Take a moment and think about your favorite residents. These are the people and personalities that remind you how much you love your job. It’s likely that these folks are also the ones that are satisfied and enjoy the sense of community that you have worked so hard to establish.
Satisfied residents are happy residents. An important part of keeping vacancies to a minimum is ensuring your resident experience is outstanding, one that your residents will share with their friends and on social media. Outstanding, memorable resident experiences happen when you intentionally develop positive relationships with every person you encounter.
Here are 5 areas in the resident life cycle where you can positively influence each resident within your community paired with key tips on how to curate unique experiences that every resident wants!
1. Prospect Tour Experience
There is nothing like that feeling of anticipation when looking for a new place to call home. Your first impression with each prospect needs to fuel that anticipation of finding a new home. Engage their emotions by creating a joyful experience. This can be done in many ways, in person or virtually.
Start with refreshing your social media and website. These should be inviting to potential residents, pleasing to look at, and easy to navigate. Offering multiple tour options is a great way to ensure you get in front of a prospect. In-person, self-guided, or virtual tours offer variety to prospects and allows them to pick an option they are most comfortable with. It shows them that you care and want to fit their specific lifestyle. When a potential prospect signs up for a tour, ask them if they prefer to be communicated with via text, email, or phone. This is another simple way to show that you want them to feel comfortable.
Wrap up their in-person visit with a special gift bag that includes all the informational materials they will need to make a decision about their future home. For self-guided tours and virtual tours, send a personalized, friendly follow-up email afterwards with a special thank you note and all the extra information they need.
Finally, give your potential resident a call a day or two after their tour to see if they have any lingering questions or concerns about your property. This initial interaction is what will build trust between you and the prospect, signifying the start of your relationship.
2. Move – In Experience
Move-in day can be so stressful. Your new resident needs assurance and reinforcement that they have made the right choice and need to know that they will be happier here. As the long-term brand relationship that you desire with each resident continues, this is how you can begin to assure long-term happiness.
The first way to make your new resident feel safe and comfortable on move-in day is to ensure their new home has been thoroughly cleaned. Place a door seal on their door to show them that their new apartment is perfectly clean and ready for them to move into. While they are moving things in, stop by with a cold drink or a treat for their pet. This is the perfect opportunity to ask your new resident if there is anything else they need from you at the moment.
After they get settled, drop in and surprise them with a personalized gift basket filled with a few of their favorite things. Showing that you remember small details about their life and what they enjoy will help to turn a stressful day into a happy memory. Another option is to utilize your Centralized Marketing Platform (CMP) to put together a move-in essentials kit or welcome promo kit full of fun swag complete with your property’s branding. Your Smart Store and online purchasing guides give all associates easy access to a tailored catalog of customizable products, and simply guide your staff through the ordering process. This thoughtful gesture will show your resident that they made the best choice for their new home.
3. Random Acts of Kindness
Another way to increase your residents’ happiness and long-term devotion to your community is to intentionally show appreciation and work to immerse them in all that your brand has to offer. Random acts of kindness offer the perfect opportunity to show how much their dedication and support mean to you and the entire community.
Ask heartfelt questions and then actively listen for your next opportunity to show kindness. There are so many fun ways to show kindness and get your community involved. One would be offering virtual classes that your resident can participate in. These can include cooking, cocktail making, art projects, and so much more! Not only will your residents be able to try out a new skill, but they will also be able to meet other residents to form a stronger community.
Nothing brings people together like food! Try hosting a Food Truck Friday once a month that your residents can enjoy or celebrate food holidays, like national ice cream day, to get your residents to come around and mingle with each other. Pop-up coffee or smoothie bars are also a hit, especially for those working from home.
Starting campaigns to celebrate things like Halloween, Pride Month, or pet of the month are also a fun way to get your residents involved. Post fun graphics to social media or host a contest to give away fun swag to get your residents more active online while growing your brand at the same time. These special acts of kindness take time but offer huge benefits in the long-term happiness of your residents. Working with a CMP will help you save time and stay in control of the logistics of managing special campaigns or giveaway promo items.
4. Service Requests
Responding to a resident’s service request is a critical touchpoint in ensuring long-term happiness. Timely response from a polite and efficient maintenance staff can make or break your resident’s long-term relationship with your brand.
The golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated applies and should be practiced by your staff every single day. Your residents should be treated with respect, have a clear explanation of a problem or service, and should feel like your conversations with them have exceeded their expectations. Whether it be a leaky faucet or a clarification on lease details, the timely response from you and your property management maintenance staff can have a tremendous impact on resident retention.
Make sure your residents have an effortless way of submitting a service request. This could be a link in their resident portal or a QR code set up around the property that they can scan and fill out with ease. This initial step will set the tone for the rest of their service request experience. After a request is sent, surprise your residents with an almost immediate response time to their requests. Reinforce that positive interaction with a maintenance “leave-behind” or written note stating that the repair was done while reinforcing your staff’s commitment to outstanding service.
This simple gesture reminds your residents that you do what you say you’re going to do. When repairs aren’t completed on time, leave a $5 gift card to show that you’re aware that you’ve missed the mark. These small gestures can go a long way to securing resident happiness.
How your residents look back at living within your community, positively or negatively, will directly impact their decision to renew their lease. Important moments and events influence your residents’ lasting impressions, so try to instill as many positive moments as possible.
Keep attentiveness and personalization in mind, and consider what token of appreciation would help foster the feeling that the resident had when they first moved in. Consider a renewal reminder that includes an incentive for your resident to renew their lease.
Once they have renewed, be sure to send a personalized handwritten note thanking them for their continued dedication to your community and consider a celebratory gift to reinforce your appreciation. Your CMP will allow you to personalize client appreciation gifts, making the moment even more memorable. Remember to follow-up via email with any details related to their renewal.
Every resident interaction should build on enhancing anticipation, interaction, and luster for each of your residents! Satisfied residents are happy residents, and happy residents mean less vacancies. When you combine your gifts of people, management, and creativity with the help of you CMP, your ability to produce a better resident experience in every area is greatly enhanced. Happy residents also share their positive experience, increasing demand for your properties, limiting vacancies, and generating a robust list of qualified leads.