Working as a multifamily leasing professional involves a multitude of interactions each day in a full spectrum of situations. The unfortunate reality is that some of those situations can be difficult or unpleasant, but you can develop skills to identify and either avoid or effectively address them before they escalate. You can also turn those difficult situations into opportunities to learn how to better serve residents and co-workers. We’ll also discuss best practices to improve team communication and direct reporting of situations in real time. Read More
Why You Should Encourage Your Customers to Complain
When a customer complains, it gives you the opportunity to “make it right” and strengthen customer loyalty. Each customer’s unique personality will dictate how they react to a situation and how they choose to deal with a complaint. Below are five survey results that help to explain how most customers will address complaints.
- 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain. 91% of those customers will simply leave and never come back. – 1st Financial Training Services
- 80% of your customers will vent their anger and frustration to at least 10 people and 20% will vent to 20 additional people. – University of Nottingham
- “When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better.” -Kristin Smaby, “Being Human is Good Business”
- “The lesson for managers is to reply to every customer service comment online, even the proverbial “I’ll never fly your airline again!” A mere acknowledgement of the customer’s problem can defuse initial frustration and put the customer back on the road to loyalty. Instead of the customer seeing the company as the enemy, a sympathetic response can reorient the situation so that the customer now feels that the company is on his or her side.”-“How Customer Service Can Turn Angry Customers Into Loyal Ones” Harvard Business Review 2018
- Customers who have never had a problem with a company are less loyal than those who have had a problem satisfactorily resolved.”-HubSpot
Remember, the more proactive a company is about inquiring into a customer’s experience, the more honest feedback they will receive. The company’s goal should be to listen and address the feedback received.
Five Things to Consider Before You Open Pandora’s Box
- Every Customer is Uniquely Wired
When a customer complains, they want more than one channel of communication to choose from. As of now, most companies offer up to nine channels for customers to use to communicate and that number is expected to increase in coming years. Some examples of channels of communication include text, chat, email and phone.
- You Need the Whole Story
Encourage your customers to provide the entire story, regardless of your title or position in your company. Listen allow them to tell you the complete and honest story. This can only benefit your business and employees.
- Bad News Travels Faster Than Good News
About 84% of adults communicate about a good or bad experience face-to-face while only 35% of adults communicate through social media channels. The more face-to-face interaction you can have with your customers, the better able you will be able to catch them before they reach the point of complaining on social media.
- Their Complaint Will Improve Their Memory
Your customers will not only remember the complaint itself, but the fact that you were able to resolve it. Encouraging your customers to complain will enable them to remember your company as one who is focused on a solution.
- Your Employees Will Be More Focused on the Customer
When you encourage the customers to complain, your employees will naturally become more focused on the customer. Get to know your residents so they will feel comfortable enough to let you know when they have an issue. This will ensure you have the opportunity to resolve it.
Five Steps to Take When Faced with a Complaint
- Let them vent.
Allow your residents the opportunity to vent with you and let them tell you the whole story. Try to not take it personally; they are simply telling you their view of what took place. It can be difficult not to get defensive, especially if they mention your name, so take a deep breath and stay in listening mode.
- Express empathy.
This allows you to have compassion for their situation without necessarily agreeing with them. You can then ask them if they would like to add anything else before you begin to focus on a resolution.
- Seek out a resolution.
Let them know you appreciate hearing from them and assure them you are there to resolve their issue. Then it is your job to begin working towards a resolution.
- Thank the customer for the complaint.
This step is simple – thank the customer for sharing their complaint. Let them know you will be seeking to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
- Follow up with progress.
This shows you are serious about resolving the complaint. Your resident will be more likely to do business with your company again if you resolve their complaint promptly.
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
Encouraging your customers to complain can be your best greatest business asset. Train your employees to have empathy and listen to your residents. It will make a world of difference to your residents and they will be raving fans moving forward.
“An objection is not a rejection; it is simply a request for more information.” – Bo Bennett The prospect is showing their interest by stating their objections to you. This also allows you to get to know your prospect better and uncover the real objection. You will get to the real objections by asking questions and following the steps below. Read More
Winning with people is at the heart of success. Whether or not you can resolve the angry resident’s issue the way they have asked or by company’s rules, you can leave the situation with trust and respect built on both sides.
Below you will find high level and actionable tips especially when you are in the heat of the moment with an angry resident. Read More
Difficult residents seem to come with the territory of running an apartment community, yet not many people talk about how to approach and create success with them. EPMS knows there are effective tools to help you listen to customers, respond to their feedback, and enhance the overall customer experience and we are eager to share them with you.
The goal is to understand feedback through the eyes of your customers and to manage their expectations, especially online. It is easier and more satisfying for a resident to post a “bad” review than a good review. Let’s change that today by focusing on these areas:
Feedback stings because there’s always a little but of truth in it. It might only reveal how others perceive us, but it is still their truth. With every truth, we have an opportunity to learn and improve and even turn an unhappy resident into a happy one.
The real trick to turning a negative into a positive is in how you respond. We have to stop and listen as this gives us an opportunity to understand the emotion while also composing ourselves and pushing away the instinct to become defensive. Read More
Having a positive online reputation is essential for any business, especially apartment communities. Prospects, competitors, and customers can easily research your community online to determine if you have a positive or negative reputation and then decide if they want to do business with you before you every have the opportunity to have a conversation. Just one negative resource or comment can deter a prospect.
A positive online reputation will encourage them to pick up the phone or walk in your leasing office. With that being said, investing in reputation management is crucial for your business, and having a 90-Day Reputation Management Plan is a necessity.
In a perfect world, all of your customers are pleased with your community and their experience with your team and services. However, the reality is negative experiences happen and difficult customers exist. No matter how hard you try to prevent it!
You probably already figured this out, but you can’t opt out of an online reputation. We’re learning that companies must take the initiative towards implementing an online reputation management strategy as early as possible. If you are a company that is hiding from the world of online reputation, you might find yourself in a risky situation.
Receiving criticism is your chance to show off a rare skill; your ability to take negative feedback well. Believe me, it’s not easy. It takes years of practice and a lot of self-awareness. But you have an advantage. Because of the nature of our business, you get to practice receiving feedback almost daily. You get real feedback from your real customers all the time. You don’t have to wait for an annual performance review or even a survey. Read More