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Could poor communication be ruining your tenant experience?

Discover how effective communication in CRE enhances tenant engagement, operational efficiency, security and boosting NOI.


By David Fuller-Watts, CEO, Mallcomm

Communication is the key to any successful relationship – or so we’re told. Yet, whilst it is one of the most important, it is also one of the hardest things to get right.

Poor communication can be isolating, whilst over-communicating or not communicating in the right environment or in the right way can be detrimental to getting the right message across.

But I’m not talking about personal relationships. I’m talking about real estate. 

Poor communication in a shopping centre or mixed-use development can wreak havoc with the ecosystem. It can leave tenants unengaged, stunt the growth of community, break down operational efficiency, and impact security and facilities management. And this filters down to create a poor customer experience which negatively affects tenancies longer-term.

Understanding how to de-silo your communication streams is the key to success in such environments. It helps you to deliver a two-way flow of information that can increase tenant engagement and bring cohesiveness to your internal teams.That, in turn, can help improve business performance by providing the information to help staff work more effectively.

Put your money where your mouth is

Communication under one roof isn’t just a nice to have, and ignoring communication silos very clearly affects NOI. If tenants don’t have a centralised place to communicate their needs, whether urgent or otherwise, improvements in the space are less likely to occur and regulations are less likely to be met.

Ensuring all tenants can connect with the relevant bodies on the ground means operating costs can be lowered through greater adherence to safety and security regulations. This positively impacts NOI by reducing insurance costs and liability risks.

Communication across different teams

However, whether or not to use communication tools isn’t the question. Asking which tools to use and how to communicate using them is. This isn’t about creating yet another WhatsApp chat group to share gossip or a social network for shopping centres. To enable true business value communication needs an element of control.

Be in control, not a control freak

A controlled environment helps ensure that the right information goes to the right person at the right time, whether it’s a tenant communicating with a property manager, operations manager or security and vice versa. When the flow of communication is relevant and useful to all stakeholders, engagement is promoted, helping to increase retention and encourage longevity within rental income.

By controlling when, where and how communication flows, you put the power of information into the hands of your community, encouraging a proactive over reactive culture. This empowers tenants to take responsibility for their environment. The result? They want to engage with you more.

retail tenants communicating

Sometimes less is more

Over-communication leads to disengagement and missed messages. To avoid the threat of over-communication, you need an understanding of the information that is most important to your different stakeholders. In a real estate destination, there can be multiple groups you need to communicate with. You need to be able to do this effectively and concisely to cut through the noise.

There will generally be three types of information to communicate:

  1. Marketing communications- to drive a better experience for retailers and shoppers-helping retailers to take advantage of activities that are designed to help drive sales.
  2. Security-led communications – to help mitigate risk to persons and property
  3. Day-to-day operational communications- helping to increase the environmental appeal and functionality of the space

Within these three buckets, the right stakeholders should know everything they need to know, and not what isn’t relevant to them.

Divide and conquer

Avoiding communication overload is crucial and the tech response to this starts with effective targeting. Ensuring your stakeholders are clearly segmented means that each team gets communications tailored to their roles and responsibilities. They can then avoid distractions from their daily duties and reach their commercial goals faster.

For example, store managers will have different needs to store associates, while fashion retailers may have different information requirements to restaurants. Even floor-by-floor what is required can vary, depending on the centre’s profile.

retail tenant looking at ipad

Such micro-targeting might sound like hard work, but with technology doing the heavy lifting it has huge benefits. Effective internal communications increases employee engagement. That, in turn, can increase productivity by 22%. Target correctly and you are more likely to engage employees.

Don’t delay, do it digitally

Communication within a real estate destination used to rely on hand-distributed memos or newsletters which required recipients to sign to acknowledge receipt. But this didn’t guarantee such communication would be read.

There is another way.

Digital communication has overcome that challenge. It provides greater trackability and the ability to better target individuals, rather than waste their time. And that’s important. According to the 2022 State of Business Communication report, poor communication in the workplace accounts for a loss of 7.47 hours per employee, per week. That’s almost a day – the implications of which are huge.

Meanwhile, a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, found that it can result in the failure to complete projects (44%), low employee morale (31%), missed performance goals (25% and lost sales (18%).

By contrast, role-specific communication, delivered digitally and at the right time, provides what staff need, while allowing owners to optimise their space.

Are you convinced yet?

Landlords and management teams need to be able to communicate with their tenants – this isn’t new. But where digital transformation comes in is helping to facilitate a conversation that builds communities. When Stakeholders realise it’s not just a one-sided conversation, the opportunities to increase NOI come to the surface.

Improving the relevance of your communication helps to bring together your teams. It enables them to do their jobs better, and it illustrates to stakeholders the value of their own engagement. Opening up these lines of two-way communication can provide valuable insight.

retail tenants communicating

When all those in a destination are closely aligned, they can together help to drive results. In The State of Business Communication survey, 50% said poor communication led to high stress levels, reduced job satisfaction (34%) and a lack of professional confidence (30%). Flip those figures on their head and the benefits are obvious. You foster happier, more satisfied staff who better enjoy their job, and that creates a great customer experience that accelerates those results further.

Ultimately communicating in the right way, empowers entire communities to be successful and relationships built and strengthened.

Discover how Mallcomm can streamline your properties communications and operations

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