Why Emergencies Are Top of Mind for 2024

February 1, 2024

Why Emergencies Are Top of Mind for 2024

In property management, the difference between a satisfied resident and a frustrated one, a successful property and a struggling one, and a retained technician versus a resigned one often hinges on one critical factor: the efficiency and effectiveness of emergency response. While this applies to all properties, it’s been a top pain point for multi-family customers we’ve talked to.

Efficiently identifying, escalating, and resolving emergencies is not just important; it's crucial—for residents and employees alike. Creating an emergency response plan might seem straightforward initially, but the reality is often more complex and nuanced.

What’s an ‘Emergency’?

What constitutes an 'emergency' can vary dramatically depending on whom you ask. For example, a broken air conditioner might be a minor inconvenience to some; however, consider an elderly resident during a sweltering summer. In this scenario, a malfunctioning AC unit escalates from discomfort to a potential health emergency.

The definition of an emergency can also differ between landlords and property managers. While the urgency of situations like fires, floods, gas leaks, and break-ins is universally acknowledged, other scenarios may hinge on the specifics of lease agreements and the expectations set by property management. Is a clogged toilet an emergency? It might be if it's the only one available in the home. Similarly, an issue with the heating system might not seem urgent until you consider a particularly cold night and the vulnerability of certain residents.

Crying “Wolf”?

Our research indicates a significant disconnect in the perception of emergencies: approximately 40% of service requests reported as emergencies by residents are, in fact, not emergencies. Technicians we've interviewed suggest that, in their experience, this figure could be as high as 90%. This misidentification is not merely an inconvenience; it leads to costly overtime and diverts attention from actual emergencies, causing frustration and burnout among staff.

At Mezo, we're committed to redefining the status quo for technicians and maintenance coordinators. The notion that dealing with non-emergencies as if they were dire situations should no longer be accepted as "just part of the job." Imagine mobilizing resources for a swift emergency response, only to realize the situation was not as critical as reported. This not only leads to unnecessary overtime costs for property managers but also sets a concerning precedent. Residents may start to see over-reporting issues as a viable strategy to gain immediate attention and support, thereby undermining the genuine urgency protocol.

Not Crying “Wolf”?

Conversely, the failure to recognize a genuine emergency can have dire consequences. Overlooking an actual emergency can result in compliance violations, safety hazards, and unnecessary costs, not to mention the potential for severe damage to property and risk to resident well-being.

Moving Out

One third (33%) of residents cite poor maintenance as the top reason they choose to move out. Through a series of focus groups, we discovered that emergencies are a key driver of what is most important as many residents who left their prior property referenced a poor emergency experience. Some cited water damage that lingered into mold and displaced them from their home. Others cited a lack of clarity on when they would receive support which irked them.

Our conclusion, effective emergency management is directly linked to resident satisfaction and retention. Prompt and accurate emergency response addresses these issues and cultivates a positive living environment, enhancing resident loyalty. And happier residents lead to happier employees.

Keep Your Team Happy

Last but not least, intelligent emergency handling can significantly improve job satisfaction among maintenance staff, with 40% of maintenance staff turnover attributed to the stresses of overtime and on-call duties. By implementing effective screening processes for after-hours emergencies, property management can reduce unnecessary calls, prioritize real emergencies, and handle routine issues during regular hours.

How Your Team Can Help

As we move into 2024, the role of precise emergency screening in multi-family property management cannot be overstated. Investing in robust emergency response systems and processes is essential for enhancing managerial efficiency, reducing operational costs, and, most importantly, ensuring the safety and satisfaction of residents. An effective emergency response system is not just a good practice; it's a cornerstone of successful property management.

Our team at Mezo is offering customers the ability to deflect non-emergencies using our software today. We’re also onboarding Beta customers to utilize new emergency functionality that is sure to change the game for the multi-family space. If you're interested, book a demo through the link here.

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