The following information formed part of our winning submission for the CHU SCAWA Strata Community Management Awards 2020.
What makes our business unique
In the high-pressure, highly-complex, crisis driven world of Strata Management, we believe it is essential for us to exist as an organisation that is values and culture driven. One that empowers and engages employees, decentralises hierarchies and makes decisions based on our responsibility to suppliers, customers, local communities, society at a large and our employees.
ESM Strata has adopted a modern organisation structure that challenges traditional management as we know it. Over the last 2 years we have brought to life the ADAPT by Design Framework for business resilience which has enabled us to reduce layers of hierarchy in favour of self-organising and self-managing team members who can make their own decisions, drive business innovations and cohesively work towards business goals and objectives: something we believe is essential in the Strata industry.
An integral part of achieving this is adopting a teaming framework that encourages collaboration, support, innovation and higher performance. All ESM team members are part of a core team, and also part of voluntary teams where they work together on values-driven initiatives that enhance the performance of the company. This includes an education team, business development team, environment team, specialist team, relationships team and knowledgebase team. Teams report higher levels of wellbeing and psychological safety and they produce better results.
As part of our core value stream, we have three essential teams (each with a team leader) that operate in harmony to achieve our high quality of service. Two strata management teams and a unique customer service and support team. This approach means that our customers (whether owners, tenants or council members) are quickly and fully supported by a team that knows their property intimately, rather than just one individual.
This business model also empowers individuals from within the organisation to step into various leadership roles and pursue unique career paths across different areas of the company. These leaders work together with their teams and also with each other as a network of aligned individuals striving for common outcomes.
The result of these initiatives is supporting the effective and smooth succession of our founder, Jake Kneebone. It has also created a better support structure for our team members, and in turn, has enabled us to provide better service to our customers and the wider community.
How we are achieving growth
Over the last 12 months at ESM Strata we have been focusing on providing a higher quality of service to our current customers. This is driving our growth through customer retention, reviews and referrals.
Focusing on further enhancing the value we provide to our current customers has seen us implement 5 major initiatives.
The first is the structure of our support team. The Customer Service and Support team is a first for the Strata Industry in WA, and has been established to provide high-quality and immediate service to our customers and support them with level-one service on a wide range of topics and requests. Customer Service and Support team members at ESM undergo regular strata management and customer service training and we have been able to significantly improve customer response times, an issue that many customers in the strata management industry often raise as a concern.
The second major initiative we implemented was the ESM Strata Knowledgebase. The ESM Strata Knowledgebase is a staff-driven initiative that contains over 300 articles on strata-related topics. It is a value-add for customers who now have 24/7 access the most frequently asked strata questions alongside references to the Strata Titles Act and examples that turn strata law into real life situations. The knowledgebase enables customers to self-serve answers on popular questions any time of the day or night.
The Knowledgebase also supports staff executing procedures, find standardised knowledge and contextual stories that help us support our customers quicker, and more consistently.
We have also introduced regular council of owners’ evenings; whereby council members can attend a free information evening on important strata topics and have the opportunity to socialise and talk to their Strata Manager and wider strata management team. The last council of owners night focused on changes to the strata titles act and we had over 100 guests. Potential customers are also welcome to these evenings.
The ESM Strata council of owners newsletter was also introduced this year to provide informative and topical pieces of information to all council members on a monthly basis.
Lastly ESM has introduced the Relationships team, a voluntary team whereby staff members review proactive and reactive feedback from customers and discuss and implement improvements to company processes that can service our customers better.
How we are up skilling and training our staff
At ESM Strata we have a dedicated Education and Training Coordinator responsible for providing education and training to all ESM Stakeholders (staff, customers and suppliers). The Education and Training Coordinator implements and manages a number of initiatives that contribute to the training of our staff.
Reactive training – answers when you need them
The Education and Training Coordinator has spearheaded the implementation of the ESM Knowledgebase. The knowledgebase contains hundreds of answers, procedures and case studies that support staff when they need it. It is an invaluable resource to the team.
We also have a voluntary Specialist Team, a group of experienced strata managers that use their advanced Strata Titles Act knowledge and experience in the industry to support team members with difficult questions and strata issues.
Proactive training – structured education for all team members
The Education and Training Coordinator works closely with the ESM leadership team to design a training curriculum that all ESM team members work through. Over the last 12 months this has been heavily focused on the changes to the Strata Titles Act, COVID-19 initiatives and procedural changes to the way we operate (virtual meetings etc).
Staff access this information via Litmos, our Learning Management System, through our weekly bulletin newsletter and also during Lunch and Learns, a monthly lunch event often featuring guest speakers from the industry.
ESM Strata also has a voluntary Education and training team, led by the Education and Training Coordinator. This team supports initiatives like the ones above and provides further education to customers and suppliers.
ESM Innovations 2020
Over the last 12 months ESM Strata has rolled out a significant number of initiatives to further enhance the support we provide to our customers. Already mentioned are:
- ESM teaming framework
- The ESM Knowledgebase
- Council of owners evenings
- Council of owners monthly newsletter
- Customer Service and Support team
- Lunch & Learn sessions
- Learning Management System for training
On top of these initiatives, ESM Strata has also implemented a number of technology changes that enable us to enhance our customer support in more diverse ways. This includes the introduction of WebEx as our virtual meetings enabler.
Introducing WebEx has involved a number of technological and training challenges but the feedback we have received from customers has been exceptional and we look forward to making it a continuing part ESM services.
This year we have also developed an onboarding program for new staff members that quickly accelerates them into the ESM team. The new team member onboarding program involves practical and hands on support, LMS training and a detailed handover procedure that supports both the new team member and the customers they will be in contact with on a regular basis.
We also have a weekly new team member meeting, facilitated by the leader of Strata Management. This is an opportunity for new team members to get together and discuss issues that have arisen over the course of the week, get help on tricky questions or just have a chat to each other about strata.
ESM Strata has also implemented a new schedule of services to coincide with the amendments to the Strata Titles Act. The new schedules provide customers with more options, a simpler schedule of services and more transparent charging. This includes an All Inclusive schedule, an ‘everything you need’ Schedule as well as a ‘Self-Managed Support’ schedule which was introduced in response to customer and staff feedback.
Every single team at ESM has contributed to the implementation and success of these programs which have been staff-driven and implemented alongside their current roles. This has driven further professional and personal development of all staff members who not only have the opportunity to drive ESM’s path forwards but learn additional skills along the way.
How we measure client satisfaction:
ESM has introduced two major initiatives over the last 12 months to gauge feedback from customers and measure our success. These initiatives are overseen by the leadership team who monitor feedback in a customer relationship management (CRM) tool and have an effective process in place for escalating and monitoring feedback to ensure the best possible solution for our customers.
The first major initiative over the last 12 months at ESM was to introduce Net Promotor Score (NPS) surveying on a monthly rolling basis to ascertain our customer service performance at any given point in time. We began this process at the start of 2020 through random selection and undertook surveying in random batches every month. It is our goal to have every strata council member surveyed over the course of the calendar year on an ongoing basis.
The NPS process contains an email sent to customers asking whether they would recommend ESM Strata on a scale of 1 – 10. They then have the option of providing feedback as to how we can improve our service.
Every month the leadership team works through this information. Since implementing the NPS surveys over the course of the year, we have seen a dramatic improvement in our results. Aggregated over the course of the year, we have seen an 18 point improvement in our customer service levels. ESM Strata is also proud to say we sit 12 points above the Property Management industry benchmark for NPS (the closest possible reported industry).