How to Create a Life-Long Resident
By Danielle Bauhaus, Sales Coordinator
When looking for a place to call home, residents have a never-ending list of requests; however, depending on how friendly your manager is, the probability that they may settle for your property, increases slightly. The customer experience in the property management vertical can be a pricey one if not treated delicately. According to Roofstock, resident turnover can cost properties as much as $5,000 per vacant unit.
If you’re looking to increase your resident retention (and save a few bucks, give or take), IntelliShop can help. Not only can we provide you with actionable data from your current residents, but we also have some other suggestions to streamline operations.
From Lessor to Resident Experience Expert
Just as in any industry, an exceptional customer experience will drive a higher demand for the services you offer. A higher demand always equals warranted price increases. Shifting focus from just ‘providing a place to live’ to providing a residential experience can be a huge breakthrough for your property management firm. Let’s delve into how to create such an experience for your residents…
Welcome kits are a creative and cost-effective way to display your mission and values to your new tenants. They present a personal touch that instantly makes them feel at home and comfortable. You don’t have to spend an arm and leg; putting together a small packet of information can be extremely beneficial to your residents! Packets should include the following: pool access codes, hours of operation (laundry room, leasing office, etc.), mailbox regulations, quiet time hours, and nearby attractions (grocery stores, restaurants, etc.).
Monthly newsletters are a great way to get your residents involved in the community and aware of upcoming events. If your community creates something like this regularly, we suggest including a few copies from previous months for your new tenants. Another way to utilize the idea of welcome kits is to also include instructions for how to submit online payments and maintenance requests. These documents alone will prove to serve you better in the future and help automate your workflow immensely. Say goodbye to excess paperwork (and save a tree or two).
Celebrate your Tenants
Imagine getting a birthday card from your co-workers… feels good doesn’t it? Don’t you feel appreciated?
You should celebrate your residents the same way you celebrate your friends and staff. Again, it doesn’t have to be elaborate, but sending a simple “Happy Birthday” text or email can go a long way! Showing that you appreciate your residents and their business will impact them and your property management business positively.
Survey your Occupants
It’s crucial to understand, from a resident’s perspective, what the needs and wants are for your property. With an understanding of what your residents want, you can again, justify your price and further market your advantages. Not only can surveying your occupants dual as a win for you, but it also welcomes feedback from your residents. When they feel as though their voices are heard, they are more likely to be understanding when it comes to unexpected (and frustrating) maintenance and rent increases.
Because so many consumers rely on their phones to find and purchase services in an instant, it’s vital to ensure your listings are mobile friendly. Even better, if you can provide online options for applications and other general inquiries, you can gain much more traction with your properties. If you have the means, we also suggest developing an app for your residents; one source, in which they could pay rent, submit maintenance requests and even contact the on-call manager in times of emergencies.
A great argument to combat this suggestion is whether the personal touch is lost by using technology. Even if an app is utilized to fill out a maintenance request, the follow up communication, as well as the on-site visit from the technician, is customer service in the purest form.
Automate your Processes
There are several tools that can be added to your website to help automate your processes, giving you more time to interact with your residents and prospective occupants. By adding a calendar option, linked to your email, you can allow prospects to book their own showings. Not only does this save you time (with the constant back and forth of arranging a time that works for both of you), but this is much simpler for the prospect. Another great tool to add would be a virtual tour option. Similar to Google Maps, many property agencies are adding 3D-virtual tours, that display the unit in its entirety. This alone eliminates many questions that the prospective renters may have beforehand, as they are able to visually experience the unit.
Get Actionable Data
IntelliShop offers a full suite of services to help you understand and serve your residents better. These include mystery shops, resident feedback surveys, onsite inspections/audits, and online forms for you and your staff to use internally. When turning over a unit, you can use an onsite audit to help keep track of repairs and updates. You can share this information with your past and future occupants to justify withholding deposits and prove repairs have been made.
Worried about your employees and the service they provide? No problem! After a maintenance call, email (or text) your tenant a field form to help quickly evaluate the service they received. Using field forms can get you accurate results with greater focus and less cost.
Not sure what to include in your audit or field form? That’s fine! Our experienced client services team can work with you directly to help develop the ultimate checklist and frame questions to get you the actionable data that will aid in improving your property.
Contact IntelliShop today to learn more about how our customer experience improvement services can help automate your workflow and allow extra time in the day to create personal connections with your residents. An article from Realtor Magazine, was used in part to create this blog post.