We spend a lot of time looking at the content of an inventory report in our training course; Learn How To Produce Professional Property Reports however how the report ‘looks’ is just as important.
Why? Because if the report appears disordered, if the information has not been checked for spelling and grammar or certain information appears missing or misleading the reader can lose trust in the report and ‘switches off’.
If a report appears sloppy; poorly laid out and full of spelling and grammar errors they lose that trust and may then query whether the report will safeguard the property, the tenants deposit or the agents reputation.
Equally; if the information is either irrelevant or fails to provide enough detail then the likelihood of the reader taking on board any comments that may prove vital either during the tenancy or at point of checkout can be limited.
Trust is often used to refer to your client relationships but what thought have you given to the word when it comes to your report? Trust is important as if the client sees that you have taken care over the report and the contents they ‘feel’ they have a report that can be relied on and is value for money.
So how do you instil trust and ensure your report can be relied on?
- Layout – present your report using an ordered and easy to follow format and keep to that format in each and every report and type across your service
- Photographs – make sure all your pictures are the same i.e use landscape for your overview pictures and portrait for items and issues
- Grammar – check what you say and how you say it so that you do not leave the reader confused; do not be lazy with your words, use ‘has not’ instead of ‘hasn’t’ to convey a professional image
- Spelling – check the spelling is correct. In Inventorybase your report will spell check as you write (underline in red) but also pay attention to what words you use so that you are not misdirecting the reader
- Glossary – although the deposit services prefer not to see abbreviations if you do use them ensure you have an extensive glossary included in each and every report type for readers to refer to
- Audits – should be an integral part of your reporting process; you should look to audit 100% of reports certainly initially until you gain confidence in your report writing and structure and those of any clerks or staff you ’employ’
- Summary – if you are adding a report summary ensure it covers the major points you wish to convey including any actions not covered in the main report i.e you want the agent to look at a certain section of the report
Other aspects to consider:
Reputation – is just as important as trust as reputation is what people that do business say about you to others and can have a profound effect on how well your business thrives especially in our current climate where letting agents, landlords and tenants are more adept at searching the internet for potential suppliers and will view those services with an online presence that is highly rated either by a star system (Trustpilot) or by feedback comments (Google).
Integrity – how you act, is a characteristic of you and your business regardless of who is watching so should be given equal consideration.
- Keep to your word by delivering on your promises
- Keep to your commitments by being on time
- Take responsibility for your actions and those of the staff you use and employ
- Own your mistakes and provide solutions
- Respect your clerks, staff you employ, your clients and the wider business community
NB: integrity (along with a DBS check) should be a key personality feature looked for when recruiting clerks
Perception – how you and your business are perceived can be the difference between building a successful inventory service and struggling to gain a firm foot hold in what is a competitive and saturated market. For a consumer, it is important to know what they are purchasing by way of a single report or for a portfolio of properties is both value for money and have confidence in you as a supplier.
In summary; there is real value in how your report looks and how it conveys the information it provides to the client so:
- pay attention to the layout
- the terminology you use
- use photographs to evidence the report not as a supplement for detail
- ensure the reader can understand the content
- be comprehensive, consistent and concise
The InventoryBase system provides a format that allows the user (depending on type of account) to adjust the look of their report and even customise the layout with your logo and branding to the platform, your own colour scheme, buttons, fonts and icons.
For more information visit InventoryBase