Posted Wednesday, April 1, 2020
It is always good to hear from our clients - what they think of us, our services, and our approach to property management. After all, their brand reputation is as important as ours, and technically we are the face of their brand - on the ground. Everything that we do (or don’t do) is vitally important and we never forget that to become complacent is not an option.
At the very beginning of 2020 Jennifer Holmes, Head of Marketing for the Fexco Property Services group (including Remus Management) interviewed Steve Saville from Bellway.
Q. Tell me a bit about you?
I am the Technical Director at Bellway, Essex Region. Additionally, I sit as a Director of every Resident Management Company (RMC) that we set up for each new site.
Q. What’s your relationship with Remus
It’s a fairly new relationship for me, just around one year so far, although I know Remus has been appointed by Bellway as Managing Agents for some of our other regions.
Q. How did you come to know us?
Originally, we had another managing agent looking after our Rivenhall Park development, but we were getting increasingly disgruntled with them. They were not delivering on promises, failing on required standards and demonstrating a lack of experience in dealing with larger developments. We started to look for another agent to switch to and Remus was recommended to us.
Q. What made you choose Remus?
When Neil O’Connor first came to speak to me I realised that we knew each other, so that made a good start, but it was more the confidence with which Neil instilled in me that Remus had more experience of sites such as ours and could clearly demonstrate the kind of deliverables we were expecting. Another distinct advantage (that the out-going agents didn’t have) was their proximity to not only the site but to our office, which is literally just around the corner!
Q. What are your expectations from a managing agent?
We look for commitment, support, knowledge, and processes that ultimately will make the hand-over experience as painless as possible for all.
We want a credible, well thought out budget, one that doesn’t have any nasty surprises or falls short before the year-end. We want all prospective and new homeowners to know who their managing agent is, how to contact them, and an understanding of what it is they are paying for via the service charge. With proper communication, we can relax knowing our residents are being looked after in the right way. Ultimately our KPI at Bellway is to achieve a good customer care score not just at the 12-week mark but after 9 months as well now. So, we’re looking to our agent to help us achieve that.
We also look for community engagement and that can be via an organised event or activity, but we want to know these things are actually happening, so a calendar of events is what we would ideally be looking for. Continuity is important – just simply knowing of staff changes, who’s new, who’s left or who’s had a change of role makes communication so much easier on a day to day basis. How customer concerns are dealt with matters a lot, with social platforms making it easier for people to air their opinions, we look for a strategy that will address this.
Q. Did we deliver?
It’s still in the early days of the partnership, but yes, there is evidence of Remus delivering on their promises, I’ve seen the support that they are offering the sales office staff with clear information provided in their introductory brochures and service charge leaflet. I know that they have a welcome pack that includes lots more information, advice on health and safety and more that goes to all new homeowners, and the communication doesn’t stop there, it’s on-going with quarterly newsletters, customer satisfaction surveys and budget updates etc. They can regularly be seen onsite, offering training to the sales office, or visiting the construction team for development updates.
People do want to get engaged with other residents these days – family groups, BBQs and charity events are more commonly seen. We’re looking for examples of community engagement activities from Remus and as the hand-over process takes place I feel confident that’s what we’ll get.
And I can see evidence of proactive communications via social platforms that directly address publicly aired issues.
So, all in all, it’s been good so far!
Q. What are your expectations as a Director?
Directors should be confident in knowing what’s going on at all times. We do not want to hear about issues or resident’s concerns second hand, so good communication channels are key. We would expect to see a quarterly report showing how we are doing financially, whether there’s any overspend or future concerns for the budget that we need to consider. This doesn’t need to be a time-consuming task, a simple one-pager with bullet points is fine. It means that when a resident asks us a question, we will be able to answer it in an informed way, not second-guessing or worse – having to admit we don’t know because the agent hasn’t told us. Remus has already demonstrated a better level of communication from the previous agent.
Q. Thanks for your time Steve, one final question, how would you rate Remus?
So far, very good. I’m much happier with Remus as our Managing Agent, and no trouble at all, it was good to share thoughts and opinions.