HABITAT

BUILDING OPERATIONS

Co-op and Condo Staffs Don the White Gloves

Howard Slavin in Building Operations on September 7, 2018

New York City

Customer Service
Sept. 7, 2018

The expectations of boards governing large luxury buildings are at a high level. Not only do residents expect very responsive management, they also expect superior customer service. Residents are used to going to fancy resorts, and these places deliver a high level of service. They expect that same level of service where they live as well. 

Think about it: when you go on vacation to a luxury resort, you walk out of your room and there is a porter vacuuming the corridor. When he sees you, he shuts the vacuum off and quietly waits for you to leave. He says “Good morning” and may even walk you down the hall and press the elevator button for you.

At the end of your holiday, you go back to your co-op or condo and walk out of your apartment. The porter is vacuuming the corridor. He probably ignores you and continues vacuuming. 

That needs to change. I’ve heard complaints from many board members and residents who say that they want better service. The question is how to deliver that quality service. 

We have found that providing customer-care training to management and building staff is key. At our company, every employee undergoes customer-care training from a consultant who does hospitality training at hotels, and we are rolling out this training to building staff at our luxury buildings. 

Governing a large luxury building is not really different than governing a small walk-up. You collect maintenance, you pay the bills, and you oversee the physical aspects of the building. The difference is that the residents expect the board and the managing agent to provide the kind of superior service that they’ve become used to in their travels. 

I’ve seen it first-hand. I’ve been a board member and president of co-ops and condos, and I’ve had to remind the managing agent many times to train the staff, or get me a proposal, or respond to financial questions. We shouldn’t have to keep waiting and asking for that information. Raising expectations can improve performance by staff and management. 

Howard Slavin is president of RoseTerra Management.

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