Great article Nathan. Couldn't agree more with Blanchard's technique. A lot of junior managers mista...
Cristina Fox
I have lived in Savannah Place for 3 years. It is in Boca Del Mar Boca Raton Florida. It is extremel...
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Technology

- Blog posts tagged in Technology

Posted by on in Property Management
Web surfers like to “click” their mouse almost as much as they like to “click” their television’s remote control.  But, sometimes even web surfers want to talk to a real person.  The problem is what to do if you prefer to shop for an apartment over the internet?  The answer is simple – “click” and call directly from an apartment property website to speak to a real person (or your answering service, if that is the case). How to accomplish this feat has been simplified with the advent of Google Voice, Google’s recent free service offering that has many telecoms shaking in their boots.  Given GV’s potential, is it any wonder that Apple, tethered to AT&T, has been stalling and blocking the Google Voice App for the iPhone, leading to an investigation by the FCC? Currently, Google Voice is a FREE beta service requiring an invite.  However, the wait for a GV invite has recently become as short as a few weeks.  There are two choices for GV users: access the limited services using your existing phone number, or access the full services by selecting a new Google Voice-provided phone number. Here is a way to incorporate Google Voice into your website so that apartment shoppers can “click” and call you to talk to a real person:   1.      Request an invite to the Google Voice beta service.  Go to: https://services.google.com/fb/forms/googlevoiceinvite/ and fill in the form to request an invitation to use Google Voice.  While you are waiting for your...

Posted by on in Property Management
Large apartment property organizations have IT departments that small apartment owners can only dream of.  Recently, I wrote about 10 steps to slow down the apartment turnover “revolving door” through exceptional customer service.  Improving customer service requires being aware of customer service issues. If you use an office answering service that can email voice messages in the MP3 format and have an iPhone, Blackberry or Android cell phone, here’s a way that property management can directly track customer service requests, as they are called in.  Using this system, I can view a text transcript of each customer service call, within about 10 minutes of the call being made.  Then, I can discuss selected customer service calls with the maintenance staff before they begin their work day’s tasks or throughout the day.  Not only does this allow me to keep mental track of anomalous service issues, but it also affords me the opportunity to discuss dealing with specific customer service issues in a quick training mode.  You can set up your own customer service monitoring system with these tools:   1.      Customer service phone number.  We use a dedicated phone number for customer service requests to distinguish text transcription for maintenance from the office calls. 2.      YouMail.com.  YouMail provides a service that allows you to forward outside voice messages in an MP3 format to the YouMail system, which YouMail converts into a text transcript.  There is a free version, but it only provides a few transcriptions per month at a lower quality. ...

Posted by on in Property Management
When I was actively marketing one of my companies that dealt with resident portals, I often was faced with one major dilemma:  Who is the best person to talk to?  My service dealt with resident retention, technology, and training, so often nobody was quite sure who was making the decision on my service.  Was it the IT department?  Was it the marketing director (I say "marketing" director because "resident retention" director is an MIA position)?  Was it someone on the training side of things?    As things progress into 2010 and beyond, it's become abundantly clear that this problem is only going to get worse, and that better coordination between business units will have to a top priority.  Here are a few examples (there are countless others!):   The IT Department and the Marketing Department:  This is the most obvious and needed element to cross-pollination within property management companies.  Although print advertising will never die (in my opinion), more and more marketing and resident retention efforts are going to be performed online.  Your IT department is going to have to become more savvy with marketing, and your marketing directors and on-site teams are going to have to increase their proficiency online.  But it goes beyond just operations - Imagine the brainstorming benefits of bringing these two teams together for planning out new features and programs on your existing website and abroad (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, etc)!   Marketing Department and Legal:  If you thought Fair Housing was scary before, add in...

Posted by on in Property Management
The Internet connects us like no other medium, and social networking sites are a great way to stay in touch and turn connections into business. Here are the top ten opportunities that social networking offers and why you should stay connected in 2010: 1.     Spread a consistent message/image to a large audience about your brand, identity, and products/services 2.     Meet people in your industry, find employees and employers, ask for referrals, and get/give advice 3.     Put a "face" on your business and show your corporate personality 4.     Help build your website's search engine ranking by cross-linking on all sites and optimizing media assets (the more quality links to your site, the better!) 5.     Compliment your existing online and offline presence (Do not replace them) 6.     Provide helpful, relevant information that is useful to the masses 7.       Turn your new and existing customers into repeat customers and fans 8.       Target specific demographics/industries/companies by using proper and consistent keywords/phrases for your audience 9.       Promote your events, promotion and specials to a wider audience 10.   Elevate your customer service to a new, transparent level Here are ForRent.com's Top 10 favorite social networking sites in 2009: 1.     Facebook 2.     MySpace 3.     Twitter 4.     YouTube 5.     LinkedIn 6.     Yahoo! Answers 7.     Flickr 8.     del.icio.us 9.     Digg 10.  Stumbleupon ...

Posted by on in Property Management
Did you know that Mike Whaling, Eric Brown, Duncan Alney, myself, and an occasional guest do a weekly podcast show? Check it out over on the right hand side of my blog or subscribe to it on iTunes.  [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7eP4DqwR4o 425x250]As seen @ Tidbits from The Apartment Nerd ...

Posted by on in Property Management


Augmented reality has made its way into the multi-housing industry. What is augmented reality, you ask? Combine the GPS and camera functions on your cell phone, feed in basic data about the landmarks in your area, and you will have pieced together the main tools needed to create augmented reality. If that still doesn't draw a good visual, just think about the yellow "first down" line in football. It is digitally imposed over the field to give you a better perspective of where first down is.

Augmented reality lets consumers view real-time digital information on top of reality through the camera of their cell phone. Layar, the world's first augmented reality application, is now available to potential renters. Using this innovative app, apartment seekers can view apartments for rent featured on ForRent.com through the camera of their iPhone® 3GS or Google Android mobile phone within a 10-mile radius of where they are standing.

Once the apartment seeker selects the property of their choice, phone and email contact information appears at the bottom of the screen. The Layar application makes it easy for potential renters to find their next apartment. This is beneficial to property managers because it gives real-time information and makes it easier for potential renters to find their listings. Simply point; then click.
The augmented reality application could change the mobile apartment searching process. Need more details? CNN created a great story about this new application here.

Download the Layar app directly from your iPhone 3GS or Google Android phone. To learn more about the ForRent.com augmented reality application, click here.

Posted by on in Property Management
caution(Preface: I hate Beware of Such and Such email forwards I get. As soon as I get one I check out its validity via my trusty friend Google, perhaps you've been acquainted. Ok, now that that's out of the way we can get on with this.) My responsibilities here at Ellipse are pretty broad. Any phone call that come into the office directed towards "a marketing person," "the PR person," "whoever handles your marketing", "your tradeshow coordinator", you get the idea, comes to my desk. Today I received a call from Dana calling from NAA* asking for "the person who coordinates your tradeshows." He was calling to let me know that there had been a few cancelations at The Headquarter hotel for the June NAA Conference in New Orleans. Since we were previous attendees it was a courtesy call to see if we'd like early booking rates at $50 per room/per night less than if we waited until closer to the time to book. He told me since we were exhibiting we'd probably want to have our rooms starting June 23rd (the night before the event) and "you're probably like everyone else who likes to do the tear down on the final day and head home." We discussed how many rooms we'd probably want - I told him we'd had 8 rooms at Brainstorming and I believed it was 6 at the previous NAA in Vegas. He asked me for names for each room letting me know I could change them...

Posted by on in Property Management
too many choicesI learned an interesting statistic this morning, there are more than 18,000 redbox kiosks and new kiosks are currently being installed at a rate of one per hour! My first reaction was "wow, we're in the wrong business!". But, I am of the school of thought that there are lesson to learn from every business. The case study that I read, essentially concluded that no matter what product, or even service, we are offering - we need to give our customers (residents) less choices. As product managers, we have somehow convinced ourselves that our customers both want and need more choices when it comes to our products. This thinking has allowed us to heap on more and more choices for our customers to make: colors, pricing plans, features, etc. However, it just may be the case that the one thing that our customers really don't want is to have to make more decisions in order to buy our products. So, here's my question for you – how many choices do your prospects have in the decision making process? How many floorplans are there to chose from? How many pages on your website give choices other than lease an apartment with us? One of our policies is that every website we build must provide access to decision making information (i.e. physical address, contact info, rental application, etc) with 3 clicks or less. From the home page of a website, a prospect should not have to click more than 3 pages "deep" to...

Posted by on in Property Management
The Dos and Don’ts of Twitter For apartment leasing and new home community sales By Jory Rozner Strosberg, ThePropertyDiva DO Find industry experts, local businesses and local people relevant to your propertyFollow themListen to themLearn from themConverse – Re-tweet interesting tweets, reply often, respond and ask questionsAdd value – Tweet good articles, good ideas and good answersBe transparent and somewhat personalLet us know who is tweeting for your communityKeep your brand message consistent DON’T Don’t try to rent or sell by spamming your twitter stream with your available unitsDon’t use twitter as a billboard to tell us about your specialsDon’t have different people tweeting for your community on different daysDon’t fail to respond to your @mentions or direct messagesDon’t direct message (DM) people with your specials or offerings.  Save that for your opt-in email lists Follow these simple steps and suggestions and you will automatically begin to get followers, learn a lot and increase your brand exposure for your community.  If you don’t, people will unfollow you or  just tune your noise out. Jory Rozner Strosberg is a Chicago Realtor and property marketing consultant.  When you want to boost your sales or rentals and want new, fresh ideas,  contact Jory Rozner Strosberg, ThePropertyDiva at 847.436.4752 or email me.  I specialize in innovated marketing ideas, internet and social media as well as Realtor outreach programs for the multifamily industry. You can also find me on TwitterVisit my website Jory Rozner Strosberg, THEpropertyDiva!   ...

Posted by on in Property Management
Many of the apartment communities that I'm connected to on Facebook are set up as profiles rather than fan pages. The problem is that having a profile for business is against Facebook's terms and conditions.  Lisa Trosien has pointed out that she gets regular calls from apartment communities whose profiles have disappeared because they went against Facebook rules. So all their work, contacts, etc are now down the tubes. Unfortunately, there is no easy converter to change your profile to a fan page. So instead, you have to spread that message to your network and inspire them to become fans. Here is a video that will help you do that.[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRbOiKLoVbY 444x250]  (In the video, I reference the Custom Profile Box.  You can find the app here:   http://apps.facebook.com/profile-box/.  If you are looking for a similar solution for your Fan Page, you can use the FBML app.  Changes to the Facebook Fan Page may impact how this application works, however.)  I am sure there are other great ideas to spread the word - What other suggestions can you all give?...