3 Resident Retention Resolutions to Rock 2014

The New Year is days away, and while we have survived the budget process, strategic planning and the company holiday party, for our over-achieving property managers out there, the question that is percolating in the back of their brains is: how do we make 2014 even better?

This past year offered opportunities to push rents, spend a little more on community improvements and training, and really allow teams to do what they do best. But what now? The only thing we can count on to be consistent in our industry is change.

There have been predictions around markets being saturated with new product in the first six months of the upcoming year; there are changes to Craigslist and Google that will impact how we position ourselves online; all of the systems we use on a daily basis are rolling out version 2.0, 5.0, 10.0, or whatever the “0” that comes next in the ever-changing upgrade cycle.

With so much to monitor and manage, how can we possibly find room to take everything to the next level and make the New Year even better? Consider these three New Year’s resolutions for improving resident relations and retention in 2014:

1. Connect with Residents

Our industry is about people helping people, and that’s most likely what drew you to property management in the first place. Take that interest and enthusiasm that you have for meeting new people and re-apply it to the residents and prospects who walk in and out of your community each day. Be interested in them! Invest in their story; know who they are and what’s important to them. Not only will you find their stories interesting and unique, they’ll feel important and valued, and that’s what taking care of people is all about.

2. Respond Quickly

Hurry, hurry, hurry! That mindset surrounds us. No one seems to be willing or able to wait for anything these days. One thing that can instantly elevate you to a shining star in your residents’, prospects’ and colleagues’ eyes is to respond consistently and quickly. Set a goal of returning calls and emails within two hours and watch what happens.

3. Resolve Resident Issues

Most often, property teams hear from residents when there’s a question or a problem. Knowing that enables you to approach interactions from a problem-solving mindset. The more confident you are in your ability to resolve issues, the more confidence residents will have in their choice to continue living in your community.

There is often a misperception that when it comes to resident satisfaction surveys, the highest scoring communities must be the expensive “A” properties with lots of bells and whistles. In actuality, many of the top scoring communities are “B” or even “C” properties that may not have granite counter tops, walk-in closets, or dog-walking services. What they do have is a focus on people each and every day.

Start off your New Year with the basics: Smile. Return phone calls. Find the solution. You’ll be surprised at how effective these low-tech skills can be.

What are your resident retention resolutions for 2014? Share them in the comments below.

 


Senior Vice President of Education and Consulting, SatisFacts Research

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Jen Piccotti, Senior vice President of Education and Consulting at SatisFacts Research, has over a decade of experience in customer loyalty, quality assurance programs and process efficiency, and has worked in the apartment industry since 2000. She heads up special projects for SatisFacts, including satisfaction survey action planning, work-time analyses, special studies, quality assurance, process evaluations, and educational services. Jen holds a Master of Science – Quality Assurance degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

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