Multifamily Leasing Trends | Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Call Center for Leasing Apartments

Last Updated: February 6, 2014By Tags: , ,

Happy call center employees with headsetApartment owners, multifamily executives, and property managers are busier today than ever. Unfortunately, there are still only 24 hours in any given day at last check. This leaves many multifamily executives looking for ways to streamline some of the responsibilities within their businesses in order to have the time and focus to take care of other important job functions.

Using call centers for leasing apartments is one way to do this. However, there are a few distinct pros and cons to keep in mind before deciding if you want to take your business in this direction.

Advantages of Using a Call Center for Leasing Apartments

Businesses today are continuously seeking cost-effective alternatives to the old way of doing things. And multifamily investors and executives are no different. Using a call center for leasing apartments offers the multifamily executive an alternative solution with marked benefits.

Specialization. Leasing agents wear many hats within their respective apartment communities. Many of these hats take them out of the office — and away from telephones serving people who are hot prospects looking for apartments now, or those who are already members of the apartment community. On the other hand, call center agents specialize in their roles, which can be a huge advantage. Call center agents have one responsibility, primarily. While they certainly answer prospective tenant questions, their main goal is to “soft sell” the apartment community they represent — and they become experts at doing so.

Free up valuable time. Multifamily Executive recommends hiring call center leasing agents to free up your valuable time, or that of your staff, to handle other on-site needs, such as taking care of existing tenants and prospects. In addition, someone else handles the training of call center staff members. This means you’re not dedicating valuable time bringing another team member up-to-speed and can devote your time and attention to your core competencies and pursuits that can bring in additional revenue, such as marketing and market research.

Preference of prospective tenants. People like to hear the voice of another person on the line rather than a recorded message or busy signal. Call center leasing agents are a lot more than additional staff members to pick up the slack when business picks up. They’re the warm body on the other end of the phone that prospective tenant callers respond to. They’re a live person who can answer questions, point out benefits, and add depth to your existing leasing team — even if they never set foot on the actual properties they’re helping sell.

Avoids missing prospective tenants. Call center leasing specialists also play an important, if not vital role, by ensuring that important calls and prospects aren’t missed before they roll over into voicemail. Many, if not most, people hang up when calls go into voicemail. Call centers are able to capitalize on these leads even if the lead calls after hours or calls at a time when an on-site staff member is unable to answer the phone.

Availability. The bottom line is that call center agents are simply available at times when it’s not always cost-effective to have an employee on hand waiting on the phone to ring. The world doesn’t operate on bankers’ hours anymore. If you truly want to make a lasting impression with prospective tenants, have a live person answer the call when tenants that work night shifts call in.

Cost. Investing in call center leasing agents can save apartment owners money over hiring full-time staff members and investing in infrastructure, equipment, warm bodies, and phone lines to do the job call center leasing agents do.

Disadvantages of Using a Call Center for Leasing Apartments

Call center leasing is not without its considerations. Take a look at some of the drawbacks of using a call center for leasing apartments.

Cost. The biggest of which, according to Multifamily Executive,  is the cost. For some smaller apartment communities, it’s simply too prohibitive to have on-site staff and off-site call center staff as well. However, many call centers have created packages with different price points to mitigate this so that it’s easier for even small communities and to bear the costs.

Transparency.  There may come a time when a prospective tenant asks to see the person they’ve spoken with on the phone. And some consumers may be disappointed they aren’t able to meet with the leasing agents they’ve spoken with on the phone when they visit the apartments.This lack of transparency can be a drawback, however there are ways around it. Simply train your team to inform them that the person they spoke with on the phone is an important part of your team that works off-site in a different facility.

Communication Issues. If call center agents have an accent, as might be the case if your call center for leasing apartment is outsourced out of the country, prospective tenants may have trouble understanding what is being said to them. You can circumvent this by carefully screening the company that you outsource this task to.

Lack of dedication and focus. When call center work for leasing apartments is outsourced to a third party provider who may have other client companies, outsourced call center agents may not be fully dedicated or focused on your company. In other words, their dedication and attention can be divided among a number of client companies.

Quality of calls. While not always the case, outsourcing call center for leasing apartments can lead to lower quality of calls, particularly when calls are not monitored and improvements are not made to underperforming call center agents. In the long run, poor prospective tenant satisfaction from calls responded to by call center agents can lead to reduced revenue opportunities. Be sure to hire a call center for leasing apartment that monitors calls, provides reviews to its workers, and takes pride in quality.

Do Call Center Leasing Agents Help to Generate Revenue?

In instances where staff members are missing a large volume of calls regularly, call center leasing agents absolutely do generate revenue, first and foremost, by freeing up the time of on-site leasing agents to seal the deal, reports Multi Housing News. They also help by setting more appointments simply because the call center is available after hours and at times when on-site staff members are busy seeing to other needs. Call center leasing agents allow multifamily owners to increase revenue by renting more apartments, streamline marketing endeavors (cutting expenses as a result), and increase profits with greater efficiency.

That said, there are drawbacks, like those listed above, along with the benefits. Weigh the pros and cons to decide whether investing in a call center for leasing apartments is a cost effective move for your apartment leasing needs.

Are you using a leasing call center? Do you have something to contribute to the conversation? Please feel free to leave your valuable comments in the section below.

JustinAlanis Justin Alanis | Company Website | LinkedIn Connect |

Justin Alanis is the Co-Founder and CEO of Rentlytics Inc.  Rentlytics is based in San Francisco, CA providing deep analytics for apartment property owners and managers. View and analyze property operational and financial metrics more effectively and identify issues.


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