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Did You Watch the Super Bowl in Spanish?

Did You Watch the Super Bowl in Spanish?
We know that the Super Bowl is the biggest television event of the year, right? I mean, even people who aren’t fans of any of the teams in the game, or people who aren’t even football fans at all, will watch the game ... or at the very least, the commercials during the game. Did you know that Fox (the network that broadcast the Super Bowl) asked for an average of $4 million for a 30-second advertising spot during the broadcast?    Yes, the Super Bowl is kind of a big deal ... which is why it was so upsetting when in the middle of the second quarter my television screen froze in the middle of this Volkswagen commercial:  I wasn’t the only one left wondering “What happened?” For millions of Time Warner Cable subscribers in Southern California, this is what they saw on their television screens for about an hour as the rest of the nation watched the Super Bowl. (Again, only the biggest television event of the year.) Apparently there was a malfunction on Time Warner Cable’s end, processing the video signal from the Fox broadcast feed; which meant that Southern Californians watching the standard definition feed of the game got to see the girl in the VW ad instead.    Isn’t This What You Do?   So, why was I so upset that Time Warner Cable wasn’t showing the Super Bowl? Well, it was because TWC is a cable company-which means that their whole reason for existing is to provide cabl......
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Communication Tip #154: Don't Be That Guy!

Communication Tip #154: Don't Be That Guy!
Not too long ago I decided to grab some breakfast at McDonald’s. I ordered my usual “Big Breakfast” which has eggs, sausage, hash browns and an English Muffin. McDonald’s started offering a “Deluxe” version of the Big Breakfast that included pancakes--so I have learned to let them know upon ordering that I wanted the “Big Breakfast with NO pancakes.”    Easy enough, right? Not this morning.    After I said I’d like a “Big Breakfast with no pancakes” the person behind the counter looked at me cock-eyed and said, “What??” So, I repeated my order. To which he said (with lots of snark), “The Big Breakfast doesn’t come with pancakes...that’s the ‘Deluxe Breakfast!’”    I simply responded back to him, “Every time I’ve ordered the Big Breakfast I’ve been asked if I wanted pancakes...which is why I ordered the way I did...I didn’t know you changed the name of the one with pancakes.” He just looked at me blankly and let me know my order would be ready soon.    They Don’t Have an SL...it’s the SEL...Geez!!   I want you to imagine that you’ve just come back to the office after taking a test drive in a car you’re considering purchasing. A co-worker asks you how it went-to which you respond, “I really liked that Toyota Camry. It drove really well and that SL version had most of the things I really ...”   Then, your co-worker interrupts you and says something like, “Camry SL?? Don’t you mean the SEL? Camry doesn’t make an SL version. Didn’t you drive the car?”&nb......
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When Apartment Marketing and Customer Service Collide

There are very few, if any, better marketing pitches than those that come from the customers themselves, or at least include actual customers.  For example, Audi can put out images of its cars all it wants, but there’s a very good chance that a friend’s picture of themselves posing in front of their new Audi will make a much bigger impact. Now that we’ve established that, let’s pause on the marketing side for just one moment and turn to customer service.  It is often said that the decision to renew a lease isn’t made at the end of the lease, but rather at the beginning.  Those first few days and weeks are critical in making your residents feel like they made a great decision in renting at your apartment community, and ultimately impact their later decision to renew. There is a great opportunity for these two concepts to collide in a spectacularly wonderful way.  Here’s the idea: When you have a new lease, rather than simply giving them the keys and letting them walk out the door, instead walk with them to the new apartment so you can be with them during this critical time.  With all the make-ready checklists out there, the apartment should be looking impeccable, but just in case, you are on hand for a quick walk-through with the resident for any immediate needs.  So this part is all about the customer service.  But then try this:  Ask them if they would be willing to do a before and after p......
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The Customer Turn Around – Get it Done Right the First Time!

The Customer Turn Around – Get it Done Right the First Time!
One sure fire way to turn an upset customer to a previous customer is not to communicate properly with them.  I teach, in my NALP classes, that communication is 80% listening and you need to make sure you are not just listening but comprehending the issue.  We all have “our way” of doing things and it would be such a nice world if all problems fell in to the category where “our way” was always the remedy but that will never be reality.  I recently had a BAD few days with my cable provider and I was ready to jump ship.  First, my television was not giving the services I was paying for, actually reverting back to the past by asking if I wanted to record on a VHS instead of my DVR!  All my pre-recorded programs had disappeared, I finally had a weekend to relax and catch up and I was not a happy camper.  I called a few times, they sent signals through to the box and each time they did something else went wrong.  When my TV finally started working right, the house phone stopped working!  Each time I called the person was polite but they seemed as if they were going through the motions, reading from a manual and never taking an extra effort to help.  On one of the many calls I decided I was going to cancel my HBO in an effort to cut a little off my bill that was WAY too high and to take......
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Resident Retention: Pardon That Turkey

b2ap3_thumbnail_Turkey.jpgWe've all been guilty of it: "One-two-three-not-it!" the office team groupthinks as THAT resident comes in for the 5th time this week. Who will be the poor sucker who gets stuck this time? I'm not going to pretend that we're gonna absolutely love every person who moves into our community, but we've got to remember that each person is a customer, which makes them a VIP. And we need to treat them as such. Reality Check: Now more than ever residents are looking for a "sense of community." But according to our most recent study conducted with Ball State university this summer, "sense of community" begins with the resident's connection with the community staff, not with the other residents! So, with that reality in mind and with Thanksgiving in sight, it is entirely appropriate to discuss how to deal with those Turkeys (the people, not the birds). 1. Give a warm welcome and a fond farewell. This come straight out of the Ritz-Carlton handbook, folks. Think about when you arrive at a friend's house for dinner and how good it makes you feel when you walk in the door and your host/hostess lights up and seems thrilled to see you. While we don't need to greet each resident with a hug, we can make them feel important by being happy to see them. Often times, this one action (showing genuine warmth) can take the wind out of a complainer's sails. They may be more reluctant to demand attention on their p......
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Don’t Scare Leads Away: 5 Reminders for Leasing Agents

haunted house for rentLast month, Josh Grillo wrote an article about the importance of not losing money on poor customer service over the phone. He wrote some great tips for owners and marketing or regional managers to implement. The article made me think about my own experience on both sides of that equation.  As a renter, I have definitely hung up the phone and thought, “there is no way I want to have to interact with that person when my toilet’s broken.” Maybe not every renter thinks about it that directly, but the first human interaction (usually on the phone) is a significant step in the selling process. Customer service isn’t rocket science. In fact, most of us already know the basics of how we should treat people on the job, and how we want to be treated when we call a business. It’s easy to get caught up in everything that has to be done and forget to slow down and make the person in front of you (on the phone or in person) the priority at that moment. Here are five reminders for anyone who answers the phone calls from leads: 1. Remember that the prospect is not your enemy. Okay, so that’s an exaggeration. You probably don’t think of someone looking for an apartment as your enemy. But, maybe you’re multitasking and tired, a resident just called to complain about something out of your control, there’s maintenance requests to process and a previous resident just wrote an unfair and angry review online…but rememb......
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Service Request Follow Up Calls, Resident Feedback Please!

imageTaking the time to make phone calls after service is completed in an apartment may seem to be a low priority task or even a time waster. “Maintenance does a great job, I hear that from every resident I call.” Wow! What a great problem to have! With that factual information, a property could state in their advertising”100% Resident Satisfaction on Maintenance Service.”  That’s a headline that will  attract attention. Quotes from the residents comments, using resident first names for authenticity could be included with permission. Calling as a follow-up courtesy, isn’t about checking up to see if maintenance did the task correctly. With professionals, taking pride in their work, the follow-up call is not checking up on maintenance. It’s confirming the residents are satisfied. Was the work you requested completed? Was it completed in a manner to your satisfaction? Was the response timely? Did you find our team member to be professional and personable? Were there any questions regarding the repair that were not answered or explained to you? Is there any additional repairs that should be completed in your home? Giving residents an opportunity to provide detailed information about the service provided to their home indicates a true interest in customer satisfaction  Try to phase the questions to avoid the basic yes or no answers. Scheduling maintenance to make these calls, at least one day out of the week gives the maintenance team an opportunity to hear the positive feedback firsthand. On the occasion, a resident may offer suggestions or express disappointment with their service......
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The Leasing Office is Closed!

The Leasing Office is Closed!
I am writing this post as I sit in my car, waiting for a leasing office to re-open so that I can meet with the team on a consulting project. I actually arrived at the community about an hour ago, and as I walked to the front door, I saw a sign in the window that said something to the effect:   “We are currently out showing our community to a client.  We’ll be with you in a few moments.”   Having worked onsite for many years I understand that people need to eat lunch. I know that offices cannot always be staffed to ensure uninterrupted coverage during the day. So I am not begrudging the fact that the office has been closed for an hour.    Rather my issue is that I don’t know when to expect someone to be back in the office. The sign in the door said that someone would be right back in a few moments, which in my expectation would be like 5-10 minutes. But it’s been an hour later and still, the office is closed and I still don’t know if anyone is showing up anytime soon.    What if I were a prospect?    On the stretch that this community is on, I drove past several other apartment communities. Communities that a prospect could easily visit, while waiting for someone to show up at this one. Imagine if a prospect visited this community, saw the sign that said someone would be back in a few momen......
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“My Pleasure!” What Chick fil-A Teaches Us About the Power of Elevated Language

“My Pleasure!” What Chick fil-A Teaches Us About the Power of Elevated Language
My daughter and I love Chick fil-A and end up going there a couple of times a month as a treat for the both of us. Now, no matter what time I go there, it always seems busy! This has been true in restaurants that I’ve gone to in both California and Colorado. In fact, when I managed a community in Colorado we knew that if we didn’t get to our local Chick Fil-A by 11:15 am,  we were going to be stuck in a long line.    Besides the food, I love the level of service that they provide, which is unlike most other fast food restaurants. Let me give you an example: at my local restaurant in Huntington Beach, California associates frequently check on all the diners and ask how things are going and if we’d like them to “refresh” our beverage. Notice, they don’t ask if you want a “refill?”    If you say “thank you” they will always respond with “my pleasure!” Not, “no problem.” Not even, “you’re welcome.” Always, “my pleasure.”   When the lines start to get long and they open up a new register I will often hear, “It’s my pleasure to help you, here.” instead of, “Next in line.”    Little Things Mean a Lot   Isn’t it interesting how subtle the difference between “my pleasure” and “no problem” is-yet doesn’t it make a huge difference? I have been told by a friend of mine who works for Chick fil-A that phrases like “my pleasure” are known as “elevated language” within the c......
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Make It Easy For People to Fall in Love With You!

Make It Easy For People to Fall in Love With You!
I am currently reading a book written by my pastor, Caleb Anderson. In the book he recounts a story of an experience he had picking up food “to go” at an Italian restaurant in Newport Beach, California-that I’d like to share with you.    Caleb went inside the restaurant to pick up his order and was greeted warmly and enthusiastically and told that someone would be helping him shortly. A waiter appeared and brought out some bread and olive oil (for dipping) along with a glass of water, while he waited for his order.    Then another associate came out with his food and brought it to Caleb’s car. After he placed the food in the back seat the waiter shook Caleb’s hand and said, “Have a great evening, Mr. Anderson!” and walked away before Caleb could even consider giving him a tip. He was so impressed by the service that he told his friends and family about it-and eventually included the story in his book.    Here is the restaurant’s vision statement:   We at Mama D's are Proud to be the "World Class Crazy Ones". On Our watch, we want to do something extraordinary with our gifts and talents. History will be the judge, but the script is ours. We are on an adventure to blow the doors off "business as usual". We are here to make a difference in the world, and a world of difference.  We are extremely committed and passionate about a culture built on loyal relationships, ......
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