In any service-based industry, the customer experience is paramount. If the client feels that his or her expectations haven’t been met, it’s a problem. Worse, if the client doesn’t receive at a minimum the products and services they’ve paid for, it’s a big problem. The ways in which we do what we do, and the caliber of the products and services we offer, defines our brand experience in the marketplace. Quality counts.
Of course, over the years there have been convenient stereotypes about community management that have harmed the industry’s reputation: the lazy HOA manager who enjoys handing out violation notices, or the overzealous board of directors that seeks to infringe on their neighbors’ rights. While these situations do occur from time to time, the truth is that this is far from reality.
Most often, community management is provided by reputable companies, staffed by certified professional managers that provide exceptional, high-quality service. They are CEO-minded influencers: broad thinkers who see the trees, but within the framework of the forest. They are business leaders and process facilitators and they tend to share the following characteristics:
- Business professional: These people know the three elements that comprise community associations (business, government, community) and how to connect the dots. They understand that managing a community is like running a business in a political and social environment.
- Trend setter: These are the “renegades” of the industry – not because they’re necessarily risk-takers, but because they’re non-traditional. They establish their own standards and implement unique ways to communicate and connect with boards. They are the fuel that propels our industry forward.
- Client advisor: These people understand that as professionals in the industry, our duty is to risk advising our clients how to make their communities better.
- Skilled professional: These people know that the industry is not for the faint of heart. It entails long hours, night meetings, constant board and homeowner demands. They also know that individuals who leverage their strengths as leaders are compensated accordingly.
- Visionary developer: These people think beyond the situation at hand and have a clear vision of what the association wants to become and most importantly, help others see and adopt that vision.
- Expectation identifier: These people are masters of the psychological craft. They identify and meet board expectations or can work with client expectations to fit the long-range goals of the community.
- Simplifier: These are people who can filter out all the white noise, identify the important elements, and simplify an issue. They excel even when others struggle and burn out.
Professional managers are people who proactively learn, grow and take initiative. They reject policies, procedures, and customer interactions that are reactive. They apply thought, education and innovation wherever and whenever possible, and set the standard for great customer service. They know the latest industry trends and keep an eye on related legislation. It’s an approach that puts quality at the forefront of each customer interaction, and is essential to shaping the brand experience and future growth of the community management industry.