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Can Great Service Include Residents Fixing it Themselves?


One of the best benefits you can give a resident is control.  While you may provide phenomenal, quick service, sometimes residents simply prefer to handle an issue themselves.  So giving them control gives them the option of using your fantastic service, or empowering them to handle it on their own!

On Wednesday, Kristi Fickert shared a ton of great ways to use social media to engage with residents and prospects to drive renewals and new leases, and she touched on this great way to get the maintenance team involved by providing residents information on how  to tackle issues in their own apartment!  Take a look:

Kristi also included a tip about showcasing the leasing team, and I'd like to expand on that just a bit.  Not only is this important for when residents first move in (or are considering moving in), but it is also vitally important when a team member leaves!  When a leasing consultant secures that lease, they did it in large part because of the connection they made with the prospect, now resident.  That connection is the tether between the resident and the property, so if that leasing consultant ends up leaving, that relationship is at risk!  By using videos in social media featuring the on-site team, a community can rebuild those connections with the resident and provide more tethers to that resident to secure the future renewal!

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Communicating with Prospective Renters in an Email-light World

In the words of one-hit wonder 10cc, “Communication is the problem to the answer.” We’ve gone from dispatching handwritten letters to typing emails; from exchanging text messages to publicly posting tiny, 10-second videos of ourselves wearing digitally affixed dog ears. More ways than ever to communicate and yet getting our message into the right hands for the right response is more difficult than ever.   Since our communication channels are in constant evolution, marketers are continually  refocusing efforts on reaching both prospective and existing renters – particularly the younger millennials (the group born between 1977 and 1995) and Generation Z’ers (the group born between 1995 and 2014).  These generations are checking their email--if they even have email--less often, and they find it to be an outdated method of communication. In fact, you probably won’t find Gen Z’ers – the world’s first generation of true digital natives – looking anywhere other than at a smartphone.   While millennials have already been yielding significant spending influence within the apartment market, Gen Z’ers are beginning to trickle into the workforce and consumer market. They will be the new renters, and it’s crucial to communicate with them in an authentic, visual and real-time way in order to capture their buying power.   ALTERNATIVES TO EMAIL   Text messages These instantaneous private (or even group) messages have become so deeply ingrained within everyday life that in many cases they are replacing phone and face-to-face conversations altogether. Upwards of 15 million texts are sent every minute of every day worldwide, ......
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Not All Tenant Screening is Created Equally

You can’t always predict who will be a good tenant, but past behavior often indicates future behavior. Whether you’re a landlord, a property manager, or a real estate agent, you should be doing everything in your power to protect yourself from the hassle of dealing with bad tenants and bringing unwanted tenants into your community as they can be can be both time-consuming and financially destructive. Tenant screening can be handled in a few different ways, and one screening process is not always as successful as another. Making your decision solely on price can be a mistake, as many companies bypass certain steps in order to keep prices low. Here are some things you should know before deciding how to handle screening in the future.   Many companies advertise no on-site inspection for their tenant screening; however, you should know that these inspections are required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. While these companies can offer some valuable information about your tenant’s past, they are not providing full credit reports. Instead, these companies access public data to compile an independent score that only partially represents your tenant’s history. These companies tend to offer the cheapest prices, but at the expense of legality and comprehensive information. Many companies require the tenant to initiate the transaction. While this practice isn’t inherently problematic, it can cause certain problems. For one, because it requires tenant initiation, time can become an issue. In this scenario, the property manager loses some of the control. In some instances it also prevents ......
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The All-In-One or Best-of-Breed Dilemma: Which Technology is Best for Multifamily Companies?

The All-In-One or Best-of-Breed Dilemma: Which Technology is Best for Multifamily Companies?
In the property management industry, there is a technology to solve almost every problem.  From paying rent online to managing packages, the industry is bursting with solutions that tackle all the tedious aspects of being a property manager. But first, you have to find the vendor that’s right for your company, and that can be a tough task. The best way to whittle down your choice of vendors is to determine if you want to use an all-in-one or a best-in-breed solution. You may not be sure which one is the best fit for your business, so here are the pros and cons of each. First, let’s take a look at all-in-one solutions. All-in-one providers catering to the property management industry offer a combination of management, investment, marketing, leasing, and resident tools. All-In-One Pros An all-in-one solution can be an easy sell for some property management companies. The idea of a single platform being able to solve multiple challenges at once sounds very appealing, especially if you have limited internal resources. The IT requirements required to use an all-in-one provider may be reduced when a single vendor is used because there are fewer programs to maintain. If your team is not particularly tech savvy, only having to learn one platform can help avoid confusion among users of the software and shorten the learning curve. Plus, users will only need a single login to manage each application. Only having one technology vendor to juggle can be convenient, too. You’ll only have one ve......
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Is Your Multifamily Brand Delivering on the Customer Experience?

What do the world’s most successful modern product and service brands have in common?  What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it advanced technology? A superior or entirely unique product offering? Maybe a new and innovative approach to world peace? Or, is it something more fundamental. . . something more inherently tied to the human factor. . . . perhaps, just perhaps. . . could it be a focus on the customer experience? “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” ~ Jeff Bezos If you’ve even remotely followed customer service trends over the past several years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the growing dominance of the term “customer experience” in business publications, blog posts, and trend analyses. While “customer service” is primarily centered on a single or small series of transactions and customer touchpoints, the “customer experience” encompasses the entire past, present, and future customer interaction from both the physical and the psychological perspectives. In other words, it’s not just about the quality of the products and services consumed along the way, but equally about the customer’s lasting emotional impression from the culmination of the entire relationship and how that impression impacts brand promotion and future business. The major brands have not just driven their own success, they have effectively reshaped the face of business and elevated consumer expectations for all businesses to a whole new level. They have done so not just through pioneerin......
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Multifamily Technology: Are Marketing & Sales Human Anymore?

As we come upon the fall conference season and many panels (and one whole conference) dedicated to technology in multifamily housing, it got me thinking. When I first started working in this industry, it was very clear that we were real estate companies using technology; but now I wonder if we’re becoming technology companies running real estate? Give the importance of buy/sell decisions and the amount of human resources dedicated to operating individual properties, the answer is probably that we’re still the former; but it may not be so clear cut…and the pendulum may swing dramatically over the next decade. Consider the following: When I first started working, every single rental price in the industry was set by a human. Today, almost all of the rental rates for the NMHC Top 50, and the majority of rental rates for institutional grade apartments, are set by computer algorithms Twenty years ago, marketing was a purely creative and human endeavor. Print guides and signage were the dominant channels. Today, most leads come from websites, ILSs, SEO and PPC. Even local drive-by can be heavily influenced by mobile technology. Sales was always a distinctly human endeavor and tracking the process was completely manual. Remember when guest cards were always a physical card? And those green metal recipe boxes were how we tracked leads? Now, the industry is turning to automated CRM systems…and don’t be surprised if computers encroach upon the core sales process as well. (More on that in a moment.) On-site processes are still ......
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Finding a Work/Life Balance

It was the second day of the NAA Educational Conference, I had an urgent email to respond to but first I needed to complete the research to find the answer to the emailed question.  I was sitting at the bar in the convention center and the second breakoff sessions were starting.  I was disappointed I was going to miss the session but duty calls.  The seats on both sides of me are quickly taken by two other attendees that were not going to be able attend this session.  We struck up a conversation as we were setting up our laptops and looking for outlets to make sure we stayed powered up.  We were all working each evening, we were all back logged in emails and no matter how many hours we spent catching up, the next morning we would be back logged again.  Each of us were seeking the organization system that was going to solve our problems.  All of us said we worked for companies that supported and encouraged a “Work Life Balance”.  So why didn’t anyone of us have the work/life balance we wanted?  Why were all of us needing to miss this session to respond to work.  Despite a plethora of apps, corporate initiatives, and advice, it’s never been harder to achieve a work-life balance. According to its latest survey of nearly 9,700 full-time workers, EY, the global assurance, tax, transaction, and advisory services firm, found that one-third of employees report that managing their personal and professional lives has bec......
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Is Traditional Outreach Marketing Dead?

The subject of outreach marketing and the part it plays in common day marketing at the site level, came up in a group discussion during the 2017 NAA Education Conference and Expo.  There were many opinions and all agreed that things have changed. Delivering fliers to your surrounding businesses or taking pens to local businesses.  Are we gaining any leases from the same things that used to work so well to reach qualified prospects for our communities? Has social media, Google advertising and drip campaigns made traditional outreach marketing efforts pointless?  In our current advertising climates and the “Going Green” programs, does it make sense to keep bringing fliers or sending direct mailers any longer?  Digital marketing has taken the marketing industry by storm.  While print marketing still holds power within the industry, it’s the digital marketing trends that are proving to hold precedence.  Per Forbes, “Web Strategies reported that in 2016 the five digital channels that saw large gains were email marketing, social media, online display advertising, mobile marketing and search.’  You’re likely wondering what this year’s growing marketing trends will be.  After all, the internet and all its trends are constantly changing and what was a marketing powerhouse last year could very well be old news this year. Live Video Streaming will take off fully this year.  Facebook and Instagram have already integrated live video capabilities and other platforms are anticipated to follow suit.  Live Video, even when watching a previously recorded version, has the potential to draw in millions of p......
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How to Build a Future-Proof Marketing Technology Stack

Renters rely on internet listing services (ILSs), social media, online reviews, community websites and in-person tours during their search for a new home. In this real-time digital age, multifamily marketers must allocate resources to software and tech tools that can help them manage the entire renter lifecycle, not just the acquisition of leads.   This starts with building a future-proof marketing technology stack.   A Customer Relationship Management System A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is the first, and arguably most important, type of software that apartment communities should implement. A CRM creates a comprehensive database of renter data, including lifestyle, demographic, preference and past rental data.   Managing your customer information with a robust CRM can lead to more targeted and effective marketing campaigns. Targeting based on these insights can help you better resonate with your audience and increase your closing ratios. For example, rather than sending a mass-marketing email about the pet-friendly features of your community to someone who doesn’t own a pet, your team can target only those who have shown interest in pet amenities.   A Marketing Automation System Once you’ve got a centralized CRM in place, you’ll want to integrate it with a marketing automation system.   Marketing automation software is a necessary tool within modern marketing organizations. It provides a centralized way for marketers to manage renter communications for their entire portfolio and across a multitude of online and offline channels. It also tracks online behavioral data. Marketers can use this data as an additional layer......
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Why You Cannot Afford To Run a Property Management Firm Without a Website

Why You Cannot Afford To Run a Property Management Firm Without a Website
$39 billion. That’s the annual revenue of the U.S. property management industry. It sure looks good on paper, but you’d probably be surprised to learn that 30% of this goes to the top 500 firms. So, where do the rest 79,500 firms lie? The bulk of them are stuck at what’s arguably the most critical stage- getting their strategy right.  While property management may not be the simplest business engagement, one thing you’ve got to admit is, it’s not as complicated as manufacturing. Even the smallest firms have fair chances of outdoing large established businesses, thanks to something called the web. According to a report prepared by NAR, 84% of both buyers and renters are heavily using the internet as their first step in their home searching process. If they can’t find your information online, you may be missing out on a huge chunk of potential business. Well, of course there’s the option of riding on a third party website like Facebook, but personal websites have proven to be considerably way more effective. Here’s why: Growing and Managing Your Clients Through CRM and Contact Management Getting tenants is not that simple anymore. With competition persistently growing, property management firms are now leveraging CRM and contact management tools in lead prospecting. And going by recent trends, both prospects and property management firms are happy with the consequent results. According to Nucleus Research, every dollar spent on such tools generates an average return of $8.71- super neat, right? So, here’s the thing- CRM and contact management can only be effec......
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