The elephants in the build to rent room
An Englishman’s home is his castle…or is it?
Multifamily customer service – 3 insights in 2 minutes.
How does the US approach to service really make a difference?
In the US and in the Multifamily industry I know for a fact that we hire a certain very outgoing very friendly personality, and then we train the hard skills, as opposed to the other way around. So personality and attitude you can't train so much, you hire for that. So as a result in the US we end up recruiting from other Multifamily firms, but also from the retail industry and often times from hospitality. Those industries that really have focused on customer service.
What's going to make people over here want to live in Built to Rent schemes?
So on the operation side, again because the sector hasn't existed here in the past, we need to hire staffs and these buildings require a fairly large staffs, so you think about property managers and leasing people and maintenance people etc. - the headcount can get fairly high fairly quickly. And we need to educate them on what the sector is how to interact with the customer - customer service is a huge part of this equation as well. And so if you think about it, we're educating the customer, educating our staff, we're educating the developers - all this has to happen at the same time.
What are your thoughts on property management?
I think the bigger operators are going to have several thousand units under management and if you have much less than that it's going to be hard to be efficient. With that comes building a whole back office infrastructure and the technology side and the front, I would call the front of house customer facing side of the business. Many developers I talk to say “oh I'm going to build a few thousand units and I'm going to build my own management company”, and all that sounds wonderful and you ask them why they have and, you know, what they say is “oh I have one property in Birmingham”. So I think some of these firms will get to scale, but many will not.
“An Englishman’s home is his castle”… or is it? The biggest elephant in the Build to Rent room is arguably whether or not Brits can accept renting as a lifestyle choice.
However, instead of letting this elephant get in the way of successful schemes – we want to talk about it.
Andrew Yates asks David Woodward, President at Global Apartment Advisors, about US Multifamily customer service – and the lessons that can be applied to UK Build to Rent.