Text messages can be an important property manager tool for tenant communication so here are some important things to know about communicating with residents by text.
By Tom Sheahan
A big component of a property manager’s job is communicating with residents. There is no one, single way to perform that job. Certainly, it has been done through in-person communication and phone calls for decades, but email, social media communication and text messages have entered the property managers’ toolkit more recently.
There are a few attributes of text messages that make it stand out when compared to other methods of communication.
Here are 4 ways text messages help property managers with tenant communication
- Save time: Utilizing texts ensures people will actually read your message. Calls, on the other hand, may or may not be answered, and voicemails (which can be time-consuming) may or may not be listened to.
- Record-keeping: Most texting software keeps a log of communication, so it is easy to go back and see what was sent to who and when. This makes record-keeping streamlined and easy.
- High read rates: Research from OpenMarket indicates 83 percent of millennials would rather text message a business than call a customer service line. This is important with the millennial age group renting housing at a higher rate than older generations.
- Reliability: Text messages are a reliable form of communication, as the vast majority of texts sent are delivered (different SMS providers tout varying deliverability stats, but many are above 90 percent), even when the internet is down and the power’s out.
While deliverability stats for texts are indeed impressive, the sender has to do their part to make sure messages don’t get blocked due to content.
There are stringent rules and regulations put in place by carriers to make sure spam content is not being sent.
Key Steps For Property Managers In Tenant Communication By Text
In order to ensure messages are reaching the intended people, property managers should take a few key steps, including:
- Always including an option for people to opt-out: An easy opt-out is essential, and it benefits property managers, too (you don’t want the wrong people receiving information about your properties or its residents). Include opt-out messaging in every text send.
- Include personalization when possible: Not all text messages that aren’t personalized get blocked, but phone carriers are definitely on the lookout when the same, exact message is sent to many people. To personalize the message, you can include the name of the recipient in the message, or reference the name of the property being addressed.
- Use full URLs: Generic, public link shortening tools may sound convenient, as they reduce message characters, but they can spur a blocked message. Utilize the full company domain in the URL. If the carriers can’t trace a URL back to the owner or sender, it will likely be blocked.
- Ensure text content is free of anything that could get flagged as spam: Follow the acronym of “SHAFT,” which indicates the following should be avoided:
- Sexually inappropriate content
- Hate speech or profanity
- Alcohol or references to it
- Firearms and depictions or endorsements of violence
- Tobacco or illicit drugs
There are many different types of messages that can be sent to residents.
Property managers can text potential residents to schedule tours, send appointment reminders or share alternate rental options. Property managers can send current residents rent deadline reminders, event information, maintenance updates and more.
Texting software, or application to person (A2P) SMS software can be especially helpful for property managers looking for more opportunities to communicate with their residents and provide additional customer service. With most SMS software, property managers can:
- Set up two-way texting, empowering residents to either initiate a message to property leaders, or respond back and forth to a message sent originally by the property manager
- Allow property manager’s personal phone numbers not to be made public (they’ll instead get a consistent, assigned number for texting)
- Automatically respond to non-emergent texts
- Send messages in bulk and utilize templates (without relying on the dreaded group text function)
- Allow property managers to save resident phone numbers within their residential management software
- Residents can, in turn, save the property manager’s number in their phone contacts, then they can directly report issues within the community, ask questions or share valuable community feedback
No matter how you plan to utilize text messages in 2023, keep in mind that privacy matters.
Do not disclose personal information via text, and ask that residents don’t either. Update text message lists regularly to ensure only current tenants are included.
By taking these steps, property managers are able to utilize an extremely powerful communication tool that provides quick, effective and direct access to residents, strengthening the tenant/property manager relationship.
About the author:
Tom Sheahan is the CEO of Red Oxygen, a leading business SMS solutions provider that works within the rental housing industry and more.