With more than 8,000 residential rental units across Western Canada, the Call Centre could be considered the heart of Avenue Living Communities. Recently, significant changes in Call Centre operations have upgraded the service to prospective customers looking for information to rent one of the company’s units.
The Avenue Living Communities Call Centre fields calls from potential customers – “prospects” – that are looking to lease a unit, and books viewings with leasing specialists on their behalf.
“That’s the primary function of the Call Centre,” says Megan Coyle, Customer Experience Manager with Avenue Living. “There’s also a relationship function for existing tenants, answering general questions and concerns they may have.”
“There’s been a significant amount of change. We used to also take calls for maintenance requests, but we just recently transitioned that to another department. About 50 per cent of our call volume used to be maintenance requests and maintenance issues from existing customers. Since that function is now housed with a different department, we’re focusing solely on leasing and customer service.”
The Call Centre is centralized at Avenue Living’s head office in southwest Calgary and includes just over 20 people. It’s open for calls Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m, and from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekends.
Coyle says Avenue Living has created consistency and a better customer experience across the board with the upgrades to the Call Centre.
“We really want to make sure that when a prospect is giving us a call, they’re greeted with a warm and friendly experience or voice at the end of the line. That person is able to infuse excitement into the prospect and make the prospect excited to go see a unit they could potentially call home,” she says. “We’re really striving for a customized, personable customer experience.”
The company also has a new technological platform to facilitate bookings, allowing them to look up leasing agent availability, and automatically sync to a prospect’s calendars.
“We’ve moved towards more of a needs-based selling approach. We really have some discovery dialogue with prospects to understand their needs, as opposed to formulating a potential solution right away,” says James Jordaan, team leader for the Call Centre.
“We focus on enticing customers with some discovery dialogue, building some rapport, and truly understanding the prospect’s needs. Then we base a solution around that. In the past the approach was based on what inventory was available. Now we tailor our solutions based on discovery dialogue and understanding the prospect’s needs.”
“We’ve incorporated some call centre expectations in regards to how we want our team members to speak to clients, how we want to address them, what we want to have them discuss on calls. This way we’re striking more consistency with our approach and moving towards a needs-based selling solution,” says Jordaan.
Avenue Living’s Call Centre is an example of the company’s philosophy of meeting customers’ needs in a timely, seamless and efficient manner.