Providing Applicants with an ‘Amazing Service’

"There’s no pressure on us to let a property at any cost, just the drive to get the right person in the property."

“There’s no pressure on us to let a property at any cost, just the drive to get the right person in the property.”

Young London’s focus has always been on providing the best possible customer service experience. As the Senior Property Consultant I know that providing a great experience – from the first moment we’re contacted by an applicant up until the time we pass them on to our colleagues in Contracts and Property Management – not only benefits the customer but also our landlords.

Making a lasting positive impression on an applicant can mean the difference between them staying with us for many years and moving on at the first opportunity.

In this blog I will talk about how my team goes about forging a great relationship with the applicant and thus fulfilling our all-important ‘Amazing Service’ mantra.

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Customer Service 2014: A Year End Review

Samantha Richardson,General Manager - Resident Services, Young London

Samantha Richardson, General Manager – Resident Services, Young London

In November 2013 the International Property Awards crowned Young London as the Best Lettings Agency UK 2013/14. This accolade instilled a lot of pride in the team – who work hard all year round – but it also meant that we entered 2014 with a challenge; to deliver a level of service that lived up to this honour.

To help us measure our success Young London continued to take the unique approach of encouraging our residents and landlords to provide detailed feedback on how the team is performing. This is undertaken at key points during the relationship (check-in, renewal and check-out) where they are contacted by the independent customer service specialists, RealService, and asked to rate our performance in key areas.

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Property Management Guide: Winter Tips

Property Management Guide: Winter Tips

Property Management Guide: Winter Tips

As the mercury begins to drop, signalling the start of Winter proper, it’s a perfect opportunity to remind renters that the cold weather can cause all manner of issues in your home, especially if no action is taken to counter the effects of the adverse weather.

To provide a lending hand the Young London Property Management team put our heads together and came up with some top tips that can help renters protect their home as the cold winter months close in.

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Young London Receives London Rental Standard Accreditation

London Rental Standard

London Rental Standard

Young London are pleased to announce that we have received London Rental Standard accreditation.

As an accredited letting and managing agent our applicants, residents and clients can enjoy peace of mind knowing that they’re dealing with an agency that fully complies with the law and offers a good service.

The London Rental Standard, a voluntary set of minimum standards, was created by the Mayor of London (Boris Johnson) to set out the level of service that those operating in London’s Private Rented Sector are expected to adhere to.

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10 Golden Rules for Dealing with a Disappointed Customer

10 golden rules for dealing with a disappointed customer

10 golden rules for dealing with a disappointed customer

No matter the size of your business it’s likely you will have to deal with a disappointed customer at some point.

While the old adage “you can’t please all of the people all the time” springs to mind when dealing with an issue this should never be used as a reason to shy away from the issue at hand. What many fail to grasp is that for every issue raised there could be 100 people who have faced the same problem but decided to stay quiet and to simply take their business elsewhere.

While it’s easy to play the blame game the best course of action is to remain professional and have a proactive approach to problem solving. Dealing with an issue should be seen as a great opportunity to learn and in doing so; save a deteriorating relationship, protect existing customer relationships and maybe even generate some new referrals too.

As the Head of Service Delivery I have complied these 10 golden rules on how to handle an issue raised by customer:

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8 Simple Rules for Providing Amazing Customer Service

Samantha Richardson, Head of Service Delivery & Training, Young London

Samantha Richardson, Head of Service Delivery & Training, Young London

Good customer service should be the lifeblood of any business as getting it right is what will keep people coming back to you time and again.

At Young London we have taken this to heart and customer service is central to everything we do. Feedback from our residents and landlords forms the basis of how we measure our success and reward the team.

But how do you go about providing amazing customer service?

Well it might be surprising to hear but providing good customer service isn’t as difficult as many would think! At Young London we have our 8 simple rules for providing ‘Amazing Customer Service':

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Spring/Summer 2014: Private Rented Sector Operations – Why Function When You Can Really Fly?

Neil Young

Neil Young, CEO Young Group & Young London

With its focus on operational aspects of the Private Rented Sector (PRS), the latest edition of our Biannual PRSupdate publication has gathered together a selection of articles that gives a flavour of the elements required in managing PRS assets on a day-to-day basis.

Undoubtedly clearly defined processes, supported by robust procedures are at the heart of successful PRS operations, as Kris Wadia explains. Kris was, until recently, a Managing Director with Accenture, a global consulting organisation.

He is now CEO of Humanized Leadership, which advises businesses on profit improvement. However, it is how those processes are brought to life within the business and delivered (both internally and externally), and the tools that are employed that have the potential to differentiate between a business that functions and a business that flies.

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Spring/Summer 2014: Making Customer Feedback Count

Howard Morgan, Managing Director, RealService

Howard Morgan, Managing Director, RealService

When RealService was founded 15 years ago the idea of measuring customer satisfaction within the UK lettings industry was virtually unheard of.

In 2014, customer satisfaction measurement has become a core operational skill for many of the leading owners and managers, looking for competitive advantage, in the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

For years the PRS in the US has been gathering feedback from residents, and measuring customer satisfaction, but this is a practice that has only just started in the UK, where the PRS is still a developing market.

So, what lessons can we learn from the USA and the UK commercial lettings sector? And why bother gathering and measuring customer satisfaction in the first place?

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Spring/Summer 2014: Turn Reputational Risk Into Magic

Michael Oakes, Director of Communications, Young Group

Michael Oakes, Director of Communications, Young Group

Reputational risk has often been quoted as one of the principal barriers to entry when it comes to institutional investment in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), and became an issue of mythical proportions following the publication of the Montague Review.

Happily though, two years on, we’re seeing active heavyweight investment in the industry, which proves that reputational risk should be no more of an issue in the PRS than in any other sector.

After all, every industry has its own risk factors, yet it doesn’t prevent hotels offering rooms for rent by the night, or airlines from taking to the skies or institutions managing pension funds; all potentially risky and brand damaging activities, but none so much so that they’d be considered to be wholly un-investable…

The key to mitigating business risk is twofold: minimising operational risk and maximising brand protection.

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Labour defeated in move to ban lettings agency fees

Government

Government

As PRSupdate reported last week, Labour tabled an amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill that would have banned letting agents from charging fees to tenants.

But, after much debate, the motion was defeated in the House of Commons by 53 votes.

Hours prior to the vote the Government had announced it would put forward its own amendment to the Consumer Rights Bill. Details of the Government’s proposed amendment have not been fully revealed, as it has yet to be tabled, although it is known that it will compel letting agents to publish all of their fees on their websites and prominently in their offices.

The requirement would goes a step beyond the current Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) recommendations, including the ability to fine any agents who fail to comply.

The Government said it would plan to monitor the regime for a year and ‘put the industry on notice’ that it would be ready to consider further steps if it deemed necessary.

Young London, Young Group’s operational business, is fully prepared if these new proposals come into force as it already displays all fees on the its website and provides them to every applicant as part of their viewing pack.

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Operating in the Private Rented Sector: An Introduction

Neil Young, CEO

Neil Young, CEO

Young Group’s latest biannual PRSupdate publication will be landing through letterboxes just in time for the Easter weekend.

The theme of this new PRSupdate publication is Operating In The Private Rented Sector; timely, since over the past six months my fellow Young Group Directors and I have seen a noticeable change in discussions about the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

No longer is the conversation dominated solely by talk of acquisition, whether land or existing stock.

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Customer Experience in the Private Rented Sector

Winning Customers' Hearts and Minds

Winning Customers’ Hearts and Minds

On Tuesday, I was in the audience at the BPF Residential Conference and was particularly struck by the post-session feedback and comment prompted by the panel session entitled “Winning Customers’ Hearts and Minds”. The session certainly seemed to capture the attention – and imagination – of the delegates that I caught up with in the programme breaks.  So I thought it worth penning a précis…

Michela Hancock of Bozzuto brought a US perspective to the panel highlighting the base level services which are commonplace in North America and which should be firmly embedded into our own Private Rented Sector (PRS) – as well as the opportunities that PRS owners and operators can create through enhanced services.

CEO of Young Group, Neil Young, was quick to point out that some PRS operators in the UK, such as Young London and Get Living London, are already investing heavily in understanding their customers and delivering an experience that precisely matches their specific needs.

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Minister calls for a fairer Private Rented Sector

Kris Hopkins has asked for solutions to certain PRS problems.

Kris Hopkins has asked for solutions to certain PRS problems.

The Housing Minister, Kris Hopkins, has urged landlords and tenants to come forward and offer their views on what more the government can do to improve the Private Rented Sector (PRS) as part of his drive to create a fairer and more flexible PRS.

The minister wants to raise the standards of property conditions and root out “rogue” landlords.

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The Modern Concierge Service

Concierge Area

Concierge Area

concierge

n.         a person who has charge of the entrance of a building and is often the owner’s representative or caretaker.

The role of a Concierge means different things to different people. However, in London this service essentially provides these basic elements:

  • Providing security by overseeing who has access to and from the building
  • Postage and Parcel Receipt (in a resident’s absence)
  • A physical presence for communication between residents and the building management
  • On-site point of contact for reporting building maintenance issues
  • Supervision of the communal areas (appearance, safety etc.)

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The Retreat: A Refinance Case Study

The Retreat

The Retreat

Following on from the Santander article looking at lending for the Private Rented Sector Young Group has put together a case study on the refinancing of its property portfolio in The Retreat.

The Retreat, completed in 2008 and located in the London Borough of Wandsworth, is a gated development consisting of 26 luxury flats with secure parking that provide the perfect combination of luxury, convenience and tranquillity.

The development completed in the middle of the financial crisis. A few of the units had been sold, however, we decided to complete on the remaining majority as we could see the long term growth potential, despite the uncertainty in the market at that time. Five years later this decision has been vindicated as Wansdworth has experienced an increase in property values of 16.4% over the past year.

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