Everyone wants to be heard, understood and acknowledged. When you want to put your voice into the room, don't you want others to hear you? And it isn't enough to just be heard. We need people to process our messages and understand them. Understanding actually reinforces our need to be heard. It says "I get what you're saying." But the real pinnacle is to be acknowledged! Acknowledgement doesn't mean you agree with me. Acknowledged means to confirm you have received the information.
This concept is beyond leadership and employee relationship and even behind friends and family. This idea of wanting to be Heard, Understood and Acknowledged goes for residents in multifamily. Specifically when residents are seeking a service request we sometimes view their multiple requests and phone calls as annoying, impatient and rude. What residents are seeking is to be validated. As the saying goes, If we put our feet in their shoes we can begin to understand how they feel. It is not about the actual broken sink, or the dishwasher or a toilet that may not work. Residents want consistent communication regarding their situation.
Amazon is a prime example where they share every step of the way for where your package is. When you order a package, you know when it leaves the warehouse, you know when it's out for delivery, you even know how many stops the driver is making before arriving at your home. And of course you know when it is delivered by the picture of the box that was left. This is transparent and consistent communication at its best.
Now we all know with maintenance teams struggling to find staff and the increased workload for leasing teams, it is extremely difficult to keep each and every resident up to date on their specific work order. On the other hand we do know resident's number two reason for renewing is their maintenance experience which is a direct correlation to resident satisfaction.
What is the answer then?
I recently polled our industry with the question below. It was not surprising that the top two most selected in the poll were both along the lines of communication. Overall residents want to be heard and property management teams also believe enhanced support and communication would lead to operational efficiency and resident satisfaction.
We must think beyond the years old approach of having a call center. A call center is not real time maintenance support. A resident is not getting support when they have to leave a message or relay their message more than once. Residents want someone on the phone who has years of specific multifamily experience who understands their request and can help solve their issue in real time. Residents want the options to be able to solve their request right there in the moment all while being heard, acknowledging that it is probably an inconvenience. The resident also understands that if someone needs to come to their home, that won't be a problem, but understanding that someone was available to feel their frustration with them, and hear them out is important.
You may be asking how can real time maintenance support improve operational efficiency? Since the real-time maintenance technicians have years of multifamily experience, they understand what information is needed to improve the efficiency for onsite technicians. Enriching the service ticket, maintenance technicians to know exactly the issue and what tools and solutions are needed to fix the residents requests creates a more efficient operation for an already busy onsite team.
Resident satisfaction is one of the key components to resident renewals. Our industry must focus on the resident, how can communication be improved, personalized and allow the resident to feel they are apart and are valued.