Develop Soft Skills in Your Staff
In this episode, we take a look at what these impacts might be and how you should develop the soft skills of your Property Managers so they are robot ready.
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Brad: Welcome to another edition of Rent Roll Insights, I’m Brad Miller from Real Estate Dynamics where we help Property Management businesses build, buy and sell through our Rent Roll Coaching, Property Management Training and Business Brokerage right across Australia. In this series we’ve been talking about technology, profitability, we’ve been talking about all areas of your business and getting it ready for the robots, the AI and technology that’s coming our way, probably in the next months not so much the next years. I’m joined again by Nathan Brett today. Nathan thanks for coming.
Nathan: Hi Brad.
Brad: And today we’re going to take a look at the soft skills that will be required for an individual in your business to be able to deliver the services to your clients to keep them engaged. Now when we look back Nathan at Property Management over many years, not a lot has changed in the way things are done. What’s your take?
Nathan: Yes that’s correct. When you look at some of the big rocks you know such as leasing and rent collection and repairs and maintenance and starting a tenancy, ending a tenancy, these big rock processes they might have had some leverage through some technology but largely they exist as they were 40 plus years ago.
Brad: And the introduction of robots and AI, that’s going to have a pretty big impact on some of those process or data low-level tasks wouldn’t you agree?
Nathan: Absolutely yeah without a doubt. In fact, what will happen is the robots and the AI will manage a lot of the technical side of things, so the Property Managers job of the future will look very, very different to what it does today.
Brad: I think that’s really important. So, let’s take a look at that. What are some of the soft skills that leaders need to be aware of, things that they’re going to need to focus on and develop in their people moving forward?
Nathan: Yes absolutely. So, high-level critical thinking will be something that’s extremely important. Empathy or emotional intelligence are two areas that are going to be massively important to the hyper communicators of the future. Certainly, the ability to manage client relationships so there’ll be sales and negotiation that will need to be built in. The ability to articulate information clearly and effectively and push that information out of an organization, I guess are some of the big rocks that we really need to be focusing on in terms of upskilling in our industry right now.
Brad: Yes, it’s something that you’re probably seeing less and less of in people today in that technology world, the generations are coming through, they’re focused on tapping into the iPad or whatever that might look like rather than face to face communication which is going to basically come full circle. What changes do you think an agency will need to look at here, and change is difficult, so are there any tips for our leaders on helping them to be able to shift this change to some of these soft skill sets?
Nathan: Yes, absolutely so first of all we need to make sure that we’ve got the right ‘people on the bus’, so to speak, driving the right systems that deliver to the client. So, I would probably go back and look at each of the processes in the business and take a look at where you will get leverage through artificial intelligence and robots and really that’s a question, technically speaking of, the better question to ask is “what won’t it replace?” because that will do most of the work forcing the Property Management people into being master communicators and really, really building those relationships with customers and clients and it’s that skill set that is going to need to be developed much, much faster than ever before.
Brad: Yes, so you were telling me a story the other day about a friend of yours who recently finished renting through an agency that is currently leveraging a lot of AI and intelligence there. She had come into a couple of pitfalls?
Nathan: Yes, look, that is a great story and one that proves that regardless of whether you’ve got people on the ground, you’ve got technology, you’ve got robots, you’ve got people off shore; they all need protocols and systems to be able to drive. So, my friend Jodie had rented a property through an agency, as you said they were heavily looking at gearing towards trying to have less processes and use leverage from robots, I completely understand it. But Jodie’s experience was kind of horrific. She gave notice that she was moving out of a property, she’s a landlord herself and what she found out was that, you know, come the day of her handing the keys back in she hadn’t heard from anyone from the agency, she tried to ring, there’s an automated voice service, no one got back to her, five-six days went by, she asked what to do about the bond and so really that highlighted that you know systems need to be in place first and pressure tested before you can add leverage.
Brad: I agree and putting this great technology into place that’s coming, and leverage, you are going to need those foundational systems within the business first. And at the end of the day, you have robots doing some work, but you can’t forget the person to person; the people element. It’s very easy to let something automated go through and the level of service to critically drop within the business.
Nathan: Yes, well we have the good fortune of speaking to many landlords and tenants of some of the clients that we work with as well Brad and something that annoys a lot of landlords, and myself included, is you know, repeat SMS’s and emails about repairs and maintenance that needs to be done when you know easily you could just pick up the phone and have a conversation if that’s what the landlord wanted, that’s what I want. And say, “yeah absolutely, go ahead” and you know, all said and done.
Brad: Yes very good thanks Nathan. So, in a nutshell I think that it’s very important to focus on those soft skills that are required in your team help to put some training programs in place that support your people’s development in those areas and that way you can integrate technology as it comes with good people skills to get maximum leverage and still maintain a high customer service level. Nathan, thanks for joining us again.
Nathan: Thanks Brad.
Brad: I’m Brad from Rent Roll Insights and we’ll talk to you soon.