Do you ever hear from upset owners that have been referred to collections? We deal with our fair share of upset owners and we know from experience that sometimes these owners will reach out to their management company or board of directors. In fact, we have noticed an increase in homeowners doing this over the past few months. We understand that these types of situations can cause major headaches for all involved, so in order to eliminate these headaches we are advising board members and property management companies, like yourself, to not engage in these communications and let your collection partner take them on.
When homeowners are in collections it is more important than ever to ensure that you, as a property management company or board member, are following the correct steps from start to finish. We know it can be difficult when homeowners are reaching out to you to complain; you’re customer service focused, and you want to help everyone! But, the best thing to do is to follow a set process and refer homeowners to your collection partner to limit liability risks.
With that understanding, we wanted to share some guidelines regarding best practices for successfully resolving these types of issues.
BEST PRACTICE GUIDELINES
1. Respond to the homeowner. We know that customer service is vital to your business and part of maintaining your hard-earned reputation of excellence in that area includes timely responses. This is why we fully support sending the homeowner an initial response, so that they know their issue is being addressed. In this response, be careful not to discuss any details and be sure to let them know that their account is in collections and your collection partner will be contacting them.
2. Stop communicating with the homeowner. You should refer them to your collection partner, who will then work with you on any documents needed while communicating directly with the homeowner.
3. Double check all of your prior communications to the homeowner. This includes reviewing: late notices, account statements, violation notices, emails and calls.
4. Notify your collection partner of any relevant information. Is there a missing late notice, or a letter that was sent to the wrong address? Contact your collection partner immediately to ensure that they have everything they need when communicating with the homeowner.
5. Document all communication. This includes but is not limited to the following: complaint from the homeowner, communication, proposed resolutions, and the actual resolution.
As you can see, the process is simple, it’s only five easy steps and can prevent multiple headaches in the future. On top of that, the right collection partner will keep you informed and navigate this for you to create minimal work on your end.
Through our 15 years of experience in the collection industry, we know better than anyone how important it is to not only ensure that people know you treat everyone fairly, but to actually do it. If any homeowner feels that someone received better treatment for any reason, this can lead to logistical nightmares from an operations standpoint, and not to mention, serious liability risks.
With Equity Experts you know you’re in good hands. We will be completely transparent while communicating with the homeowner and keep you fully informed.