Proactive service brings award |

Proactive service brings award

John Seelmeyer

When a tenant’s washing machine conked out one recent Sunday, the weekend maintenance guy at Tanamera Apartment Homes wasn’t willing to wait until the next morning to get it fixed.

Instead, he moved a washing machine from a vacant apartment until a repair specialist could come out to the south Reno apartment complex.

That’s the sort of service that won Tanamera Apartment Homes honors for customer service during the recent Salute to Excellence awards sponsored by the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce.

Roger Saari, the general manager of the apartment complex, said last week that part of the compensation of every employee in the project is based on customer service.

Maintenance people, for instance, are compensated in part on how well units are prepared for new tenants and how well the grounds of the project are maintained.

Isn’t that a hassle to manage? “It takes extra work, but it’s worth it,” Saari said.

Part of the payback, he said, comes from greater employee satisfaction.

Because workers are rewarded for being proactive in meeting the needs of tenants, they deal with crises less often and have greater support from tenants.

Maintenance crews, for instance, don’t go home until every work order is completed.

That keeps tenants from stewing over jobs that aren’t done and it encourages workers to do the routine maintenance that prevents a crisis from arising.

“It makes their life so much easier,” said Saari, who learned about taking care of customers at the mecca of customer service the Seattle flagship store of Nordstrom’s.

The 440-unit, upscale Tanamera apartment complex uses customer service heavily in its marketing.

Tenants receive daily garbage pickup.

A shuttle takes them to the airport and picks them up.

A conference room at the complex offers teleconferencing capabilities.

A concierge service, meanwhile, helps with daily errands ranging from mailing parcels to making dinner reservations.