A big part of leading a Condo Association is communicating with Owners. Unfortunately, as many veterans know, most interactions are not Owners telling you how awesome you are and what a great job you’re doing. Typically their engagement with the Board will be based around two things – Owners wanting something, or Owners providing feedback on current policies. Here are some typical types of emails from Condo Owners and tips on how to respond.
Well-Worded Request Emails
These emails are from Owners who have read this article – or just are generally smart and polite people. They are the easiest of the emails from Condo Owners to respond to. These might be complaints or requests for something. Responding to them is typically relatively straightforward, as you’ve clearly identified what they need and how to respond. If you can address their issue, start that process. If it’s something you can’t, make sure to clearly articulate why you can’t help.
Poorly Worded Request Emails
These are emails where the Owner is asking for something, but they haven’t made clear exactly what the issue is. The key to these emails is you need to tease out what exactly the Owner is looking for. Be very specific in your response – ask the “who, what, where, when, why” questions. Don’t be surprised if you get half-answers back. Ask Management to follow up with these Owners via phone or in person. Some people don’t use email well.
These are, of course, the most unpleasant emails from Condo Owners to receive. Sometimes they have a point, sometimes they don’t. In either case, typically the best action is to acknowledge the email, acknowledge the Owner’s unhappiness, and move on. If they have a specific “ask,” – like a question about some sort of behavior – be professional and courteous in the response. However, don’t kill yourself either. If they’re leading with vitriol, you don’t need to waste staff time on them beyond the bare minimum.
Great Ideas… From Someone Who Has No Idea What They’re Talking About
These emails will be a poetic masterpiece. Huge, world-changing ideas. Pure genius waiting to be tapped and unleashed on your Condo Association. The Condo Association cure to cancer. Unfortunately, they typically defy reality or aren’t feasible for a number of reasons. The Owners likely mean well, but their general lack of information works to their detriment and makes their solution unusable.
This can be an opportunity, however. Be polite in explaining why the idea won’t work. If applicable, try to steer these individuals towards applicable committees to work their ideas. However, make it clear that they need to operate within the bounds of reality.
Genuinely Great Ideas
These come along every so often as well, and are a pleasure to read. Sometimes you get ideas that frankly kick ass. They’re the sort of thing that makes you kick yourself for not thinking of them sooner. Praise the Owner and try to get them involved. If they had the ability to create one good idea and send it your way, they may be able to come up with others. Good talent is hard to find.
No matter what the email from a Condo Owner, the key, as always, is to be professional. There are plenty of unprofessional Associations out there. Your goal is to treat every Owner with respect. If the respect is not reciprocated, that’s one thing, but always start with the aim of creating a better Condo life.
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