First Impressions:

Thunderstorm Calls to Property Management Company Light up Cunningham Communications Switchboard


 By Sue Cunningham-Milito

When powerful thunderstorms and 100-mile-an-hour winds tore a swath of destruction through Grand Rapids, Michigan in September, calls for Rockford Property Management lit up the telephone answering service switchboard at Cunningham Communications.

“Those horrible storms were a big one for the world of property management,” says Monica Steimle App, Executive Vice President, Rockford Property Management.

“We had a lot  of calls that came through the answering service about generators hit by lighting and alarms being triggered in our buildings. We had to dispatch several techs to respond.”

“I was very grateful that in a situation like that we had Cunningham Communications answering our calls after hours.” 

Monica Steimle-App, Rockford Property Management

“If those calls were going to one person, it would be hard to manage them all. Our technicians were able to fully respond to all the calls that came in during the storm.  Our people were able to stay on it because of your operators.”

Rockford Property Management is responsible for three million square feet of residential and commercial buildings over 130 properties in and around Grand Rapids. More than 650 people are residential tenants in over 500 units.

Many of the calls that stormy September evening reported power outages, alarms going off and elevators not working in some buildings.

Photo courtesy of National Weather Service of destruction caused by September 11, 2019 storms in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (not a Rockford Property Management structure)

Cunningham Communications operators answer after hours calls and on weekends and holidays. Steimle-App says, “We have been relying on Cunningham for the past three years. They do a fantastic job.  They are great for what we do.”

The ability for Rockford Property Management to respond to calls at any hour “gives peace of mind to tenants that you are a company that is there for you and looking out for you,” Steimle-App says.

Cunningham Communications operators take calls for commercial property issues such as alarms, and for residential lockouts, power issues, plumbing or leaks of any kind.

Steimle-App says Cunningham operators have a list of Rockford properties, and contact information to reach on-call technicians by text and phone call.

A key value of having an on-call telephone answering service, she says is that “we appreciate that one call goes in and they dispatch a message to our on-call maintenance tech. But that call also ties in to our internal service team that something is going on. Our ability to be administrating and taking ownership of that is a benefit.

It is really important that we are accessible to our tenants. We can determine if the call is an emergency, if we have to respond right away, or later. The tenant knows we are taking their call seriously.

Sometimes we get calls after hours if somebody sees something on one of our construction sites and they call in. Cunningham notifies us and we can contact our site superintendent. That is very helpful to our company.”

According to Steimle-App, the way Cunningham Communications operators professionally handle the calls is most important.

“You never know what you are going to get on the other end. The caller may have emotions, and we hear the recordings of how the call went. I feel that the Cunningham Communications operators are always professional and provide a high level of service to our tenants and clients.

“It is as if the Cunningham operators are working on behalf of our company,” Steimle-App says. “We value how important it is that our vendors provide the highest level of service to our tenants. That is the biggest deal for me by far.

From the feedback I have gotten, I am grateful for that level of service.”

Monica Steimle-App says she “would absolutely recommend Cunningham Communications telephone answering service.”

“Cunningham Communications is a wonderful extension of our company. Their people are professionals in offering customer service. They are extremely reliable. It gives me strong peace of mind; what I appreciate most.”