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Setting high standards for customer service key to keeping tenants loyal

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As the largest office landlord in San Diego, as well as Southern California, Arden Realty understands that tenants are the core of our business. It is common knowledge that it costs more to lose a tenant than to renew one. In fact, it can cost as much as three times more to bring in a new tenant.

Paul King

This known fact illustrates why customer service is more important than ever in commercial real estate. Even beyond cost effectiveness, good business means developing strong positive relationships with your clients, and realizing that your client, our tenants, are a valued asset.

With this in mind, four years ago, Arden launched a comprehensive customer service program focused on delivering consistent and quality service by raising the bar and setting higher standards on customer service throughout our entire portfolio.

This "Tenant Outreach Program" includes specific best practices for standardized service, biannual tenant satisfaction surveys, relationship development systems and required customer service courses for every Arden employee from the most senior executive to the most junior employee.

The tenant outreach program also involved the hiring of an entire tenant service team whose primary purpose is to cultivate relationships and serve as neutral liaisons for our tenants. This team includes a vice president of quality control and tenant service managers who check in on a regular basis through office visits, focus groups, phone calls and tenant meetings to keep abreast of tenant issues.

In an effort to improve response time and to put a face to Arden, our tenant service managers work closely with tenants, property management, leasing and marketing teams to assist in enhancing communication between each party. Tenant service managers also play a leading role in standardizing and streamlining processes to improve the tenants' overall experience.

Arden's tenant outreach program is also evaluated yearly to determine what works, what needs improvement and what new techniques will enhance the program. The program's success has already been confirmed by double digit increases in tenant satisfaction scores.

Simply put, taking the time to listen to your tenants and making a concerted effort to help them is what really matters. Whether or not you are able to offer the tenants their ideal resolution, by lending an ear, you will win their respect and more importantly their loyalty.

Submitted by Paul King, 1st vice president, San Diego Region, Arden Realty Inc.

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