When I was a leasing agent, one of the things that I hated the most was the strict “script” we were asked to follow when answering the phone. Sometimes, I felt like one of those annoying telesales people who just refuses to let the person on the other line off the phone.
It’s also awkward. A prospect calls for a quick price check, and all of sudden the girl on the other end (ME!) is asking for everything short of their social security number and ATM pin.
I used to talk about this with my leasing consultant friends all the time. It seemed like a waste of time. But after a while, there proved to be a method to the madness. The longer I was able to keep someone on the phone, the more likely I was to get them in front of me and the even more likely I was to get them to lease an apartment.
To a mystery shopper, it might seem like a long phone call is a pain, but it could really help the leasing consultant in the future. Put yourself in the mindset of an actual apartment prospect and really think about how you would feel if you the leasing professional seemed to be rushing you off the phone as if they did not think your call was important.
For mystery shoppers, here are 3 important tips for conducting telephone mystery shops.
1. Leasing professionals are automatic multitaskers. If the agent picks up the phone with a mouth full of food and papers rustling in the background, include that in your report so they will be aware callers can hear these things. Sure, you want to point out that they delivered the correct greeting but you want to provide feedback to help the person you speak to on your telephone mystery shop be a better leaser.
2. Many leasing consultants sit at their desks with a checklist in front of them, but you, as their prospect, are not supposed to know that. If it seems abundantly clear that the leasing professional is just reading through a list of questions to check off boxes, you should mention this is your telephone mystery shopping report. The agent needs to know it’s obvious – that they sound scripted or mechanical. And on the flip side, if you feel like you’re having coffee talk with a friend because the agent was so good at making the conversation feel natural, say that too!
3. Prospective residents want to know that the person they’re leasing from is going to take good care of them in the future. A good telephone mystery shopper can ‘hear’ clues during the telephone call that help the management company gauge what kind of resource the leasing professional will be to renters. Be sure to make notes about your perceptions on this and take all the aspects of your into consideration when asking yourself if you would lease from this person.
Once I got more comfortable with telephone sales calls as a leasing consultant, I didn’t feel like I was being annoying to callers anymore. I would picture each caller in my head, smile to myself, and just share information and engage in a two-way conversation. I didn’t pay attention to the clock because I was into the conversation. So were the apartment prospects who called in. Feedback that encompasses more than just answers to the Yes/No questions on your telephone mystery shops is the most valuable the leasing professional can receive.
Always remember, as a telephone mystery shopper, what you do is important and can help leasing agents to grow in their careers.