Big Data Processes: Customer Analytics and Resident Retention

Unless you’ve had your head buried in traditional “marketing sand” so to speak, you know there’s a major push recently toward the concept and impact of business intelligence. What do you do after you make the sale? How do your customers perceive your product, and what are you doing to ensure their ongoing patronage? Are your residents likely to renew their lease at the end of their term?

Big Data is the term for the collective information about your customers – their purchasing behavior, feedback, interactions, transactions, etc. For many, understanding Big Data processes can be an overwhelming and difficult to manage process.  Companies need a solution that can capture, store, easily search, and analyze this information – ultimately giving them a holistic picture from which to work for attaining product and service solutions. Understanding what is making an impression on your residents – good or bad – can help ensure a higher lease renewal rate at your apartment community.

Customer analytics is not a new proposition – chain grocery stores instituted ‘loyalty card’ programs years ago and have been mailing coupons for identical and competing brand items to consumers based on purchase history.  Stores like Target and Sears in addition to other big name brands are tracking customer purchase patterns and analyzing the information to provide personalized recommendations and savings for their customers – not based solely on identical items purchased but rather also on seemingly unrelated products and services that have proven correlations to similar customer group needs.

Apartment communities and multifamily management companies have allied with local businesses to provide discounted services for residents and instituted loyalty programs of their own with perks for residents who choose to renew their lease. But these types of customer loyalty programs aren’t the entire solution to increasing resident retention.

Amazon.com utilizes a recommendation system for users, which is – in very oversimplified terms – based on typical consumer behavior by other users who looked at or purchased the identical item you’ve viewed or bought.  The mathematical and computational programming that goes into boxed products that deliver analytic solutions is extremely complicated but produces effectively targeted results. Big Data collection and utilization has taken on such an important role in business because it benefits not only the business but also the customer.

What if your Big Data processes determine most of your apartment rental prospects are finding you on a particular website? You can not only devote marketing spend to that source but you are making it easier for those customers to do business with you because you are putting relevant information in front of them right where they first look.  It saves them time and effort, which leads them to believe this is an indicator of what their overall customer experience with you will be like!

The percentage of companies using big data processes to understand customer experiences and expectations is expected to increase overall by 40% by 2015. But data analytics historically has only been undertaken by the largest corporations and once was a hit-and-miss and time-consuming process. Not to mention the uselessness of data that just sits idly in storage after it’s been collected, much like what happens with traditional resident or customer satisfaction survey results.

Companies in the past were merely looking at what had transpired rather than examining improvements that could be made to change the results they were getting. You cannot stop there!

To make a true impact in lead conversion, resident retention, and overall profit margins, you cannot merely collect data; you must in turn find meaning in it. Once you’ve interpreted the data, then you can make informed choices about actions in your business model that can drive growth and profitability.

Steps to take once you’ve collected your big data:

  • Summarize the data
  • List facts discovered in the data
  • Determine common themes
  • Define the impact of any recurring concerns on purchase and repurchase decisions
  • Brainstorm ideas for corrective action

Selecting a product or provider to aid you with collection and analysis of customer purchase and customer experience patterns is the most viable option for many companies. It allows you to focus on day to day operations and by completing all these steps for you, allows you to get on the fast track to effective solutions to drive sales, lease renewals, and resident retention.

Article Provided by Ellis Partners in Management Solutions, a partner in the journey to discover the voice of the customer through an integrated program of mystery shops, resident surveys, and social media sentiment.

 

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