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Employee Engagement

The latest multifamily research and data regarding the impact of employee engagement on resident retention, online reputation, and revenue growth.

Resident Retention: Low Cost / No Cost Strategies

Watching the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States today, I was struck with the message of hope now-President Obama shared with us.  It wasn’t just philosophy and feel-good jargon. It was a reminder that we’ve been through tough times before, and we have worked through those times with a sense of hope, with hard work, and tenacity.

With that in mind, the purpose of this blog is to provide our hard-working property management professionals with practical tools and strategies that will enable you to hold on to those residents you do have, and even increase your net operating income despite these rough economic times.  

So let’s begin.  It’s a different world than it was 10 or even 5 years ago. Technology continues to evolve by the day, hour, and minute.  The question is not, “What technology do we need?” The question is, “What technology do we have?”

EMAIL.  I would venture to say it’s nearly impossible to find a leasing office that does not have at least one email address. But, do you use it to its full potential? I was speaking at an apartment association lunch club last week, and a leasing professional approached me afterward to give me her card and request a copy of the presentation I had given. She was laughing because she had to write her company email address on her card. That information was not standard issue for her property management company’s business cards.  What??????

In 2006, SatisFacts research was commissioned by the National Multi Housing Council to conduct a resident technology study. When asked, “How do you prefer to communicate with the leasing office?” only about 56% answered, “Email.” In 2008, when asked this question, over 85% of residents answered “Email.” This is more than the responses of, “Phone,” “In-person,” and “Mail” combined.

This trend is not going away. It’s now the norm of conducting business. It’s a very simple way to become easier to do business with.  Do your residents know your email address? If they don’t, they should. Promote it everywhere. Post it in the leasing office. Include it in letters and newsletters. Make it a part of your ‘tour route.’ Print it on your business cards! If residents don’t know about it, it might as well not exist at all. And you know what? When residents use your email address, a great thing happens: you now possess their email address, and you can load it into your property management system for future use. But I’ll save that thought for another day.

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Great blog, Jen. This topic came up a little while back about how even this most basic element was being ignored by too many communities. I still hear from regionals about how they "hope" their communities check email once a day, and my first response is, "Why are they having to check it anyway - why isn't the email program up constantly?" Why not hear that little email ding and handle the request promptly? What type of impression do you think it makes when a prospect gets an email back within minutes rather than hours? The concept of email needs to be rethought across the board.

  Brent Williams

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