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Is that you...2123C??

Is that you…2123 C??

After a couple dozen years in the apartment industry…(yes, I started when I was 2!) I’ve seen many changes.  Pencil logged ledgers have been traded in for debit machines, hand written phone logs have mostly been replaced with savvy systems such as Onesite, Yardi and the likes.  But, one sad trend that seems to still exist and is even perhaps growing, is knowing residents simply by their address and forgetting who they are by name.

Before you start sending emails…this of course is not at EVERY property.  There are exceptions to every observation.   However, I do spend a lot of time on site leasing and training; at everything from A to C properties and this is a very common practice I see regularly.  Especially the first through the fifth of the month – rent time - everyone becomes an address.  What happened?

The courtship of our prospects seems to end once they become residents.  Like dating, in the beginning, it’s all about charming and captivating them, speaking their name over and over to create the relationship. “I can’t wait to tour you at 3:00 Mr. Jones!”  and “Mr. Jones, you will love living at Wonderworld Apartments!”  “Mr. Jones, have a seat while I get you the application!”   The relationship usually progresses with personal thank you notes, follow up calls, emails and ultimately the much anticipated, “Mr. Jones, you’re approved! We have the perfect apartment for you – 2123 C!   When would you like to move in Mr. Jones?”  And last but certainly not least, “Welcome to Wonderworld Apartments Mr. Jones!” 

Shortly thereafter on their monthly visits to pay rent, (you know… the money that pays the salaries) the name seems to fade into a distant memory.  You see them coming and know that resident looks familiar, but what was their name?  Quick!  Look at the check and hope their name is there!  If you’re not the one taking the payment, you ask, “Who was that?? I think I leased to them..!”  “Was that 2123 C?” 

What happened? All the days, weeks, sometimes months of charming them to get the lease is gone!  Now they’re just a number, an address that pays rent.  At a time when people want to be valued more than ever, I encourage you to start dating you residents again.  No, no, no…not in the violating company policy dating way, but keep the spark alive!  Especially the first through the fifth!!  Know their name, remember it and use it.  Ask something about themselves, their dog, their family, their job.  There’s few things more aggravating to a resident than giving their hard earned money to someone who doesn’t even know their name anymore…they’re just 2123 C.

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