Choosing an out of hours provider

Colin Stokes, Managing Director of Adivuo looks at what you need to consider when trusting an out of hours supplier with your brand.

Choosing any service provider is difficult, an out of hours one perhaps even more so because if you outsource it you are really trusting them with your brand and ideals.

So here is what we would suggest you keep in mind;

Capacity

Can whoever is taking the calls actually deal with your expected volume of calls? A smaller agent may be served by a contractor or on call member of staff but if you regularly receive multiple issues then one individual is unlikely to give the high level of service you want if residents can not get through.

It is possible to estimate the number of calls you will receive per unit and when those calls typically occur, and from our ten years of experience we would always be happy to share those statistics and insights with others.

Professionalism

If you have one contact on call presumably they will be available via a mobile phone and that can have issues with signal and the fact that at times the phone holder will be indisposed.

To overcome this it may be cost effective to employ a messaging service as a bolt on and enhance the service then you can ensure calls are taken and then passed on to the correct person or company.

Expertise

The next question is whether any call recipient actually has the knowledge and experience to deal with the issues your residents have?

Obviously an on call Property Manager can but will a messaging service or a specific contractor have the required knowledge to deal with complex plant issues or decisions regarding responsibility?

Reflection of Values

If you outsource away from your own staff, you need to consider whether those company values and brand can be reflected.

Can the service differentiate between different portfolios or even different properties rather than adopting a one size fits all approach?

Technology

Lastly and with one eye to the future, if you are outsourcing its not just the ability to have multiple phone lines and operators but immediate capability to mass communicate via text or email to notify residents in large blocks of ongoing issues.

Another consideration is whether they can or will shortly offer multi channel support. WhatsApp, live chat and other platforms are, whether you are ready or not coming soon, and AI will provide opportunities to streamline and improve processes, if your supplier offers or is at least developing it. This will be crucial as customer service and information more and more become the cornerstone of the industry.

 

Colin Stokes is the Managing Director of Adiuvo, a specialised call handling service for the Property Management Industry providing out-of-hours and daytime call handling to approximately 500,000 properties throughout the UK. Adiuvo offer a call handling service for property professionals by property professionals.

Reviewed: July 2019