I don’t spend a lot of time in the office. In fact, I’m usually just in on Mondays. Most of my week is spent out and about on appraisal inspections. On the rare occasion ,when I do have a few hours to spare, I’ll set up in a coffee shop or a restaurant. That’s just the way I work. I’m a mobile appraiser in every sense of the phrase.
However, I still believe in the crucial importance of communication (both with my office and my clients). It’s fundamental to having a successful, well-run business. As the chief appraiser and owner of my company, the responsibility is on me to make sure communication standards are kept high.
So, how do I maintain constant communication, and by extension quality control, while spending so little time in the office? I have four main methods.
On Mondays (part of working on my business rather than in my business), I’ll go through the emails that have been sent by my staff in the past week and pick out a few at random. I’ll look at both the sender’s and the recipient’s messages, so I get a clear picture of the conversation. I’ll make a few notes, and at our Monday staff meeting, I’ll bring up the emails with my employees and gently point out areas which might have been improved.
Voice Over IP (VOIP)
I record all phone calls in and out of the office. This is great practice for people in the real estate appraisal business anyway, as it allows you to store any conversations in their work file with borrowers that set alarm bells ringing, for future reference.
On Mondays I’ll go over a few of my employees’ phone calls and analyze them, then bring them up at the staff meeting. Sometimes the employee in question nailed it, and I happily tell them. Other times, I’ll offer up a little constructive criticism. This serves a dual purpose: quality control, and emphasizing the importance of communication.
The two methods above help me to keep the quality of our communication high between my employees and our outside contacts. With my mobile nature, communication between myself and the office is also crucial.
Phone Calls and Texts
If I need to talk to my employee about something in detail, I’ll find some time between appraisal appointments to call them. I can usually converse (using my bluetooth headset) while I drive (thus, not taking any additional time from my day). If I don’t need to go into much detail, or my cell reception is spotty, I’ll fire off a quick text.
Voxer is an app that serves as an audio texting service. Just hit a button, record your message, and send it to either an individual or a group. This is a great way to communicate messages that are too long for texts, but too short for phone calls. I use this app to stay in constant communication with my employees and contractors.Employers often ask me if it’s possible to run a ‘virtual office’, with employees working at home, or working in an office when they’re not there. The simple answer is, yes! In fact, I’m probably in communication with my employees more than most bosses who are in the office! I do this by smartly using a variety of methods and by establishing a culture of constant communication in my office.
Would love to hear what you are doing in your office to make communication easier. Please comment below.
For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode 174 Communication With the Appraisal Office.