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Protecting Your Portfolio – and Serving Customers – Now and in the Future

Protecting Your Portfolio – and Serving Customers – Now and in the Future
With 2020 firmly behind us, apartment owners and operators have reasons to be optimistic about the road ahead.  To cite just one example, consumers by and large are maintaining healthy credit profiles. The pandemic has undeniably presented major economic challenges for many, but the average credit score in the U.S. increased by 1% (seven points) in 2020, according to Experian. This statistic suggests that many consumers could be well positioned to sign new leases and renew their current ones as 2021 unfolds. And as apartment owners and operators prepare for the recovering economy, it’s critical that they have access to data and tools to navigate the market intelligently, while mitigating as much risk as possible. "Future-Proofing Your Rental Playbook" outlines several ways apartment companies can strike the right balance between meeting the current and future needs of prospective residents while also protecting their portfolios.  The e-book recommends operators take the following three steps as soon as possible:  Implement tools that will allow prospective residents to have a fully digital leasing experience. During the pandemic, prospects undoubtedly grew fond of being able to navigate the leasing process from their homes. Accordingly, apartment owners and managers should think of these capabilities as long-term investments and always seek sensible ways to reduce friction in the leasing process.  Use technologies that reduce risk and prevent fraud. Emerging from the difficulties of the past year, operators understandably will be laser-focused on processes and procedures that build and maintain occupancy rates and mitigate the chance for financial losses.  U......
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Is excellence your enemy? 4 things a leader must do.


Push, push, push...there is a constant push for excellence. It can feel like a hamster running in the wheel. As a leader it is vital that we pause, shake it off and get a solid footing before moving on.


Have you forgotten how important it is to include the basics in your daily routine? If you do these 4 things you will see a spark in your team that makes them unstoppable!

Tune in to hear what 4 things you can do to activate your team's engagement.

I love helping a team become (more) excellent and their leader exceptional. My holistic approach promotes teamwork, celebrates success and equips participants to excel. Let's do this - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

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Don't Put Too Much Stock in Your Net Promoter Score

Don't Put Too Much Stock in Your Net Promoter Score
As many who work in multifamily real estate know well, a Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a popular method of measuring customer satisfaction.  But, as we will discuss here, it has significant limitations, from how it was conceived to what it truly measures, all of which should give landlords and managers pause about how it is used to guide property operations and marketing.  A brief primer on NPS: the NPS of an apartment community represents the percentage of renters surveyed who are likely to recommend that community to family or friends by rating it a 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. Those respondents are the community’s “promoters”. Scores of 7 or 8 are considered “passive” or neutral, and scores of 6 and below are considered to be “detractors”.    NPS is used in various industries, and within multifamily it’s used to measure and manage renter satisfaction, reputation, and can even be tied to on-site employee compensation and bonuses.       The creation of NPS is credited to Frederick Reichheld, with its first public introduction in an article he wrote for the December 2003 issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR).  NPS gained particular popularity within the multifamily industry around the mid-2010s, as customer service best-practices from other sectors began crossing over into real estate management.    According to Reichheld’s 2003 HBR article, the spark for NPS came from a meeting of CEOs of major companies during which they discussed their strategies and methods for creating customer loyalty.  The CEO of Enterprise Rent-A-Car announ......
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4 Benefits of Mobile Apps for Property Management Teams

Of the 2.7 billion smartphone users and additional 1.35 billion tablet users worldwide, people are spending 90% of their time on apps rather than web-browsers. By offering employees access to their property management software from a mobile app creates, companies are providing a platform that is more adaptable to both their job and lifestyle. Apps available on smart devices provide additional efficiencies to users and can also facilitate a new and improved standard of productivity. Portability Mobile apps extend property management software beyond the office so staff can access the same functionality easily on the road and on site from an optimized interface and platform. Mobile apps can be accessed on both smartphones and tablets which allows users to choose the device they prefer for the task they are completing or even switch between multiple devices seamlessly throughout the day. Responsiveness If property managers are outside the office and unexpectedly find themselves needing access to their property management system, whether it’s to look up information like a contact phone number, workorder status, or even document an incident, they can do so quickly using their mobile device without the delay of travelling back to head office or interrupting other team members with phone calls. Mobile access allows property managers to easily react to situations they don’t expect without lugging around a laptop or being confined to a desktop. Instead of making manual notes or recording information on a separate app, property managers can promptly complete a full task from any device they have on hand. Additional Features Mobile app......
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This Nitro Coffee Better Be Good!

This Nitro Coffee Better Be Good!
Have you heard of nitro brew iced coffee? Apparently it’s a “thing” right now, which has taken the coffee world by storm. What is nitro brew coffee? It’s basically a cold-brewed coffee, infused with nitrogen bubbles, and poured “on tap” like beer.  I discovered nitro brew randomly on a day when I really wanted an iced coffee while waiting for my flight. Unfortunately the barista told me they were out of regular iced coffee, but had their “Nitro Brew” available. I had no idea what nitro brew meant, but if it meant iced coffee, I was in. I was a little taken aback because the nitro brew cost more than regular iced coffee and I am normally pretty frugal (cheap) with coffee. When I received my order the cup looked even smaller than I expected and I started to feel that this was going to be a gigantic rip-off. You know, “nitro brew” being fancy marketing speak that justifies the added expense over regular iced coffee. But when I took my first sip I was pleasantly surprised. It was very good. It had a smooth texture and was not as acidic as most coffees. I really enjoyed it. A few days later I visited another coffee shop that had nitro brew coffee, so I ordered it again (still feeling the pain of the greater expense!) and it was, again, very good. Higher Expectations When the price is higher the demand is higher and you need to deliver. All of the fancy marketing buzz words don’t matter ......
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Here’s A Really Bad Idea: Sue Customers Who Write Negative Reviews About Your Company

Whether you’re an executive at a large real estate investment trust (REIT), a local community manager or a single owner of a multifamily apartment community, it hurts when a resident goes on a tirade about your community. It hurts so bad that you often want to ask the review site to remove the review immediately even though it doesn’t violate the site's terms of service. And for some companies, it hurts so bad that they file libel lawsuits against reviewers, according to a recent article in USA Today. But is it a good idea to file a lawsuit against your own residents? More than half of states say, “no” and have enacted laws against these types of lawsuits. Yet, some still allow the practice, and some companies are actually filing suits against their customers. Regardless of whether state laws allow you to file suit against a resident for a negative review, there are three big public relations reasons why this is a bad idea: Lost TrustOnce prospective and existing residents get wind of the practice, you’ll lose their trust. It’s difficult enough to maintain trust even when you provide excellent customer service, have the newest amenities and reside in the best neighborhood in town. The moment you try to shut down the free speech of your residents or prospects is the moment the tide turns and the people who pay rent and never complain stop trusting you. Lost trust at an apartment community means angry residents, broken leases and lost revenue. Prosp......
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One of "Those Days"

There are people I get to meet in this industry of ours that have such an impact; they shape how I look at things or make decisions. The opportunity to meet such people make up the the little surprises that make me feel so grateful for what I get to do for a living. One such person is Danette Kammeyer, a community manager in Indiana. I connected with her at NAA Apartmentalize a few years ago, and she has been kind enough to send me some of her writings during that time. As many in her position know, managing a senior apartment building in small town, mid-America is hardly glamorous. Benefits and pay can be modest, and the only travel can seem to be to the nursing home or funeral home. The work can be overwhelming, with a variety of challenges. However, Danette and so many community managers across the nation see their work as a blessing and a gift and wouldn't want it any other way. With her permission, I've published her past work on the ManagInc blog page, but when she sent this to me recently, I asked if I could publish it for a larger audience, and I'm so happy she said yes.  This is what is so beautiful about the multifamily housing industry. It's the people like Danette who make our world a better place and teach others (like me) what "Good" looks like.    One of “those days” It had been one of “those days.” You know th......
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Your Maintenance Staff's Impact on Renter Retention

When you're looking for or training a maintenance technician for your multifamily property, you're probably only focused on his or her core skills, and that's only natural. However, in the customer-centric environment of today, repair experience and an HVAC certification are just a part of the puzzle. Modern residents don't just want their faucet repaired quickly; they also want someone who is positive and friendly while doing so. If they don't get that, they may very well find somewhere else to live. Your maintenance team is also becoming an important interaction point with your renters. As more and more tasks like paying rent become automated, your residents are interacting with your leasing team less. This means more customer service and lease renewal influence is put onto your maintenance team, the very members of your staff who are the most likely to be left out of the customer training you offer. Fortunately, it's not too late to bring your maintenance into the customer service fold. Take a closer look at the following ways you can help prepare your maintenance team to build more meaningful relationships with your residents. Look for technicians who fit your culture Getting the right people on board is the first step toward building a quality maintenance team. Don't just look at how well the applicant can handle the nuts and bolts of the job. Consider exactly how this person will fit in with and adopt your company's fundamentals and culture. You want someone who is skilled and experienced......
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Your Residents Care More About Their Apartment Than You Do, and That Could be a Recipe for a Bad Customer Service

We often pride ourselves on how much blood, sweat, and tears we put into our jobs, doing our very best to create the best environment for our residents and prospects moving in.  And usually, more often than not, things flow smoothly without a hitch.  But sometimes something does go wrong, and when it does, one of the key elements to the resolution is whether the team can match how much the resident cares about the situation. Let me illustrate:  I remember when I first started learning to drive, a white-knuckled experience where I was hyper focused on the task at hand.  Fast forward many years, and you'll find people who often take a lackadaisical approach to driving - they text while they drive, they daydream, they even read through their Facebook feed.  They have essentially become so experienced, or at least they think they have, that the job of driving has become "old hat" to them, and they may not take the job as seriously as they should. This can also happen when working at an apartment community, no matter how much we care about our job.  We deal with hundreds of move-ins, service requests, minor emergencies, major emergencies, and who knows what else just to keep the community up and running.  When one deals with issues that many times, each new issue just doesn't seem as big of a deal as it might have when we were a green leasing consultant.  But compare that to our residents.  They have exactly......
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Creating Emotional Brand Connections, Through Stellar Customer Service

I am a huge promoter of technology and innovation; they make life better, faster and more efficient however, it’s vital not to underestimate the need for balance between innovation and a personal connection. For instance, last weekend my daughter had us drive an hour to have breakfast down the shore. While the food is undeniably tasty and the vibe quirky and fun, the real draw is the way they make you feel; the way that they know your name, chat with you at your table, bring you coffee while you wait in line, and make you feel like you are the most important person that walked through the doorway that morning. They have irrefutably created an emotional brand connection through their personal touch and stellar customer service, validated by the parade of loyal customers that line out the door waiting for their turn to share in the experience.  Creating a positive, emotional connection with customers will take you further to establishing a long-term relationship than any other strategy you could roll out. Here are 3 ways you can create an emotional brand connection through extraordinary service, and taking a genuine interest in your customer base. 1. Listen. Jot down the nuggets they share about their life. For instance, if you know their son is a little nervous about joining Little League for the first time; ask how he’s doing. Everyone wants to feel they’re important enough to be remembered and that people genuinely care. 2. Court Your Prospects. Selling is a lot l......
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