Send automated communications to access tenant properties

Paul Hewson
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It's a common scenario in the field service industry: you need to contact a tenant to find out when they are available for you to visit the property.

As Commusoft can manage customers and work addresses, as well as landlords and tenants, it's easy to handle this process. With our fully customisable work address access communications, you can automate the process of contacting a work address to schedule an appointment, saving admin time and resources.

Work address access communications are available for all Commusoft users and apply to both estimates and jobs. Find out below how they work and how to set them up!

Time saving automations

Imagine working with a few hundred landlords, each with many properties and tenants. Whenever you need to schedule work with those tenants, you'll likely need to check their availability first before booking an appointment.

Manually sending communications out in these cases requires a vast amount of time - not to mention managing follow up messages when you don't get a response. Throw in the cost of cancelled jobs, should you accidentally forget to send a message, and you've got a time-consuming, burdensome mess on your hands

Automation is the answer! By automatically sending initial work address access messages, follow up messages, as well as no answer customer messages, you can easily manage the whole process with minimal resources. This frees up your team's time to better manage other areas of the business and generate more jobs.

How does it work?

To best explain how the automated work address access communications work, we'll go through an example.

Note that the message wording and communication type, the number of follow up messages, and the time between messages used in this scenario are all customisable.

The scenario

1. Miss Fox has no hot water, so John the landlord contacts your company to resolve the issue.

2. You add a job into Commusoft against Miss Fox, the work address, selecting 'Communicate with work address' as the access method.

First automatic message

3. Your work address access message will automatically send to Miss Fox, letting her know that you can fix the issue and asking her to contact you with her availability.

Follow up 1

4. After a few days, you have not had a response, so a follow up reminder message is automatically sent to Miss Fox.

Follow up 2

5. The next week, still no reply, so a second follow up message is automatically sent to Miss Fox.

Contacting the customer

6. A few more days later, still no appointment has been booked. Commusoft will automatically send John, the customer, a message informing him that you have been unable to schedule an appointment with Miss Fox.

If at any point during this process, a diary event is added for the job, the messages will stop. So, if after the first message, Miss Fox contacted you to arrange an appointment and you scheduled the diary event in Commusoft, she would not receive any follow up messages and the customer would not be emailed either.

If the job is put On Hold at any point, the automatic messages will also not send.

Setting up access messages

Access messages for jobs and estimates

To use the automatic work address access messages for jobs and estimates, you will need to set up both in System Settings. Both work in the exact same way, however, you can customise them separately. Make sure to complete the following steps in both:

Jobs > Work address access communications

Estimates > Work address access communications

What triggers the message to send?

The trigger for the work address access message is adding a job or estimate for a work address and setting the 'Access method' as 'Communicate with work address'. This would be used when you do not have a method to access the property and are required to speak with the work address first. You'll find this setting in Advanced options when adding a job or estimate.

Communicate with work address access method

Adding the work address access messages

The first step is to add the work address access message.

Add work access message

You'll want to follow the steps and add your chosen communication type(s) - email, SMS, or letter. If you want to learn more about SMS messages in Commusoft, you can do so here, or perhaps you'd like to know how you can send letters via our print and post service.

The goal of the message should be to get the work address contact to email or call you to organise a time and date for the appointment. Don't forget you can use tags to personalise the information included in the message.

Next, you can set up optional follow up messages.

Adding follow up messages

You can access the follow up message settings from Advanced Options at the bottom of the page.

Add a follow up message

Follow up messages are entirely optional. You will need to give the follow up message a name (this isn't seen by the receiver), add the message and message types, and choose when it should be sent. To choose when it is sent, select the number of days after the first work address access message is received. Depending on your business, 2 or 3 days may be appropriate for the first follow up.

I recommend customising the message to be clear that you are following up from a previous communication and why:

"We recently contacted you regarding booking an appointment for... and are following up to see when we would gain access to the property to complete the work?..."

When you click save, you will be taken back to the previous page, where you can now see a list of your follow up messages. From here you can edit or delete any of the follow up messages.

Manage follow up messages

It's up to you how many follow up messages you add and when they send - you can send a follow up message from as little as one day after the initial message and up to 1-month after.

But what if the work address never responds to book the appointment?

Set up customer no answer message

Should you fail to get in touch with the work address to schedule your appointment, Commusoft can automatically send a message to the customer (e.g. John the Landlord). The goal of this message is to let the customer know that you have been unable to contact the work address and to ask how they would like to proceed.

To set up this message, click into the No answer customer message tab at the top of the settings page.

Adding the no answer customer message

Like the other communications, you'll need to set up the message templates to be sent, please note that letters are not available (or practical!) in this case. Once you've done that, you can select how many days after the previous communication to send the message from the dropdown menu.

That's all the messages completed and set up!

Message timeline

Now that you have set up all the messages (don't forget you'll need to do this for both jobs and estimates) - the only final thing is to ensure you are happy with the timing of your messages. You can always adjust this as you go, should you find you've left too much or not enough time between messages. It may help to visualise them all in one timeline, like so:

Initial work address access message
3 days
Follow up 1
3 days
Follow up 2
4 days
Follow up 3
4 days
Customer no answer message

In this scenario, 2 weeks have passed from the first message the work address received, to informing the customer of no answer. Depending on the nature of your work, your customer base, and the method of communication (bear in mind letters take longer to send), you may find you need more or less time between messages. It's easy to manage this from the System Settings whenever you wish.

Notifications

You can receive a notification whenever one of these automatic messages is sent out, ensuring that somebody is aware of the communications your business is sending. To configure which user role levels receive this notification, you can go to Notification preferences in System Settings and select 'Work address access communication' from the menu on the left. Then simply add the desired role groups.

That's all folks! We hope this helps reduce admin time and improve customer service.


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