How to Choose an Answering Service for Your Multifamily Community

By: Abby Quillen

A prospect’s experience with your community often starts with a ringing phone. What happens next can set the tone for the rest of their journey. Investing in an excellent answering service helps you make the best impression, right from the start.

Across industries, companies that lead in customer experience achieve twice the revenue growth as their peers. Delivering a positive caller experience—for prospects and residents—is a vital part of customer service, and choosing the right answering service for your community can boost revenue. When you choose a service that integrates with self-guided tours, your prospects can easily set up and take tours at their convenience, boosting tour and lease rates.

When comparing answering services, it’s critical to consider self-guided tour integration and other valuable features. But first, it helps to understand why an answering service is an essential investment for your community.

Why you might need an answering service

An answering service automates call handling for multifamily communities and offers these benefits for prospects, residents, and site teams:

Prompt, professional service

A good answering service guarantees your callers will receive friendly, professional, timely service and accurate, helpful information. In a Moneypenny survey, 43% of participants said unanswered calls are their primary complaint when contacting companies. Having an answering service attend to every call goes a long way toward avoiding this complaint.

24/7 availability

After-hours calls are a reality in multifamily communities. With an answering service, your prospects and residents get the same excellent service no matter when they call.

Efficient call handling

An answering service answers routine questions about hours and directions, and automatically directs calls that need attention to the right person. In this way, it ensures inquiries don’t fall through the cracks.

Reduced workloads

When an answering service handles routine calls, your site team no longer needs to. That means your employees can focus only on the calls that require their attention, improving operational efficiency.

Increased revenue

As discussed, an excellent answering service doesn’t just save time and money—it can also boost revenue by improving your resident experience and making it easier for prospects to sign up for self-guided tours.

How to choose the right answering service

Not all answering services are equal. Even if you already have a service, it may be worth comparing options to ensure you offer prospects and residents the best caller experience. Look for these valuable features:

Integration with self-guided tours

This feature is critical because it can increase touring opportunities and boost lease rates. It allows your prospects to follow a phone prompt to sign up for self-guided tours, meaning they can set up and take tours at their convenience.

Integration with project-management software

More than a quarter (28%) of renters in a Fannie Mae study cited poor maintenance and other problems with project management as a pain point of renting. PMS integration helps ensure a more positive experience for your residents.

Look for an answering service that integrates with your PMS, which will provide these benefits:

  • Streamlined communication between property management and residents

  • A more seamless handling of maintenance requests

  • More timely and accurate assistance for residents


Callers want personalized experiences that address their specific needs. Across industries, companies that excel at personalization bring in 40% more revenue from the same activities as companies that are average at it. Look for an answering service that uses caller ID to personalize greetings and responses.

Urgent escalation

Your answering service should identify calls that need attention and immediately escalate them to the right person. Look for an answering service with many escalation levels, meaning it has a sophisticated system to ensure timely resolution of urgent matters. When a resident has an emergency plumbing leak at 10 p.m., your answering service should make it easy to request—and get—immediate maintenance.

Call masking

This feature masks your team members’ phone calls to make it look like they’re calling from the leasing office. Call masking gives your company a professional appearance and creates a consistent, branded experience for your residents. It also protects your team members’ phone numbers. Plus, your residents may be more likely to answer when they see the community number.

Activity feed or log

With this feature, your answering service records conversations and stores them in a central hub. Your team can quickly find a record of interactions to better serve prospects and residents.


Robust data reporting helps bring attention to recurring service requests and leasing questions so your team can better address those specific needs. Look for an answering service that provides real-time, daily, and weekly data, including details about important and frequent calls.

On-hold marketing

Most callers don’t want to wait in silence. Look for an answering service that entertains callers with music and allows you to share messages about your community. On-hold marketing engages and distracts your callers to make waiting times feel shorter. It can also help you get the word out about community updates.

Training and support

Even the best answering service won’t save your team time or help boost revenue if your team doesn’t know how to use it. Look for an answering service that offers training on its interface, features, and capabilities. Also, go with a company with a dedicated support team to provide your team with technical assistance whenever needed.


The right answering service can create a better customer experience for your prospects and residents. It can also save your community time and money and help boost revenue. Look for a trusted multifamily answering service that offers self-guided tour integration, PMS integration, personalization, call masking, reporting, and the other valuable features detailed above.