by Andrea West
Posted on 2016-12-19 10:15:42
Joanna is a landlord who would like to change how she manages her properties. In the past she’s done everything by paper but now would like to handle tasks like rent payments or applications online. She finds the property management software she would like to use and tells her residents where to go so they can make online rent payments. Everything goes smoothly until the resident in unit #13 calls her.
“I can’t get my account set up for that online thing you told us to use,” she says.
“What problem did you have?” Joanna asks.
“It’s just not working,” is her reply.
How does Joanna help her resident who has a limited knowledge of how to use the internet? Her resident’s reply to what her problem is being so vague, Joanna doesn’t even know where to start in order to help her get setup. In spite of the growing use of the internet, many landlords will have to deal with similar situations to Joanna’s. In this case, Joanna could give up and tell the resident in unit #13 to just keep sending her a check, or she could make her own job simpler over time by learning how to help the renter who isn’t internet savvy.
How to Help
Be as simple as you can with your explanations. Use short sentences, be specific, and avoid internet/computer jargon. For example, instead of saying, “Put in the URL, login to your account, and find the address tab,” you could say, “Do you see the long white bar at the top of the page? In there type in (URL address). Do you see the two yellow boxes here? In the first one type in your email address. In the second one type in your password. Do you see all the tabs listed on the left? Click on the one that says Addresses.” This may take longer, but will save both you and the resident confusion in the long run.
Test out different ways to explain how to use the software to them. Some residents will understand directions differently. Asking questions will help you figure out where they’re getting confused and you can adjust what you say accordingly. Basically, be ready to repeat yourself multiple times and be able to modify your directions when they don’t understand.
Try emailing them or giving printed out instructions that include pictures of what they will see and where they need to click or put in information.
Have them come into the office where you or your property manager can help them in person.
If you use Smart Housing to help you manage your properties, we also have help aids for users who utilize our software.
Smart Housing Help
7 Reasons for Online Rent Payments - some points in this article can help explain to your resident how using the software can benefit them.
Online Chat - Smart Housing users can open up a chat with us from any of our pages.