Great customer service retains customer and keeps them coming back, so work to make this your focus. Below are tips to help bring retention to the forefront.
Tip #1 Quality is More Important Than Speed
Instead of focusing on how quickly you can turn around a maintenance request or phone call, choose to focus on quality. The customer will remember the quality more than simply the speed of service. Pay attention to your response communication as well. Take a step back before responding to an email or phone call. This will allow you to give more thoughtful and proactive response.
Tip #2 Get to Know Each Resident
Get to know your residents like you would a friend. Doing this will allow you to get to know each person and customize your response to each one. The process does not need to be complicated or anything over the top; just let it happen naturally as you choose to interact with the residents on a much deeper level.
Tip #3 Use Their Preferred Communication Platform
Always try to use your resident’s preferred method of communication. Email is not the only way to communicate with your residents or potential residents. Consider live chat or responding to Facebook messages as well. Make sure your service platform is robust and complete. Residents want to be able to log in and find out any information they need, such as when their lease is expiring, the status of their service requests and other important information.
Tip #4 Discover the Root Cause After You Solve the Immediate Problem
Focus on solving the problem for the entire resident base, not just that one resident. This will allow you to get to the root cause of the problem. Again, this is extremely important for resident retention.
Tip #5 Make it Personal
Although you may feel all your residents seem similar, work to make them feel special and unique. Take some time to learn their interests and possibly a nickname. When you personalize their experience, you are truly selling to them each and every day. Remember, they are choosing to live with you every single month they pay their rent.
Tip #6 Retention is a Company Wide Effort
From the maintenance team to the IT department, everyone should realize they are involved in resident retention. For example, communicate with IT to determine how you can create a platform that goes beyond what is comfortable for the staff to use but also works to meet your residents’ needs. Work with the training department to make sure all staff is trained and understands how to interact with the residents properly.
Tip #7 The Power of Reciprocity
Learn to harness the power of give and take. This provides the ability to create an environment of positive response. For example, if you are on Twitter and someone tags your apartment or leasing staff in a positive comment, this makes you want to respond positively. “Surprise and delight” your residents. If you see a resident who walks their dog every day, consider giving them a new dog leash or having a cup of coffee waiting for them. This will surely surprise and delight your resident. These little gestures create a positive experience between your residents, the staff and the community.
Tip #8 Consistently Meet Expectations
Loyalty is truly built by consistently meeting expectations. The ‘surprise and delight’ strategy is in place to support consistency in meeting your resident’s expectations, not replace it. Prioritize creating a consistent positive environment and your residents will notice.
Tip #9 Play to the Ego
Remember to make it all about them. Take some time to identify your ideal residents. Learn everything you can about them, including their likes and dislikes. Choose to create your branding around these ideal residents. This goes from your logo, to pictures on your website, all the way down to the colors you choose as a part of your brand. Overall, be open with what your company and community stands for. Share it in a very humble way as it is important for your demographics and creates a sense of loyalty within your resident community.