A lot is changing in community association management. Business is booming. Eight in 10 management companies report taking on new clients last year, according to a recent study, yet so are homeowner demands. And a slew of new complexities, from rapid cost increases to major staffing shortages, threaten to stall this growth streak.
How can you stay ahead? We turned to Bob Brencic, an industry trailblazer, and the president of highly successful Trestle Community Management, for insight.
Here are three keys to success that emerged from that interview.
- Deepen Your Commitment to Homeowner Success
FRONTSTEPS: We conducted a survey through CAI earlier this year to community association managers asking about their burning issues. One that rose to the top of the list was heightened homeowner expectations. What’s your reaction to that being on top of the list, and how does that play into your thinking?
Bob: It’s a key trend. And the expectation from the homeowners and the board members are to respond even faster and faster. Gone are those days where you could expect a community manager to attend a monthly board meeting and answer a few phone calls. Today, the flow of information is so fast. No single community manager can respond to the wave of requests coming at them, so how do you respond?
Now, we’ve always had a web portal, so owners could do self-service as much as possible. And frankly, having a well-run informational portal is, in my mind, table stakes.
We also deployed a client experience team that helps community managers answer 80% of the phone call or email questions. What’s my account balance? How do I order a resale certificate? How do I change my contact information? Those are all on the portal, but some people still want that level of personal touch.
- Maintain a Technological Edge
FRONTSTEPS: You arrived in association management by way of the IT sector and have stressed the importance of technical acumen to grow your business. How do you introduce, use, and get value from the right solutions?
Bob: From the onset, we said we’d be the most professional and execution-oriented firm in our market, and that’s never changed. What does it mean to do that? You must have excellent processes to begin with, and then you must apply the best technology that’s out there to automate those processes. And if you could do both at the same time it’s even better.
Another key is partnering with the best firms out there. Who are the best partners for our firm that’s going to help keep us on an industry-leading trend as we move forward? A company like FRONTSTEPS. Complementing all that with the ability to hire and retain the best people. Each of these have a myriad of challenges and projects behind them that we have addressed and improved many times over.
- Choose Clients Wisely
FRONTSTEPS: How have you continued to grow despite talent shortages?
Bob: Staffing today is quite concerning, and I think this issue’s going to be with us for a long time.
We’ve taken a few steps. We’re being very selective in the new clients we’re accepting. Clients that are a pleasure to work with and are exciting partners for our people. This creates strong, lasting, mutually successful relationships.
This is part of a new series of executive interviews designed to help identify shifts in association management, overcome obstacles, and share winning strategies for growing your business. To watch the full interview with Bob, click here.