It has become increasingly more common to interact with a centralized leasing office when calling a community to find out about their apartments. Call centers are often utilized to take the initial calls and to assist the prospective resident, and it’s important to know if you’re talking to a call center.
As Mystery Shoppers we are oftentimes directed to ‘hang-up’ or to call back until we reach a leasing professional in the office. Call center representatives are consistently being trained to more effectively handle calls to leasing offices and most of them answer the telephone by introducing themselves by name along with the name of the community.
So how is it that you can determine if you’re talking to someone in the actual leasing office or someone in another state thousands of miles away?
To avoid any red flags that might reveal your identity as a shopper, use these following tips when you need to know if you’re talking to call center.
- DON’T ask the agent answering the telephone if they are an actual agent in the office. It is best to keep it under wraps that you even know what a centralized leasing office is until they volunteer that they are in a call center.
- If there is some question as to whether or not you have reached a call center, you can begin by asking questions that only an agent in the office would know the answer to. Try asking a question such as, “Are these the apartments right next to that new library that is under construction?”
- If you are almost certain it is a call center agent but not completely convinced, you might pose as a current resident and ask them, “Can you check to see if I had a package delivered today?” A call center representative will generally respond accordingly by letting you know that they are in a centralized leasing office and that they can get a message to someone in the office for you.
Management companies utilize centralized leasing centers to alleviate the busy times and to ensure that all calls to the leasing office are being answered . The information that you report as a mystery shopper is invaluable to the management company because not only does it keep them informed of the effectiveness of the call center representatives but it also gives them information to assess why the leasing associates that they’ve hired are not doing the work they have trained them to do.
By deciphering who the phone agent is that you are speaking with from the very beginning you will be able to better able to complete the shop and provide the management company with the information they need.
It is equally as important to report when, even after multiple attempts, you are still unable to reach anyone other than an actual agent in the office. The mystery shopping company employees are trained to help shoppers with these challenges and will offer you the assistance and advice necessary to move forward.
If you pay close attention to the initial interaction when you begin making your phone calls, you will soon know if you’re talking to a call center.