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People Skills Still Rule!!!

It is so fun reading the blogs from all the pros, and I am excited to add my two cents worth.  My speciality is, and always has been developing people skills.  It is so great to learn all the ways to get traffic in the door, and to track it accurately...especially loved Toni's pointers.   I stand my ground on this; too many front desk team members, those who answer the phone when all the technology makes it ring, who converse via email with our customers, just haven't been taught, or don't practice good people skills.  Making people like you, quickly, upfront is the answer.  For at least 30 years I have preaching this sermon...and still the customer is treated with nonchalance, or "we are too busy" or some other perceived indifference.  Studies indicate that 68% of our customers "go away, don't buy, don't renew,"  because of the way they are treated by the person they dealt with.  I am sometimes asked why I keep hammering on this....BECAUSE we still aren't doing it!!! So, I'm BAAAACCCKK!!  And I will keep talking about it until common courtesy and interest in the customer becomes the norm.  We spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the technology, we track traffic, we count leases, we get frustrated with low occupancy, not to menton poor NOI...only to neglect, even disrespect, the current resident who is a pain in our rear.  This person pays their rent, and on time, but we just get sick of the complaints, the attitude...forgetting that this customer is our paycheck, just like the easy ones.  Then someone new walks in the door, or emails, or calls...and our behaviors have become such a habit we forget to be nice to them.  Just think on these things...people like us quickly based on:  1.  How we look and how we move...smiling, groomed, energetic would be nice! 2. What we say and how we say it...have product and area and industry knowledge...know the legal documents and be able to pleasantly explain them...communicate with excitement and interest in them 3. They like you based on how they feel in your presence...do they feel important, special, cared for?  Do they feel that you have time for them?  Simple common sense...your Mama probably told you "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar!

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Anne, great post and welcome to MFI! You are so right! I'd like to challenge people to really look at who they are hiring. Are you hiring for experience or are you hiring for personality? More often than not, experience seems to find its way to the top of a resume pile when the right person for the job might not have any experience at all.

It's tough to teach "people skills," and it's tough to change bad habits. It's not as challenging to teach leasing skills, technical skills, and other tasks to do the job. Let's all take more time to hire the right people, and let go of the one's that don't get it.

Mj

  Mark Juleen
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Thanks for sharing, Anne! You are completely right and I wonder if some of the issue is tied back to the amount of training we give for leasing versus the amount we give for customer service. How many times do we send our new leasing consultants to go shop the competitors without doing a few role playing sessions as an angry resident? Also, how is our compensation plan weighted for leasing versus renewing, and how does that affect the implied importance of customer service? Customer service is a basic skill that we can't ignore as we beat the perpetual new lease drum.

  Brent Williams
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I just loved reading your blog - it was like hearing your voice and siting in on a "refresher" seminar!! Keep writing, blogging and sharing - WE NEED YOU Anne!!! You are the BEST!!!!!
BIG HUGS, Deep Love & Respect

Toni Blake

  Toni Blake
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Welcome to the conversation Anne! I enjoyed your post, customer service can make or break a company.

I also agree with Mark's comment regarding hiring the right person. When I hire for a position, personality is a very important factor.

  Charity Zierten

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