Best Practices for Tenant Retention

By Stephen L. Burger, CPM, CRX, CRM

A presence. That, in two words, is the basis of best practices in the fine art of tenant retention in in the office space. As I have written in this blog, the central mission for any professional property management organization is to enhance net asset value. One of the key components of that mission is to find and retain creditworthy commercial tenants.

And when it comes to retention, success is based on maintaining a constant, positive and proactive presence with your tenancy, whether it is a corporate tenant or a residential occupant. The same rules apply.

Let’s do a deeper dive into each of those highlighted adjectives. Best practices in property management dictate a constant presence with occupants. It is essential to walk your assets on a regular basis, to be seen. There is no better way to communicate a hands-on management style to your tenants than simply showing up.

It should be noted here that face-to-face interactions with your tenants is a practiced art. Some tenants like to be in constant communication with management. Others prefer a need-to-know approach. Know your occupants and serve them based on their preferences, not yours.

Of course, there is a practical application for this as well. Regular physical inspections of your properties are the best way to ensure quality control of the building or buildings. As John Santora of Cushman & Wakefield stated at IREM’s recent Washington, DC summit, “If a property manager has to introduce himself to the receptionist, he’s not doing his job.”

Your interactions with building occupants must also be positive. This is especially true in times of emergency or crisis, but really it applies always. A building manager’s stock in trade when it comes to problems that might arise is solutions. Your attitude toward tenant issues, whatever they may be, can either fuel the flames of discontent or settle nerves by conveying an attitude of calm and measured control. The proper answer is Choice B.

Work to be proactive. Whenever possible, solve problems before they arise. This obviously relates back to having a regular presence in your building(s) and knowing what’s going on. And even when you are reacting to a phone call or an email, do so, proactively. Don’t sit on a complaint, and if there must be a delay in response due to priorities, have the courtesy to keep those waiting apprised, not of your situation, but of theirs.

There are many other methods of maintaining a positive presence with commercial occupants. Tenant appreciation days and holiday parties are not unheard of. New York City building owner Larry Silverstein hires chamber musicians to play in his lobbies during the December Christmas season. These are all nice, but in all of your dealings, however they crystallize, remember the goal is to build long-lasting relationships.

For more on tenant retention, please click here.

What techniques for tenant/management interaction have you found work best? Email me and let’s keep the conversation going.

Steve Burger, CPM

As president and COO of Eugene Burger Management Co., Steve Burger is directly responsible for the overall quality, depth and consistency of management services provided in all 15 regions in the EBMC coverage map.

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