Resident Retention – Taking Your Residents’ Temperature
You have heard this repeated in sales training time after time – but it’s true!
‘It’s easier and less expensive to keep the customers you have than to acquire new ones.’
In fact it costs 5 times as much to acquire a new customer! This principle also applies to resident satisfaction and techniques to keep your current residents at your apartment community. Simply considering make-ready and vacancy costs of approximately $4000 on average for every unit you have to turn over, it’s easy to see why it is important to ensure your current resident stays in the home instead of having to look for a new one to fill the space.
In the current economic landscape, many owners and management companies are increasing their focus on resident retention, and what it takes to boost their residents’ loyalty to improve the likelihood that they will remain a resident once their lease term is up. A simple increase of 1% in your resident retention rates can mean thousands of dollars over time just at the property level. Essential to ensuring your residents remain at your apartment community is to determine their level of ‘resident satisfaction,’ and what is impacting their opinion and ultimately their leasing decision when it comes time to renew.
Try one or more of these methods to reach out to your residents and see how things are going!
- Engage with your residents whenever they visit the office or you see them on property
- Check out what residents are saying about you through social media outlets like Facebook or an apartment rating or other websites
- Survey your residents at essential touch-points during their lease, such as after they move in, after you complete a service request, and when their lease renewal is approaching
You can gain some valuable feedback when you ask and listen. The level of satisfaction with their home is dependent on whether it is meeting their needs – creating value in their perspective. Every service and amenity you provide takes on a unique level of importance to each resident – the only way you can find out what’s important to them is to understand and get feedback. This should be your first objective in understanding how to deploy your resident retention strategies. Resident insights might surprise you!
“The only way you can find out what’s important to them is to understand and get feedback.”
However, acting on specific feedback takes time to implement. While drilling down to what exactly is having the greatest impact on the leasing decisions of the residents at your community is the most effective path to increasing resident retention.
Resident appreciation ideas that can put a smile on your resident’s face.
- Place a “Welcome” card in each new resident’s home on move-in day
- Leave a “Just Popped In” note and popcorn treat bag in their home after service is completed
- Offer perks – negotiate local retailer discounts, offer reserved parking for long term residents, etc.
- Stay connected with fun and informative monthly newsletters
- Give personal recognition, like a quick note or small gift on a resident’s birthday
- Create community events – parties, organized outings, or even a community ‘yard sale’
While residents move away for a number of reasons, some of them beyond your control, you can tremendously impact your resident retention with how you treat your residents. As much as 2/3 of resident turnover is within our power to affect. Communicating effectively, responding timely, properly maintaining their apartment and the community they want to proudly call “home’… all of these help create an attractive lifestyle environment for your residents as a whole.
So if you’re not already, start taking your residents’ “temperature”! Learn what they value most – what is working and what might not be – and strive to provide the lifestyle they will stay for and recommend you to others because of. ASK, LISTEN and ACT!
Resident surveys offer a path to learning more about what your residents needs are and should be at the top of your to do list.. Please see our guide to improving resident retention for supplementary details.