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Don't Forget The "In-Betweens"

I once knew a resident named Mrs. Marshall*.  She was the type of resident we all should be so lucky to have.  Mrs. Marshall acknowledged every birthday of everyone working in the office, attended all of our resident events, and was simply a joy to have in the community.  Not to mention, she also made us the most amazing rum-soaked walnuts at Christmastime.

 

I also remember Mrs. Kensington*.  She was the one who always sent letters to our corporate office criticizing our performance, deliberately took up two parking spaces for her car and failed to pick up after her precious Shih Tzu.  In addition, she rarely paid her rent on time and always expected and demanded that her late fees be waived.

 

Why is it that we always remember the extremes?  You know…either the really pleasant or the really not so pleasant residents?  Ask any property management professional to recall their most favorite and most difficult residents and they will answer without hesitation.  Harder to recall in most instances, are those that are only seen at move-in and move out.  They are the residents who usually put their rent checks in the drop box or pay online.  They also request service in a one minute phone call or a short and sweet email.  These are the residents I like to refer to as the “In-Betweens”.

 

The In-Betweens make up the bulk of our resident base, yet are seldom seen as the value-added commodities they are.  These residents, if targeted wisely, can prove to be a wonderful resource when it comes to generating traffic and retaining residents.  Imagine receiving a hand-written card or being tagged on Facebook for 6 months of consecutive on-time rent payments. 

 

In an earlier blog entitled “Your Residents Don’t Deserve Customer Service” I wrote about customer astonishment.  The premise is simple; doing something completely unexpected for your residents that in turn makes you and your community memorable.  From the date a resident moves in, we have 274 opportunities to keep them or lose them.  At day 275, that resident will receive their 90-day renewal notice.  For the most part, we know how the extremes will decide…but what about the In-Betweens?  Have we done enough to secure another 365 days from them?

 

What are some of the ways that you address, acknowledge and recognize the In-Betweens at your communities? 
*names have been changed

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I absolutely agree with this! Great post!!!! When I was teaching (art), my philosophy then (and now) is there are those students who demand your attention, there are those high achievers who can take care of themselves and demand you challenge them but MOST of the students are the middle-of-roaders. Who tries to stimulate them? I love trying to think of ways to make those people feel appreciated and special. Thank you for reminding everyone there are more than the type of resident in our communities.

  Mindy Sharp
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks Mindy for the great comments! As a former student who always in the "curve" of the bell curve, I totally get your example. I would be interested to know what some of the communities are doing out there for their "In-Between" residents.

  Lia Nichole Smith
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Lia, what I like to do is write notes (handwritten) to those Residents and mail them. I read somewhere when I was new to this business that if you take the time each month to write a personal note to six people (or whatever number works for that particular property) telling them how much you appreciate them and comment on some interest of theirs it will go a long way to creating a relationship. (Kind of like "love notes" do when you are dating!)I encourage all managers and leasing team members to do this at their sites as well. And even if you never hear back from someone, it doesn't mean you have not impacted them.

  Mindy Sharp
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Mindy, I love the idea of a handwritten note. And even if the resident does not respond immediately, they'll remember the gesture come renewal time.

  Lia Nichole Smith
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Love it love it love it! Fantastic reminders Lia of keeping our eyes open to all things that take place and embrace the moment. Excellent post!

  Jonathan Saar
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Thanks Jonathan for the feedback. I know there are probably many of us out there who do think of the In-Betweeners but a little reminder couldn't hurt.

  Lia Nichole Smith

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