ACM Team Spotlight
Customers are praising ACM’s new call center and its team of experts who are committed to providing immediate assistance to homeowners and other clients at more than 200 properties throughout Maryland.
ACM is one of only a handful of management firms that offers an in-house call center. It's seven member team answers hundreds of calls each month. Calls vary widely and can include questions from homeowners about their account balances and contractors looking for payment status to maintenance and property issues.
ACM often receives congratulatory calls as well simply stating “job well done,” says Chief Operating Officer Heather Griffing.
“That is ACM’s mission in a nutshell,” she says. “Our job is not complete until our homeowners are satisfied.”
Griffing says the team takes pride in its 100 percent response rate—answering and resolving questions every day of the year.
“We have a team that works together for the betterment of our company and customers,” says Griffing. “Under the guidance of Consuela Dickens, the team provides immediate assistance by listening, answering and resolving the concerns of our homeowners and other customers.”
Theresa McCoy, president and CEO of ACM, says she knew that homeowners were often frustrated by the lack of response of community management companies. That’s why she launched an internal call center at ACM soon after she purchased the company in early 2019.
“One of the biggest complaints we would hear from board members and homeowners was that they couldn’t get anyone to answer the phone when they called their management firm,” McCoy says. “We wanted to set ACM apart from others by being the most responsive management firm. We were able to do this by having a dedicated call center team. We love being able to share that at our business meetings.”
Customers will also see a portal enhancement in the new call center.
The portal enhancements include a new mobile app. The mobile app is available on itunes and Google Play store for free. The app provides an easy way for homeowners to make assessment payments, view their account balance, contact management via the resident request feature and view association governing documents. For board members, it allows them to view financials, real-time reports on resident requests, architectural requests, work orders and much more. To find the app, search for CommunityLink powered by eUnify.
“On the web version on the portal we have added in new features such as “What's new.” Anytime something new is added to the portal page, an email is sent to the homeowner letting them know there is something new on the community portal page,” Griffing explains. “When the homeowner logs in, there is a box called, What's New and they can easily see this information.”
You can find out more at acmhome.com
Stay Tuned for Upcoming Virtual Seminars, Other Training
Since ACM is unable to hold its regular board seminars, educational programs and training activities, we are exploring offering virtual sessions later this spring or early summer. Look for a schedule of planned events on our website as well as in future notifications.
ACM’s Busy First Quarter
ACM had a busy first quarter in 2020 and did some pretty exciting things in Q1.
Noteworthy news included:
Theresa McCoy, owner and CEO of American Community Management, announced the launch of a new location in Largo, Maryland. The office will enable ACM, which is headquartered in Hanover, Maryland, to better serve its growing client base in Prince George’s County. McCoy says the Largo office reflects ACM’s growth in the D.C. metro area and commitment to provide outstanding customer service. Read more about our new office.
ACM, which began offering services nearly 20 years ago, got a “face-lift” with a new logo and tagline that offers a fresh approach to the established, trusted ACM brand. We launched the “Love Where You Live” re-branding campaign with a celebratory event at our offices in Hanover which featured video interviews with employees and vendors. See more on our website.
ACM held a leadership retreat led by McCoy during which senior team members discussed the company’s 2020 vision and expectations as well as year-to-date accomplishments, including the launch of a new and improved maintenance and contracts division, the Largo office, systems enhancements, an overhauled website (acmhome.com), and corporate reorganization into an efficient team structure and partnership opportunities, among other initiatives. “Most importantly, we want our employees to view themselves as leaders, a vital part in the trajectory of the business and meeting the needs of our customers. Their voices and ideas are important,”says McCoy.
We also put in motion plans for a Client Advisory Board that we plan to launch in the third quarter. This will grant select board members an opportunity to voice their concerns and be a part of the magic of ACM as we embark upon new initiatives as well as make improvements that better serve them such as a more user-friendly community portal.
A little bit of research and a lot of ingenuity has netted one condo association thousands of dollars in transportation grants thanks to an ACM employee.
Alan Mangen, senior portfolio manager, Howard County Team, says he discovered that condo associations located within a specific area around the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport could be eligible for transportation grants.
“I was doing research about my assigned ACM communities and discovered information about these grants,” says Mangen. “I applied for a grant, and now, six years later, I have received nearly $70,000 for one community for several different projects.”
The grant money is made possible by a Maryland law designed to help minimize transportation issues for citizens living in the communities impacted by the daily operations of BWI Airport. Typical projects include speed humps, streets capes, bus shelters, sidewalk repairs etc. These communities must be located within the most recently certified Airport Noise Zone or within two miles of the outermost noise contour.
Mangen says the cost to apply for grants is minimal—about $500.
“This is mostly for administrative costs as one of the grant requirements is to submit 15 copies of the application and all accompanying documents,” he says.
Proposed Legislation Could Impact Homeowners Insurance
The Maryland legislature has passed two bills that could have a drastic effect on both homeowners and associations.
The first is SB175, which would increase the legal liability of condominium homeowners in an insurable event from a $5,000 limit to $10,000. This increase would shift part of the liability from the condominium back onto homeowners. However, it would also provide a more equitable share of the market's liability and potentially reduce condominium policy costs (which would benefit homeowners paying into their condominium).
In cases where the condominium's policy deductible is more than the $5,000 cap currently mandated by Maryland law, the bill would enable the condominium to use less of its cash-on-hand to meet that deductible. This would help the condominium preserve money--which will slow the rate of assessment growth.
By a vote of 139 – 0, the Maryland House of Delegates has passed legislation that would make condominium unit owners responsible for a larger amount of the insurance deductible when the condominium’s policy pays for damage from an issue that originates in the owner’s unit.
The insurance legislation will go into effect Oct. 1, 2020. ACM--and your community legal representatives—are here to keep you informed and updated on these measures and other legislative activities.
Upgrade Online Customer Service Systems
ACM is pleased to announce an upgrade to our online accounts payable/vendor bills processing portal, Strongroom, a product of Avid Xchange. Our goal is always to offer the latest technology and efficiency to our valued communities and vendors.
The upgrade offers several, easy-to-use enhancements to the original Avid platform, which will offer additional features, such as the ability to view checking account balances and payments. Designated board members within your community association will continue to receive an alert when an invoice requires approval. In an effort toward transparency of financial information, board members can search activity for your association at any time and view images; ACM will continue to include paid and pending invoices with your monthly management report.
ACM will hold board training sessions via Zoom soon. Please look for an e-blast with additional details and training dates.
During this time, ACM managers and inspectors continue to visit your community to check for adherence to safety standards, aesthetics and contractor performance to aid in keeping up your property values.
An effective management company such as ACM identifies problem areas before they get worse. Early detection of the deterioration of common amenities can save an HOA money by preventing costly repairs.
Since one of the prominent threats of COVID-19 is in the respiratory system, we urge you during this time to change air filters more regularly to maintain air quality keep dust to a minimum. Visit the ACM blog for more seasonal tips and ACM news at http://americancommunitymanagement.blogspot.com/.
ACM Adopts Charitable
Home Maintenance Checklist
Check Your Filters And Batteries
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Deep Clean Appliances
Inspect Your Plumbing
Prep Your Lawn For Spring
Check Your Sprinklers
Check Your Gutters
Test Your Sump Pump
Pressure Wash Your Home
Purge The Extras
Establish An Emergency Plan
ACM Partner Collaboration
Is your brand in alignment with your customers?
Let’s explore ways to reassure customers that your company’s vision, values and mission align with theirs during these exceptional times. We'll help you craft content that resonates using social media, public relations and offline platforms. Plus, we'll measure and optimize results every step of the way.
For a free consultation, contact Tim Fahey at Dirigo Agency: 202-276-3263
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