Emergency Communication Tools for Property Management Companies
Communicating with residents before, during and after a weather emergency is critical for property managers. Whether there’s a snowstorm, tornado, hurricane or natural disaster, your job is to keep your residents and staff both safe and informed. In the aftermath, clear and frequent communication regarding repairs, timelines and building access will help you better manage expectations and make the weeks and months to come a bit easier for all involved.
Juggling tasks during a stressful situation can leave you with little time to manage communication, especially if you’re relying on a system that doesn’t offer robust messaging tools. Leveraging a modern property management software to streamline messaging one of the easiest and most reliable ways to manage both internal and external communication and, quite literally, weather the storm.
1. Company Communication Tool
In a weather emergency, you need to be in constant communication with your internal team to ensure individual properties are planning accordingly and following company protocol.
While two-way radios are great for quick communication between maintenance crews and other teams on individual properties, you also need a way to deliver messages across individual teams and multiple properties to alert them to high priority tasks and align resident communication and maintenance processes.
Emails can often get overlooked. Communicating with property managers and other staff within your property management software is the best way to convey needs, as your team is constantly working in the platform.
During a weather emergency, property management companies can segment relevant properties and brief them on how to stay prepared. For example, PMCs can remind property managers to coordinate with maintenance teams to de-ice steps and treat walkways during winter storms or provide messaging for resident communications.
Not only does this keep you in sync, but getting regular status updates to and from your team also allows you to send the most accurate and timely updates to your residents.
2. Bulk Email and SMS Messaging
Keeping in touch with residents is always important, but when during a weather emergency, property management companies need to prioritize resident communication. Emergencies like this can be a scary, stressful time for your residents, and they need to know you’re there for them.
Before the weather event (if possible), inform your residents of any preventive measures they can take to secure their units, like keeping faucets dripping during a hard freeze or getting to a safe space away from windows during a tornado. In the days and weeks ahead, it will be equally important to keep residents informed of unit access and repair timelines.
While most PMCs use some form of messaging system, having a property management software with powerful email and SMS messaging tools ensures you can deliver information quickly – especially in an emergency.
Using a platform like ResMan allows to further streamline emergency messaging by setting the message type to “Emergency.” This will bypass resident opt-in settings and send notifications to all residents.
3. Segmented Messaging
Particularly in weather emergencies, property managers need to be able to contact specific residents to communicate issues. Instead of mass messaging everyone at your property, leveraging a property management software with bulk messaging segmentation makes it easy to contact residents in specific buildings, floors, units or other areas of the property.
Some software only allows you to send bulk messages to all residents or email specific residents—nothing in between. Receiving irrelevant messages can be frustrating for residents, and while emergency messaging them will ensure you reach them, you want to ensure you’re only sending relevant information from your platform, especially during severe weather.
Robust property management software enables to you segment contacts to ensure you can easily communicate information to the right people. You can notify certain residents about burst pipes, roof restoration and other pertinent information quickly and avoid disturbing or confusing the rest of your residents.
4. Resident Portal Emergency Messages
We all know that messages can get accidentally overlooked. Communicating with your resident across multiple platforms is the best way to ensure you’re heard. In addition to email and SMS, you should also add any emergency weather messaging into your resident portal.
Leveraging a property management software with a powerful resident portal allows your residents to access all the information they need in a single location. Before, during or after weather emergencies, property managers can create a pop up to communicate with their residents. This can be particularly helpful after an emergency or natural disaster when residents may be logging into the portal to create maintenance requests. Property managers can insert messaging into the portal to improve transparency and communicate procedures for the days and weeks to come.
Property managers know to expect the unexpected and have a plan in place for any scenario—including communication. Ensuring you have systems in place for emergency situations, weather events or even routine correspondence, can save you valuable time.
Taking proactive measures now to streamline communication allows you get in front of your needs. Property management software enables you to create custom messaging templates for different scenarios. Instead of having to craft a message on the fly, you can simply select the appropriate template, edit if needed and hit send.
Depending on your geographic location, you may choose to make templates based on likely weather emergency scenarios. For example, if your property is on the coast, prepare messaging for hurricanes. That said, when it comes to weather, expect the unexpected. Consider creating templates for less likely scenarios. Even if it snows in your city once a decade, it’s best to be prepared.