Learn Your Customer Experience by Being a Customer


Let’s turn our attention to customer experience for a bit. We all think we know our residents pretty well, right? I mean, we have demographic reports with credit scores, salary info, and marital status, so what else could we possibly want to know about our residents? A lot!

You can’t create a great customer experience by only looking at reports. The reports are helpful, but they don’t tell you about those trigger points or a-ha moments residents and prospects experience. They don’t tell you how you made the resident feel. And by the way, how you make them feel is the first thing the customer will remember.

Have you ever lost a resident and wondered why they left? Sure, they gave you sort of weak, half-truth reason why, but you know there is something else. This happens all the time! I challenge you to step back and put yourself in your residents’ shoes. But do more than think like a customer. Learn your customer experience by being a customer.

Spend some time shopping your sister properties and even your competitors. Turn off your phone and remove any distractions before you begin this exercise, so you can be completely present with the experience.

What are your experiences like? Think about the entire process from A to Z. How was the website? Did your phone call get sent to a call center or the leasing office?  Was the tour too long?  Did you receive a personal follow up from the leasing professional? Take notes about how you felt after each phase of your experience as a customer.  This is the only way to really understand what your customers are encountering.

If you want to take it a step further, live at your community for a few days. This is easier if you have a hospitality suite, but why not set up a temporary home in a vacant apartment?  Spend a few nights living in the unit. That will give you a real taste of the experience.

Moving is not fun and it is expensive. Residents don’t want to have to move, but something motivates them to leave.  You can figure out what that is when you undertake this exercise. Remember, people want to live in places that make them feel good, so it is your job to create an experience that is memorable and enjoyable. That will keep them with you.

Understanding how your customer experience makes a difference will give you a competitive advantage.

Misty Sanford
Social Insight Thought Leader
Renter’s Voice