"To have a good relationship you've got to have communication"
Delivering customer service with a smile comes naturally for Randy Daffy, the caretaker of four apartment rental buildings in Medicine Hat managed by Avenue Living Communities.
Daffy grew up on a farm and ranch in the Medicine Hat area, raising cattle and growing wheat. He farmed in his early adult years until it got too expensive to operate. Since then, his career has included framing houses and a renovation at the Clarion.
"I still go back to the farming and where you were brought up," he says when asked about his work philosophy and dealing with people. "To have a good relationship you've got to have communication. No matter where it is - whether it's your neighbours at the farm or in the building - if somebody needs a hand, you go help them. It gets returned tenfold over."
Communication is where Randy shines. The difference he's made for tenants in the five months he's been on the job has been noticeable.
"I know just about all my tenants by name," says Daffy. "When I first took over these buildings, they said they rarely talked to someone. All of a sudden I'm showing up, and showing up again, doing my work. I've got great relationships with these tenants.
"That's what I'm striving to show. The relationship between the caretaker and the tenants of our buildings is important. I've noticed about half the people can't believe the stuff that's getting done because we're there."
Daffy treasures his time talking to tenants, considering conversation an important part of relationship building.
"Once I start talking to them, they're smiling and waving and saying good morning. It gives me a happy workplace, and it's a happy place for the tenants to live."
The four buildings Daffy looks after comprise 62 units, including an underground parking lot in one of the bigger buildings.
Before joining Avenue Living, 62-year-old Daffy was running the maintenance operations in the Clarion Hotel in Medicine Hat for seven years.
"I've been in construction and rebuilding and overhauling buildings just about all my life," says Daffy.
His typical day begins by checking the boilers in the buildings. He has a walk-through list of things to check including lights, fire exits, and making sure the areas both outside and inside the buildings are spotless.
Daffy also makes sure apartments are clean and ready for new tenants when they move in.
"It's the same that I do at any operation where I've worked. But it's great to come to work in these buildings. If I see something that needs to be fixed, it's fixed.
"To walk in and somebody says good morning to you, well isn't that good to hear instead of somebody grumbling that this is not done or that is not done? I like to keep our tenants happy."