9 tips on how to deal with angry tenants

There’s no doubt about it.

Customer service is crucial to every successful business. Real estate is no exception. By delivering the best possible service to your customers, you can:

  1. Increase tenant retention and occupancy rates.
  2. Reduce the likelihood of late payments.
  3. Generate an excellent brand reputation.

However, there’s one small problem.

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Property management isn’t easy. It never has been.

It is a challenging profession, and sometimes, despite everyone’s best intentions, things may fall through the cracks and land you in hot water. So, although dealing with angry tenants is a situation we’d all ideally avoid… it isn’t always possible.

Even the most organised property manager is bound to deal with an angry customer at some point in their career. Knowing how to handle them could make all the difference and help you provide the best possible customer service.
Deal with your angry tenants using this helpful guide from MRI Software.

How to deal with angry customers and tenants

Nobody likes conflict. Whether it’s caused by:

  1. A maintenance request being forgotten.
  2. An unresolved issue with the monthly rental payment.
  3. A simple misunderstanding between the parties involved.

Encountering an angry tenant can be intimidating.

Although these instances are less than ideal, there are several steps a property manager can take to both minimise the damage and improve the customer’s overall experience.

Tip 1: Stay calm

Did you know that there’s a natural fight or flight instinct that arises within us on the brink of an argument?

When dealing with angry customers, the rush of feeling is much the same, and it would be easy to become emotional or stressed, which will only exacerbate the situation.

You don’t want to risk damaging the relationship you’ve worked so hard to build. It’s your job to step back, take a deep breath, and approach the situation with a clear head.

Tip 2: Respond in a timely manner

Whether it’s posted on social media or sent in via email, the majority of unhappy clients expect a response within a maximum of three days.

In fact, 42% -50% of this demographic want you to respond within 24 hours!

If you need to look into the issue at hand, do not ignore the client until you have a response; it is far better to reach out to them and apologise for their frustration and explain that you are looking into the matter immediately.

It will also help if you are able to include an anticipated resolution date so the customer knows when they will hear from you again.

For example, “I have reached out to my manager and hope to have a solution by this Friday” is better than “I emailed my manager and will get back to you as soon as I receive a response.”

Tip 3: Try to be understanding

Although a leaky tap may not seem like a huge deal in the big scheme of things from a property manager’s point of view, take a step back and see why it’s bothering your angry customer.

  • Is (s)he worried about the water bill?
  • Could the noise be disturbing their work or rest?
  • Did a co-worker slip and almost injure themselves?

It’s sometimes hard to see the merits of a complaint when there are larger issues to be resolved, but, unfortunately, clients are twice as likely to share a negative experience than a positive one. Put yourself in their shoes.

It is imperative to follow up with all issues, regardless of their severity. Why? So your tenants and residents can be confident in your ability as a property manager to facilitate a great customer experience during their time at the property.

Tip 4: Learn more about your angry tenant’s problem

Let’s face it.

If you don’t entirely understand why you have an angry customer on your hands, you aren’t going to be able to take the necessary actions.

Ask them multiple questions to get to the bottom of the issue, communicate, and gain a clear picture of why this is bothering them so much.

Perhaps this isn’t the first time they’ve encountered a similar problem.

Tip 5: Focus on listening

Once you understand what’s going on, it’s time for you to take a step back and let your angry tenant express their emotions.

Demonstrating your willingness to listen will continue to build on the relationship you already have with that person and secure their ongoing loyalty. Even if instinct tells you to be defensive, try to clamp down on what you have to say and only communicate what’s necessary.

Ultimately, you have to shift your mindset and remain open if you want to retain tenants.

Tip 6: Echo your angry tenant’s problem

If you don’t have the luxury of an estimated follow-up date, it can be helpful to acknowledge the inconvenience and stress of your angry tenant.

Echo the emotions they are feeling, and make it clear you understand their frustration. Remind them that you will make sure the complaint does not fall to the wayside and you are determined to handle it as soon as possible.

Try something like: “Unfortunately, our maintenance manager is out of the office until next Wednesday, however, I will make sure I touch base with her as soon as he returns. Is there anything else I can do to assist you in the meantime?”

Tip 7: Use your angry tenant’s name

Dealing with angry customers isn’t an easy venture.

If their emotions are reducing their ability to communicate clearly, you need to be mindful of that.
Try to use personalisation (like their name) when expressing your understanding and trying to calm them down. Remember, if you’ve spent time building a relationship with them, then that isn’t going to be thrown away because of one problem.

You just need to remind them of your presence and demonstrate you are willing to help.

Tip 8: Offer a few solutions

Some issues aren’t black and white. But an angry tenant doesn’t want to hear excuses. They want to know:

  1. Exactly what you can do for them.
  2. When you’ll do it.
  3. How you plan to address the problem.

As such, when you do encounter these pesky, complex issues, try to meet your tenant in the middle and offer a variety of short and long-term solutions. To show you are considering their feelings, meet them in the middle and let them contribute to your decision.

Tip 9: Follow up with your angry tenant

After the problem has been resolved, be sure to reach out to your customer a week or so later to make sure nothing else is awry.

This gesture shows that you are concerned with the client’s feelings throughout their tenure, not just when an issue arises.

A simple email asking whether the thermostat is still working also gives the customer a chance to voice any additional issues, enabling you to address any further complaints as soon as they occur.

How to deal with angry customers – FAQs

At the end of the day, dealing with angry customers involves strong relationship-management skills that are useful to you in all aspects of life. If you still have questions, check out these helpful FAQs.

What to say to calm down an angry customer?
How do you respond to an angry customer professionally?
What is the best way to deal with an angry customer?
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