As a community association manager, you are responsible for keeping your HOAs and condo associations running smoothly. That means making and giving them the tools to ensure that repairs and regular maintenance are done in a timely manner and helping to manage HOA vendors and contractors who work on their properties.
But managing those communications isn’t easy. Whether you’re overwhelmed with the sheer number of vendors you have to communicate with for all of your properties and maintenance needs, are dealing with unresponsive vendors, or struggling to connect your board members with the vendors directly, there are a lot of ways communication can break down.
Most community association managers today handle multiple communities at a time, often breaching double digits. So, handling repairs or other maintenance needs can often be a real juggling act, especially if most of those HOAs are relying on the same services from a variety of providers.
The key to succeeding here is establishing a call rotation of sorts. Managing how and when you call each vendor by setting up a standing rotation of communications you make per service request can create a system that keeps goals and expectations clear for the vendor and for you to pass on to your communities. Consider setting up a process that lays out when to make phone calls, send emails, or send SMS texts if the option is available.
It can also be helpful to create templates for each communication effort so that you don’t have to type out the same email dozens of times. And having a phone script to rely on when making calls to vendors is a great tool to ensure you hit all the important talking points at once, avoiding the need to make follow-up calls.
Making all the calls is important, but what happens when the people you’re calling are unresponsive or unengaged? When HOA vendors are consistently failing to answer your calls, emails, texts, or smoke signals, you’re fighting a losing battle that your communication strategy can’t fix. It’s important at this point to start documenting what communications are being ignored and start working on a plan of action to address the issue.
One way to do this is by turning on Read Receipts for your emails and text communications whenever possible. This helps to establish a timeline of when you’re sending information to vendors, and if/when they’re viewing those messages. This can also be helpful in determining whether there’s a technology problem – not all unread messages are malicious!
Sometimes emails get sent out and sucked into the Internet abyss. Text messages don’t get delivered, or calls go to full voicemail inboxes with no one the wiser. Implementing and monitoring checkpoints in your communication efforts can help determine which vendors are unresponsive, and which ones are thinking that about you thanks to faulty tech.
Vendors aren’t the only ones notorious for missing calls. Your board members are busy, but at the end of the day, it’s their responsibility to do certain tasks, like signing or renewing vendor contracts, settling on service amendments, or issuing payments to vendors. And that can mean a lengthy, discouraging game of telephone.
This is where your communications calendar will come in handy – on top of the calls, texts, or emails you’re scheduling time for to reach vendors, consider adding board members with the authority to make those important decisions. Having the right person on a standing communication schedule can help avoid repeat phone calls or emails being sent out and can streamline the communication process between your HOAs and their vendors.
Maximizing These Processes
Admittedly, while all these solutions have the potential to be highly effective in simplifying HOA vendor communications, carrying them out takes an overwhelming amount of time – more than any one manager realistically has in their day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still make this all happen. A Community Association Virtual Employee is a great addition to your team to help ensure HOA vendor communication processes aren’t just implemented, they’re efficient and maintained.
More than that, simple communications like scheduling repairs, verifying payment deliveries, and following up with board members can all also be done by a virtual employee. VEs are a great solution for HOA vendor communication needs. Contact us today for your complimentary 30-min consultation to find a Community Association Virtual Employee to help manage your HOA vendor communications.