Why should you reward your residents? Your residents are your advocates. And working with and identifying your advocates is not a ‘nice to have’ marketing plan or effort. It is a must have.
We need to establish a sense of loyalty to our residents, because giving our current residents the right attention and focus is essential to our business. Your advocates are willing to help you for free simply because they are passionate about you, your community, and their customer experience.
This means you need to make relationships your #1 priority. Make it a priority over leases. Putting the relationships first shows your residents and prospects that you have their best interest at heart. Rewarding residents doesn’t need to be expensive or time consuming, because it is really more about your actions and getting to know them.
Here are 5 simple ways to reward your residents:
Write hand written notes frequently
I cannot stress how special handwritten notes are. They mean so much more than a text, email, or facebook message. Get in the habit of writing personal notes frequently. For example, let’s say you see a resident at the local coffee shop. Send them a note saying it was nice to run into them and maybe include a $5 gift card for a cup of coffee. It is as easy and cheap as that.
Reward special occasions
Send your residents birthday cards, anniversary cards, holiday cards, you name it. I know a lot of us have branded cards that get sent out for these occasions, but they often get misused. Having everyone in the office sign their name is not personal and it is not special. It is almost worse than no card. Take a minute to write a personal note.
Don’t assume they know everything
It is sometimes okay to share a humble brag. Chances are you are working hard to make improvements your residents have requested, and they need to know that. If you never mention what you are doing to improve their customer experience, they may never notice it. Those improvements are just one way you are rewarding them. This can be informal communication using newsletters, email blasts, or even blog posts.
Keep it personal with personal visits
Who doesn’t love free lunch or coffee? Reward some of your best residents with lunch delivery. Keep it personal by delivering it yourself and telling them how much you appreciate them. Maybe lunch is out of budget… You can offer to water their plants while they are out of town (make sure they have plants first!). The point is to do something special and personal that is just for them.
Residents rewards = new prospects
Finally, when you have personal conversations with residents, you often find that they have referrals that can lead to new leases. All of your follow up and relationship development is amazing business development. Your residents can do a lot for you, so there is no reason to not stay in contact with them.
What are some of your favorite ways to reward your residents and develop relationships?