Anyone who has worked as a Community Association Manager (CAM) for any length of time knows that responding to homeowners as quickly as possible is key! A quick response time goes a long way in forming a homeowner’s impression of us as a manager, their impression of the company we work for and their impression of the Association we work with. Over the years as technology has evolved, the many ways for a homeowner to make contact with his/her manager has also changed. Most managers do the vast majority of communicating through email - so being cognizant of how email is used becomes very important.
Email is a great “written” record of the exchanges we share with anyone - homeowners, contractors, etc. It is so convenient to go to your archive to find exactly what was said, agreed to, promised, etc. Besides being mindful of your grammar, punctuation, etc., WHAT and HOW you say something is equally as important. How many times when looking back through an email (after the fact) have you been surprised at the content???? Sometimes you can unknowingly become engaged in a long email trail with an unhappy homeowner - and even the most disciplined and low key manager can find themselves in this position at one point or another. However, in some instances, what starts as a simple reply to a question, request or concern quickly changes tone and turns into something you would never remain engaged in if the person was physically in your office.
Here’s what is key – make every attempt to craft each email response with the understanding that, should your email be brought back to support a legal action, it will reflect nothing but the kind of professionalism valued in our industry. Clear, concise information that sticks to the subject is best. Address everyone in a respectful manner, using the same etiquette you’d expect of a business you would want to become involved with.