The Top Secret Apartment Marketing Weapon: Your Maintenance Team

 

Hidden on each of your apartment properties is a secret marketing weapon that can help in your never ending battle to improve resident retention: your maintenance staff.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, duh Michael. Quality and timeliness of maintenance service is a key factor in resident renewals. Don’t you keep up with SatisFacts Research’s data?”

Well, Duh:

Based on a national study entitled, “Getting Inside the Head of the Online Resident,” conducted by SatisFacts Research in 2011, a “sense of community” and “resident events and activities” rated as having low importance when it came to their decision to renew their lease. Basic service expectations, such as quality of maintenance service and quality of customer service had the highest importance.

But I’m not talking about maintenance. I’m talking about marketing.

In addition to your leasing office staff, your maintenance team are also marketing your property.

Let me share with you a recent experience from a stay at Hampton Inn & Suites Memphis-Shady Grove that illustrates my point.

On the morning of my checkout, I’m dragging my suitcase behind me down a hallway when a housekeeper came out of a room. She gave me a big smile.

Housekeeper: Good morning sir, how are you today.

Me: I’m well. How are you?

Housekeeper: I’m fine. Are you leaving us today, sir?

Me: I’m checking out today, yes.

Housekeeper: Oh, did you have a nice stay with us, sir?

Me: Yes I did, thank you.

Housekeeper: I’m so glad. Please come back and see us again.

I looked around expecting to see a manager near by, but we were alone. The employee seemed to genuinely care about my customer experience at the hotel.

Kudos to Hampton Inn management. This is clearly great training on their part, whether it was originated by the local general manager or at the national level. The best conversation with a housekeeper usually involves a robotic hello, how are you. This particular housekeeper’s genuine interest in my experience is an example of how your maintenance staff can market your apartment property.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your maintenance staff greet your residents? If so, is it in a warm and friendly manner?
  • Does the maintenance staff take the time to learn names of residents, family, and pets?
  • Does your maintenance staff ask residents if they are experiencing any problems?
  • Is your maintenance staff empowered to create a service request or, better yet, fix the problem on the spot if time allows?

For my money, I will return to that Hampton Inn if I happen to go back to Memphis. It won’t be because of the eggs served at breakfast (driest eggs outside of powdered) and the balky WiFi service. That two-minute conversation with the housekeeper made a greater and lasting impression on me.

Do you think maintenance staff can be an important part of marketing an apartment property? If so, how have you trained your staff to accomplish this? Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments.

 


Contributor, Property Management Insider

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Michael Cunningham is Content Marketing Manager at ProofHQ, and the former Managing Editor of PropertyManagementInsider.com. He worked as a social media manager for RealPage, Inc., a provider of on-demand software solutions that integrate and streamline single-family and a wide variety of multifamily rental property management business functions. He is responsible for promoting the company through various media channels, including editorial, print and online advertising, and social media. Michael received his education at Indiana University where he majored in English.

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