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5 Tips to Successful Software Adoption for Multifamily

5 Tips to Successful Software Adoption for Multifamily
You're an IT leader at your company responsible for implementing a new software selection that the Executive team is on board with and wants to get rolling, fast. You know that beyond the technical implementation, winning the hearts and minds of your end users is critical to the success of your project. These 5 tips can help you realize your company IT objectives and ensure your staff not only know how to use your software solutions, but want to. 1. Identify the Change Management Team Managing the change around adopting new software is a big job, but not because of the amount of work involved. It is big because new software tools generally reflect a change in goals, focus, and culture. Examples I have seen of this change in my work with multifamily clients is the desire to go paperless in the leasing office, the desire to maximize efficiency around administrative tasks to leasing staff can focus on people, a shift to focus on online presence and helping end users recognize the importance of replying to online ratings and reviews. Change Management is really synonomous with Software Adoption. The best Change Management teams are comprised of an executive sponsor, a project manager, a corporate communications representative, and 1-2 end users who can help champion software adoption. Pulling together a team that spans this many levels and geographies can be challenging, but virtual meetings are generally more than sufficient. The team's charter is to craft a change management plan that will... 2. Define Goals......
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I Now Pronounce You Resident and Apartment

I Now Pronounce You Resident and Apartment
Renting an apartment is not at all like buying the newspaper or a gallon of milk.  There is a deep level of thought, research and investigating to make a decision and to commit to a place for the resident to call home.  In many ways the process can be paralleled to dating and marriage.  Read the following with the perspective from a potential resident’s view. The Search You know it is so hard to find Mr. /Mrs. Right Apartment these days.  I have met many apartments and they all seem kind of the same.  Some look at a little prettier from the outside.  Some have a bit more depth to them with some nice amenities.  There are even some that are really social and outgoing with so much community activity.  I guess I really need to give this some thought and figure out what I really want in an apartment relationship.  Maybe I should ask some friends to see what they think of some of these apartment hunks/hotties. The Review Wow!  Am I ever glad I took some time to ask some of my friends about some of these apartments I am looking into dating.  Some of them have dated these places before and gave me some pretty mixed reviews.  There were a couple of places that my friends told me were way too into themselves.  It was all about them and their rules and their rent and really nothing in return.  Then there were some that were totally reclusive.  You n......
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Apartment Industry and the Social Media Dust Bowl

  Driving to work this morning the dust bowl analogy popped into my head as I reflected on the last few years in this industry.  We all felt it in one way or another.  The question remains though is that has the dust settled for us and can we see our path or process clear enough to move forward? Social media hit us just like the dust bowl.  It kind of came out of nowhere and many of us were very unprepared.  We could not tell night from day.  It made many of our business decisions very hazy and confusing.  There was so much discussion (dust) flying all over the place that it left us searching for anyone or anything that would provide a solution and a process to get through the storm and to focus on our business in general. I do believe the dust is settling.  There are far less Twitter debates.  The blog article versus blog article approach has petered out.  I have not had an apartment community “friend” me in quite some time.  There are far less opinions and a lot more action from my perspective.  It appears that the apartment industry has a solid footing and really understands that we have just been provided tools that are there to facilitate what we all want….a solid business model. So that brings us to the next question.  What’s next?  I was reading an old prediction post I wrote from back in 2010 and it gave me some great perspec......
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Five Steps to Handling Resident Complaints

Five Steps to Handling Resident Complaints
Have you ever heard the statement, “Customer service would be easy if it weren’t for those customers?” Sometimes that is just too true, isn’t it?   After all we know that sometimes residents:   Don’t read their leases Don’t think their leases actually apply to them Cause the problem then get mad at you for the problem Can be unreasonable Can be dishonest And on and on and on and on   The challenge that you face is even if a complaining resident is all of the above, you still have to deal with the situation don’t you? In other words, the fact that a resident may be all of the above doesn’t mean that you can just “DQ” their complaints and brush them off. Well you could try but then you still have ‘Harold’ standing in the middle of the leasing office wondering why he can’t “speak to the manager!”   So what can you do...or what can you encourage your teams to do to manage these situations? After being in contact with thousands of people during my career, both onsite and at corporate, I have isolated five effective things that people can do when someone complains.   Help the customer feel important:   The most important “people-skill” that I believe all of us should learn is how to make other people feel important. If you are able to make an unhappy resident feel important, you will go a long way towards resolving any issues, even before you get to resolving the issue.   I ......
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Guest — Crystal McDaniel
This was great!! It really brings things into perspective. Thank you
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 12:34
Rommel Anacan
Hi Crystal! Thank you for reading the post and for the kind words. Handling resident complaints is never fun, but I like to say th... Read More
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 13:41
Iris Esguerra
Great article! However, I think I missed something - what does "DQ" stand for?
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 08:22
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Why Do Residents Only Say Something When They're Upset?


Have you ever noticed that you often hear from residents only when they're complaining about something?

I mean, when the grass is green and the flowers are blooming, how many calls are your offices getting saying "great job" on the landscaping? When the maintenance team fixes a broken appliance how many responses do you get saying "thank you" relative to the amount of service requests the team completes?

Until I better understood the psychology of customers, this used to bug me to no end! Then as I managed and trained I watched my people feel the same types of frustrations as well.

This short video explains a little bit about why customers only say something when they're upset . . . and what you can do about it as well!

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Do You Know What To Do In An Emergency?

No truer statement has ever been made that in property management no two days are ever exactly the same. This may be why most people who get into this field never leave it. We all like days where almost anything can happen and often does. But, if you think about it, how prepared are you and your team to handle some of those out of left field challenges? And I am not just talking about the screwball resident who comes in hopping mad because the neighbor did not clean up his pet’s waste or was charged a Late Fee. Does your team know what to do in a bona fide emergency? Occasionally something happens for which you cannot be fully prepared. Obviously there are some apartment communities located in high risk areas of cities that experience more than their fair share of crime and violence. Of course there are apartment communities located in high risk weather areas, such as hurricane prone areas and the so-called Tornado Alley. But you know, just because your property isn’t, does not mean you won’t have to deal with it. In 2012, OSHA initiated some changes to their rules regarding workplace violence and in 2014, new changes to MSDA and safety measures will be required. Did your company update their Risk Management and Emergency Manuals? Are your teams prepared? Crisis management is a skill that takes a cool head and lots of preparation. I can remember sitting in my office one day – it was an ordinar......
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Dollars and Rents | Part One

Dollars and Rents | Part One
As property management professionals, the current rental climate is what you’ve been waiting for isn’t it? Rents are trending up across the nation as the demand for rental housing continues to increase. However, just because the business climate supports the changes, it doesn’t mean that your customers will. Many of your residents who have become used to concessions, generous move-in and renewal specials and other discounts, are now quite angry, frustrated, concerned, insulted, and even scared about the changes in the rental climate. So how can you and your team handle the conversations with residents in a way that recognizes the customer’s point of view and the realities of today’s rental market? Before the renewal letters go out… Before you send your renewal letters out, there is a lot that you can do to help yourselves with your customers. A little “P.R.” can really go a long way; so take the time to smile, meet, greet, wave, remember and use people’s names, respond to calls, letters and emails quickly and be genuinely friendly with your residents. I instructed my team members that my goal was to have everyone who walked into our office feel valued and cared for, whatever the circumstances that brought them into the office. I knew that we wouldn’t always be able to solve their problems, or give them what they wanted, but I knew we could always make our residents and clients feel important . . . even the ones we really didn’t like! I know that our “relationship bui......
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Mindy Sharp
Excellent post! Looking forward to Part 2.
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 13:22
Rommel Anacan
Thank you Mindy! Part Two should be good to do Wednesday morning!
Tuesday, 06 November 2012 15:18
Brent Williams
Such a great discussion of adding value along with a rent increase. If a community can raise rents across the board $50 to $100 a... Read More
Sunday, 11 November 2012 19:48
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Ignoring These Signs of Illegal Activity Can Cost You

I’ll admit it. One of the most exciting parts of my life as a Property Manager on a Section 8 property was getting involved in the drug busts. It was an adrenaline rush like no other, no pun intended. Part of being a Manager on any property in any community is to provide decent, safe and sanitary apartment homes for our Residents. And, yes, I call the people who live in my communities “Residents” and not Tenants simply because everyone deserves to be treated respectfully. It is also a mindset. We must adopt the notion that people want to live long term, or at least as long as necessary, willingly in our apartment communities. This will reduce turnover costs and promote a more harmonious living environment for our Residents. We must believe that there is value in creating a warm, nurturing home atmosphere for our Residents. If we are successful, they will stay longer; they will take better care of their apartment homes, and thus the property.   You never want someone to feel bad about where they came from or what their current circumstances in life may be. You want to uplift your Residents’ spirits and promote a better lifestyle. If we can impart this mindset to our Residents, they in turn will believe in themselves more and become contributing members of our communities. At least this is my personal motto.   This is why I take illegal drug activity so personally and seriously. Many people assume it is normal......
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Guest — Denene
Great information. I also manage family section 8 properties and have many times had to get involved with law enforcment regarding... Read More
Thursday, 01 November 2012 09:42
Mindy Sharp
Thanks for sharing your experience, Denene. Sounds like you probably have a good story or two!
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 18:23
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The Ultimate Goal in Service

Just got my “fresh off the presses” copy of Richard Branson’s new book, Like a Virgin, and found myself yelling, “I concur!” so often, I just had to share.  Here’s a little segment from the chapter titled, “The Customer is Always Right...except when he’s wrong” -  

The key to providing great customer service is for your management team to recognize the true worth of your front-line staff, the most talented of whom are expert negotiators with deep understanding of interpersonal relationships. Make sure that they have the tools they need to exercise those skills-that they have the information they need and they can work with real autonomy to find fair resolution to the issues that come up. (No scripts!)  

Sir Richard then goes on to say,  
If your business proposition is innovative, your ultimate goal has to be, ‘The customer always thinks that we are right.’ 

Wow. Read that last line again.

Translated, hire smart people that have a talent for communication and negotiation, and then give them the tools and autonomy to do the job they know they can do.  Teach communication skills, but don’t give them verbatim what to say.

Finally, and most profound, listen very carefully to what the consumer says they want, then take it up a notch and give them something just a little different and better. That’s how to deliver true anticipatory service.

What do you think?

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Is Outreach Marketing a Necessary Evil?

I got my belly laugh of the day on Saturday when I read a facebook post from a work-friend stating she would scream if she got back another Weekly Marketing Report from an onsite team listing nail salon, hair salon and something else I can’t recall. I think I spit out my tea! Oh my, oh my, I started singing, I know what that means!   I know because I have seen these same things listed many times and NOT for the right reasons on weekly reports. J When someone lists “Betty’s Hair Salon” I immediately know that the Manager went to get her hair done that week and it is now a part of her “outreach marketing plan.” When I see, “Our Nails Are Fabulous!” salon listed on the report, I think, again, hummm, she must have gotten her nails done there. The best one is someone listing Toys-R-Us (during the first week of December) – we all know that small children plus holiday coming equals outreach marketing. Of course!   First of all, I have been there, done that. Not proud of it, but I did not know any better and I had no one to teach me. After all, I had been affiliated with Section 8 housing for five years and I didn’t deal with true outreach marketing duties there, unless you count marketing to the social service agencies as outreach marketing. Then I went on to conventional housing and in that world, wow, there are all kinds of happy......
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