Acquiring a new customer is great, but retaining one you already have is even better! What is the best way to retain your residents? Start with “Why”.
Begin with a Mission; the “Why”
Establishing a mission, or a “Why”, is about making clear what you stand for as a company. This should be focused around doing well for your residents and the surrounding community. Your customers will feel more of a connection and appreciation of your company when they can connect with your mission.
Don’t worry; your entire marketing strategy does not have to revolve around the mission, but do make sure your branding incorporates components of your mission.
An example of a mission can be in conjunction with your LEED certification. You can make the conversation about the benefits of living in your community because in doing so, they are helping saving water and are contributing to society by not polluting the air. Basically, you can remind your residents that they are collaborating with your company in the greater mission of reducing pollution and water waste.
When you are aware of your “Why”, it gives you the ability to promote your difference with clarity. Your residents will be able to relate it to their bigger reason for why they chose your community as their home.
The best way to do this is to make it easy. This applies to everything! Your residents’ lives are already busy, so take the opportunity to make their lives a little easier.
Accessibility is key, so portals for paying rent and sending service requests should be easy. Another great convenience would be a Sunday package pick-up. The ability for residents to communicate with each other can be another way to provide accessibility.
Start conversations with your residents so you will know what their challenges are and what they need to make their lives easier. The answers to these questions can help you determine the best marketing and retention strategies.
Take the time to create opportunities to have one on one conversations with residents as opposed to only having them complete paper or electronic surveys. Remember, you cannot read emotion without personal contact.
Make it Personal
Create thoughtful responses. This is especially important when there is a major local or national event, such as a hurricane. Focus on providing responses that demonstrate a personal touch to match your community mission and overall resident persona.
Smile; smile when you are answering the phone, writing emails and interacting with residents in person. Being genuinely nice can truly make a big different in your residents’ lives. This will make renewing a lease and remaining a resident at your community an easy decision.
Quality is more important than speed.
This applies not only to your grounds and maintenance staff, but every team within your community staff. Of course, fulfilling both quality and speed is optimum, when possible.
Get to know each resident.
Understand their pain points. Learn what makes them happy. Ask about the names of their pets. These practices will enable you to personalize your communication with each resident.
Use their preferred communication platform.
Ask each resident what their preferred method of communication is before simply giving them one more site to check or log in to. This could be Facebook, email, phone call, or text. Being mindful of your residents’ preference will show that you truly care about making their lives easier.
Discover the root cause after you solve the immediate problem.
Your first priority must be to resolve the immediate problem, but then follow up to determine why it happened. This will make sure the same problem is not happening to other residents.
Remember; make it personal!
Just to reiterate, be sure to get to know your residents on a more personal level and use that information to make them feel seen and acknowledged.
Retention is a company-wide effort.
This means every team within your apartment community should focus on ways they can contribute to retention. From landscaping to the leasing office, everyone can contribute to this ultimate goal!
North of Creative, Founder