visits and visibility with your tenants demonstrates proactive attention to their workspace. We encourage our Property Managers to visit both the squeaky wheels and those tenants they rarely hear from. The insights and face time are often enlightening for both parties and go far in strengthening relationships without taking silence for granted.
Ultimately, when it comes time to renew that lease, the Property Manager’s care and attention to their needs throughout the term are key in making that an easy decision for the tenant.
Tina M. Olson, RPA FMA is a Principal and Director of Property Management for Cushman & Wakefield | PICOR, having joined the local, employee-owned firm in 1994. In addition to stewardship of C&W | PICOR’s market leading management team overseeing four million square feet of commercial space, Tina is responsible for the management of TMC HealthCare’s real estate holdings and non-acute facilities. Tina is a past President of BOMA Tucson and serves on the boards of the Educational Enrichment Foundation and the PICOR Charitable Foundation.