Complaints are usually regarded as the biggest boil on the neck of every HOA manager. Nobody likes dealing with angry homeowners — even if their gripes are justified.
While dealing with complaints isn’t the most pleasant part of your day, it’s still a critical part of your business. The way you handle those grievances can either make or break your success.
When you regard complaints as a nuisance, that attitude projects itself onto the people making them. Your perspective becomes reality — with everyone annoyed and defensive before the conversation even begins. And we all know what happens then.
When someone comes in with negative feedback or suggestions, try seeing it as an opportunity. Open a sincere dialogue, and you’re sure to accomplish more. Here’s your chance to build a relationship, resolve issues, and show yourself and the HOA in a more positive, human light.
If you look at complaints as a contest over who’s right or wrong, they’ll be little more than a source of contention. So how do you adjust your attitude to turn the tides when a steamed homeowner starts grumbling?
- Listen — Hear them out and try to understand what they’re really saying. Interrupting with a memorized set of rules only makes you look like a tyrant on a power trip, not an advocate who wants to help.
- Educate — Help homeowners understand the issues. You might need to re-state and explain the reasons behind certain bylaws, but do so with an ear to the homeowner’s feelings.
- Reassure — Let people see that while you’re there to enforce the rules, your objective is to make sure they are justly applied to everyone. Nobody should be made a scapegoat — even you.
We’re pretty sure the old adage, “attitude is everything” was written for the bedraggled HOA manager. So when you’re ready to bristle at the next complaint, take a breath and see the silver lining of opportunity before you. It’ll make you a happier, more effective leader.
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