The Top 3 Reasons Why Your Residents Will Renew…Or Not

Over the years, there has been a lot of speculation and discussion on the best way to close the back door when it comes to maintaining occupancy at a community. Resident events, perks, incentives and the like were the most common themes. But in recent years, thought leaders have been talking data more than door hangers.

In other words, polls more than parties.

The resulting shift in focus has been astounding as more residents are asking for, and receiving, better and more personalized service! To keep that ball rolling, here is the latest “Big Data” when it comes to getting those leases renewed:

In 2012, SatisFacts published the ebook “Getting Inside the Head of the Online Renter,” which revealed that the top three factors that influence a renewal decision are:

  1. Quality of maintenance services
  2. Safety and security
  3. Quality of customer service provided by office staff

Quality of Maintenance Services

Service requests are a team effort. Most properties still receive the majority of service requests via a phone call or a resident stopping by the office. When this is the case, the office team has a great opportunity to set the maintenance team up for success by ensuring everyone on the entire team knows:

  • The most common service requests in the community
  • The 5 key questions to ask for each of these common service issues
  • How to verbally walk a resident through the most common troubleshooting tips (finding and hitting the reset button on an outlet, the garbage disposal, etc.)
  • The importance of inputting every service request into the work order system immediately

Safety and Security

There are several areas that can positively impact a community’s sense of safety and security.

Final inspection pre-move-in

Part of providing a safe and secure environment often boils down to ensuring that the things that are in place actually function properly. This begins with the final walk through before a unit is handed over as move-in ready and checking that all windows and doors can be secured properly and the locks function as they should.

Communication

Establishing a good relationship with the local law enforcement is essential, and having that chain of communication allows property teams to keep residents informed of current threats, tips and resources. Let residents know if there has been a string of car break-ins, reports of a peeping Tom, or vandalism of the fitness room. Provide recommendations on how to minimize their own risk or ask for their assistance in identifying potential suspects. Sometimes it feels safer to keep that kind of news quiet with the goal of minimizing fear or panic, but this decision can come with huge liability. What if a “harmless peeping Tom” incident escalates into a break-in, kidnapping or worse? Knowledge (and communication) is power.

Grounds maintenance

A well-lit community is a safer community. Don’t neglect conducting monthly light walks after dark to ensure all lights are working properly. Take note of areas that are not well lit but should be. Work with the landscaping team to ensure pathways have an unobstructed and clear line of sight.

Quality of Customer Service Provided by Office Staff

Everyone likes to feel appreciated, so when it comes to resident interactions all the little things matter. Know the residents’ names. Greet them with a smile. Follow up and follow through on questions and issues. Find the “yes” in their request, even if it’s a small yes. “I’m not able to replace your cabinets, however I can have John give them a tune up to ensure all doors are hanging properly, the pulls are properly secured and the drawers open and close easily.”

In our reality of limited time, resources, and staff, it’s important to focus on those areas that have the greatest positive impact on your residents. Once again, the data has proven that the best investment you can make is in your own staff and ensuring they have the resources and training they need to perform their jobs to the highest standard, which will give your residents every reason to renew.

 


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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