Communication is Key – Howard White!

One of the worst fires I ever saw happened in 2000 in the East 70s in Manhattan. I got a call from the property manager at Brown Harris Stevens who said there was a devastating fire on the 7th floor. She said: “the fire trucks are still here with hook and ladder on the building but please assemble your team and get up here right away.” This building was ranked in the Top 10 places to live in NYC, right up there with The Dakota and The River House.  I knew this was no ordinary apartment building and luckily, we worked there before and I was friendly with the Resident Manager.

The homeowners had not seen the loss yet and we all arrived at the same time. Riding up the elevator with this well-heeled and terrified couple, I watched the doors open to what looked like a set from the movie Backdraft, only with millions of dollars of stuff inside. The wife immediately burst into tears and the husband was frantically roaming through each damaged room asking what I could save for them. We assessed each area and I gave them very explicit information on what we could do and how we could do it. Calming them down and setting their expectations took a lot of energy and convincing. We left together for a meeting with the Board President and  the Resident Manager. After careful explanation to these key players, they agreed to recommend me to all the other homeowners that sustained damage. My cards were hand-distributed to each resident who needed service.

Seeing that there was so much damage to many super-high-end apartments, I called the claims manager from Chubb. I told him that this loss was severe and they have many policyholders in the building that needed help. Chubb promptly sent me a list of every homeowner with their phone numbers and said reach out to them immediately. Having the endorsement from building management and the carrier allowed us to help 22 out of 25 damaged units.

~Howard White, Executive Vice President Business Development


Communication is Key – Holly Moser!

One instance where I felt my communication skills affected someone positively happens to be my favorite Maxons story because the extreme nature of it made it both very interesting and at the same time completely unforgettable to me.

I was working with a PM who had a “hoarder” clean up. The building had called us in to clean the immense amount of debris out of her apartment because rats were seen around the apartment and also in the common hallways. The PM told me that, despite how hard he tried, she was not very receptive to his cleaning recommendations. She was very resistant and anxious about the idea of a company coming in and cleaning her apartment. However, his instinct told him that if a woman were there with him, maybe the customer would be calmer. Of course there were no guarantees, he just figured it was worth a shot and he suggested I go with him the next time he went there.

When I stepped into the apartment it was a sight that I will never forget. There were narrow pathways to walk throughout the apartment.  The pathways were carved through a variety of personal debris.  I should add here that a strange juxtaposition was that in contrast to the piles and mounds of trash, out in plain sight were dry cleaned clothes hanging up with the plastic sleeves still on them.

I was introduced to the customer and I supported my PM’s recommendations as I talked with her. As I watched her listening to me, I noticed she was calm, relaxed and responded positively to me.  After the appointment, my PM acknowledged this too and thanked me for coming. His instincts ended up being right. The rest of the job went well thankfully. I was glad to have been able to offer that kind of support both with things I communicated to the customer and also with just my presence at the job. It was definitely an unusual situation, and I was able to handle it as if I had done it so many times before.

~Holly Moser, Senior Project Coordinator