Give Your Apartment Website a Human Touch with a 24/7 Contact Center

Image of a Female Contact Center RepIt’s a high-tech, online, on-demand kind of world. We all want to conduct business on our terms, when we want, where we want, and on whatever device we’re using. Apartment renters who demand online self-service features from apartment property websites are no exception.

Multifunctional websites are designed to engage potential renters with stunning images and descriptions of a property’s most attractive amenities and at the same time offer searches for apartments, view real-time pricing and availability, and ultimately lease – even pay – online with little human intervention.

But to paraphrase the Rick Springfield song, apartment renters need the human touch. And if potential renters are unable to connect to somebody with a pulse in a reasonable amount of time, they may become lost leads fast, rendering your fantastic website somewhat moot.

Because leasing is a 24/7 business, the website should be the ultimate contact center with a very personal touch.

The solution: integrating on-demand communication features into your website through a contact center on the back end.

To Catch Leads, Fast Response Counts

We all know the value of having the phones answered in your leasing office (typically associated with a traditional call center), but incorporating the features of a contact center on a website may seem counter intuitive to all the online self-service features.

Doing so allows your website to capture 40 percent more leads and complete more conversions than other traditional industry methods. And once the website generates a lead, being fleet-footed and available is essential, even on the telephone.

According to the Kellogg School of Management, 75 percent of callers hang up before the third ring, and less than half leave voice mails for calls that aren’t answered in-person. Also, 30 percent of leads occur after hours, and 44 percent of prospective renters who call to set an appointment want to do so the same day. Companies that respond to inquiries within the first 30 minutes increase closing ratios by 30 percent.

Here are three call center technologies to ensure that your apartment property website has the human touch:

Use a 24/7 Phone Number

Interestingly, two out of three website inquiries use the phone versus completing a web form. The number one reason a property receives calls are inquiries about real-time unit availability. Having real-time unit availability is great to have on your website. It’s very, very powerful, because properties can capture a lead or begin the online leasing process.

And don’t forget to make your website mobile. Fifty-eight percent of the calls to action on mobile sites are telephone calls through features like click-to-call. A mobile-enabled website can help increase your phone calls.

Enable Live Chat Online

A managed live chat 24/7 enables a property to answer questions quickly and encourage calls. Chatters are highly qualified leads that generate more site visits and better closing ratios than those who email. On average, chatters visit a property 15 percent of the time with a 7 percent close rate. A study shows that 25 percent of those who chat online with a property decide to move in in less than two weeks.

Minimize Unanswered Emails

Emails can be your own worst enemy. According to industry data, 50 percent of emails to a property go unanswered and only five to 10 percent are answered in the first 24 hours. Also, there is a 10 percent decrease in response rate after five minutes. Websites are good for generating email inquiries, but if they’re not answered in a timely manner they become blown opportunities. With a contact center backing you up, all emails generated from your website can be answered in a timely fashion.

For a property owner, the website shouldn’t be just glitter and only a standing reminder of an apartment community’s existence. Today, it can play a critical role in driving and closing leads to keep the property at the highest possible occupancy rate.

Combined with the human touch through call center technology, your property’s website can become a very powerful tool.

 


Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

author photo two

Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

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