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When You Give Respect, You Get it Back

When You Give Respect, You Get it Back
I haven’t blogged for quite a long time, with other projects and opportunities, I haven’t made the time to do so, however, something happened that I feel passionate about; I had to write about it. There is something about respect that all people need and crave. I want to talk about two types of respect, professional and personal.  Professional respect is something that is given before it is earned.  Whenever you have a professional title, that title earns you a level of respect to people in your organization, in and out of your industry, and in most areas of your public and private life.  When you meet someone and they are introduced to you as Mr. or Mrs. so and so, president of xyz incorporated, you respect the title without ever really knowing the individual, the respect is pretty much a given.  This respect is often broken after the person has been found doing something wrong, whether criminal or otherwise, the respect or lack of it, is already tangible and present. Personal respect is something quite different and less apparent. We practice personal respect in all areas of our lives through our associations with our families, friends, and colleagues. Respect on this level is more earned, given freely, but over the benchmark of time, it can be cultivated with deeds and words and actions. With personal respect the way you treat others can reflect greatly on you and this can color or change the way others see you as the way you......
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5 Simple Ways to Show Employee Appreciation

5 Simple Ways to Show Employee Appreciation
In the multifamily industry, resident retention is on everyone’s mind. What about employee retention, though? It’s equally as important to gauge how your staff feels about the company and managers that they are working for every day. After all, your employees are representing your brand, and it’s important that they have a positive outlook toward the company. In return, their sentiment will make a great impression on residents and prospects within the community.  There are a variety of ways to build employee morale and show them how much you value their hard work. It doesn’t require an endless supply of money to show appreciation – in fact, there are many thoughtful ways to reward your employees without breaking the bank on material objects. Here are a few ideas that you might consider:  1. Flexibility. Life doesn’t always go as planned, and sometimes there are children to care for, family activities, or even life-changing events such as weddings or the birth of a new child. By offering your hard-working employees a bit of flexibility, they will see that you value their life outside of the office, too.  2. A free meal or cup of joe. It’s true that food is the way to the heart – a meal is a hospitable way to show how much you appreciate the efforts of your leasing staff. Breakfast foods tend to be more cost-effective, or consider hosting a potluck – supply the main dish and ask each of your staff to contribute one side dish or dessert. A cup of coffee c......
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How to Successfully Implement Chat in Your Community

How to Successfully Implement Chat in Your Community
Today, your community’s online experience is almost as important as the in-person experience for converting prospects and keeping residents happy. And live apartment chat can play a part, giving people a taste of the service your community offers. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it solution, though. So what’s the secret to successful implementation? I talked to Matrix Residential, a community big on “creating exceptional experiences,” to see how they’ve executed apartment chat across several locations with the same high standards. Understand Chat’s Role in Your Community Matrix Residential started using chat after considering how their prospects and residents wanted to communicate. It appeals to many of their clients, which is no surprise to Dana Pate, Marketing Director for Matrix Residential. “I’m a Gen Y-er, and I’d much rather text or chat than call you. It’s more convenient,” she adds. (That’s the only way she talks to her credit card or telephone company.) So Matrix Residential treats their apartment chat as a sort of “24/7 help desk” where prospects chat in questions and residents can check in on upcoming events, etc. They’ve handled those chats so well that many of the same people keep chatting—they know they’ll get quick responses, which is key. SatisFacts says the No. 1 satisfaction topic with the greatest impact on residential renewal is how promptly office staff responds to communication. Get the Whole Team Involved Still, without on-site team buy-in, their chat wouldn’t be the success it is. “There’s often a disconnect between the corporate and on-site teams when it comes to incorporating a new tool into......
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Are We Prioritizing The Wrong Things In Property Management?

Imagine for a moment that you just got in a car wreck, and you have to take your car to get body work done.  Do you think they first repaint the impact area, or do they first replace parts, fix dents, etc?  Of course they fix the car first, then they paint, right?  It wouldn’t make any sense to do the reverse, because you would have a pretty new paint job on top of a crumpled car. As I look at our industry, I wonder if that is what we are often doing with our service.  My background is very steeped in resident events and building a sense of community.  I am passionate that these will fundamentally impact our residents’ happiness, willing to pay more in rent, and encourage them to stay longer.  That said, building a sense of community absolutely must come after a community has handled their basic expectations and the fundamentals of property management.  No matter how great the resident events are, if they have a leak that hasn’t been fixed for a week, or their A/C is out during the heat of the summer, they are not going to be happy.  This basic prioritizing of operations affects other “hot” elements, as well, most notably social media.  I know, I teach social media on a regular basis, but again, it amazes me how much people focus on social media to get new leads when they are still not even following up with their existing prospects half the time. I think ......
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Maintaining a High Renewal Rate

Maintaining a High Renewal Rate
Different properties tend to have typical rental cycles, depending on their residents. For example, properties in cities with a lot of students tend to turn over apartments either at the beginning or end of the summer. Of course, when students graduate, there isn’t much property owners can do to entice them to stick around. New jobs in new cities or the low rent available in childhood homes are difficult to compete with. However, if your tenants are not students or if you want to keep students in their apartments until the end of their college careers, there are a few things you can do to keep your lease renewals high. The top three factors people cite when discussing their decisions to renew are maintenance services, safety and security, and customer service. If you deliver these on these factors all the time, you can be certain to keep your renewal rate high. When tenants call with a maintenance issue or show up in the leasing office asking for help, send someone over quickly with the tools they’ll likely need to fix the problem. Doing so keeps tenants happy and makes the management team look efficient. People should always feel safe in their homes, whether they’re behind a locked door or crossing the parking lot. Make sure your property is well-lit and that burned out bulbs in fixtures are replaced quickly. If incidents like theft or vandalism take place on the property, inform tenants quickly so that they can take extra precautions, and work with ......
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Does Your Company Need an “I AM ANNOYED” Department?

Does Your Company Need an “I AM ANNOYED” Department?
There are few things more frustrating to me than spending 20 minutes explaining my problem to someone in “Customer Service” only to be bounced to another person, explaining everything all over again, and then being bounced to yet another person. What these companies really need is an “I Am Annoyed” Department to call AFTER you speak to their “Customer Service” Department. A few months ago I decided that it was time to cancel our home telephone service. We rarely use the land line and it was an opportunity to save a little money. I was prepared to make a 15 minute phone call. Unfortunately, my telephone company didn’t offer an “easy button.” Instead, I became their Ping-Pong ball and was bounced to six different people (email, telephone, chat) over a period of 3 weeks before finally reaching a person who eventually cancelled my telephone service. I am not making this stuff up! This sad faced Ping-Pong ball eventually posted her experience on Facebook, a ratings and review site, shared it with many friends, and is now posting this blog.  Is this a typical problem in business today? Yes. Can it be solved? Probably not—but it can be improved. It begins with preparing, strengthening, and empowering the first point of contact.     Here are three ways you can reduce the number of annoyed customers at your community.     1.   Hire Good People vs. Nice People I read a very interesting article last week in YAHOO Finance “How to Hire Good People Instead of Nice Peopl......
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Somehow. Some Day. Somewhere!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Reaching-up.JPGI look to the sky, and wait for an answer!   "When will my toilet be fixed, and has my request to move my assigned parking spot even been looked at?"   For most residents on most days of living in an apartment community, the routine is simple: They wake up, they go about their daily obligations, they may fit in some leisure activities, they go to bed.  But then there are those certain days when their routine gets derailed, in large ways or small. A burner on the stove stops working. They receive a late rent notice. Someone parks in their assigned spot. There is dog waste outside their home for the 3rd day in a row.  That is when residents look to their property management teams for help. For answers. For solutions.  Do they raise their hands in futility as they wait endlessly for assistance, or do they have confidence that the team will listen and help immediately?   These are the moments of truth. These are the memorable moments. And YOU have the power to make them memorable in a really good way, or a really bad way. Either way, keep in mind that it is very likely that that memory you make together will be broadcast across the world wide web within minutes.  So, how do make your interactions divinely memorable, worthy of a virtual thumbs-up? Respond! Whether a resident calls, emails or stops by, really listen to what they are saying or asking. Let them f......
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The Importance of Breakfast, Frequent Flier Hubris, and Your New Resident

I wouldn’t hesitate in characterizing myself as a “good person.”  I’m no angel – probably a little closer to an upbeat cheerleader devil who tells you that you are great when she thinks you are great, and struggles with the already tiny filter between her brain and mouth when she thinks you’re not.  Usually, these momentary slips, frequent as they are, come in good humor and are not mean-girl-esque.    This morning, I had a mean girl moment that I’m wildly ashamed of.     See, given the nature of my job in training, consulting, and speaking, I travel frequently.  I can tell you where to get the brand of yogurt that you want in the SeaTac airport or the best spot to build yourself a productivity nest in the A Concourse at Denver International.  I can almost always pack my suitcase to the 50lb mark without going over.  I remember flight attendant names.  And, most importantly, I can go through the security line with breakneck speed.   2 bins, bag in the first, pull out the laptop –it goes in the second, jacket off before I get to the table so it’s already in the first bin, slip out of the flip-flops, and I never have anything besides lint in my pockets. “Any liquids, Ma’am?”  No.  Liquids at the TSA line are for chumps.  I don’t do the backscatter machines, but that’s why I scout the line with the metal detectors or I opt-out for the “federal feel-up.”    It’s an art form, and I’m never one to skimp of qua......
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Who Is Your Most Important Customer?

Who Is Your Most Important Customer?
It's not a trick question, some might say it is the prospect...others say it's the resident.  While those customers are very important and you need them to reach your occupancy and financial goals, there is another customer who is actually even more important.  Look at the desks around you, the people sharing office space with you, the Service Technicians repairing air conditioners, the Groundskeepers picking up trash...pick up the phone and call an associate at the home office, your Regional Manager, what about the Property Accountant or the management company Owner/President...or how about the Owner of the asset for whom you are fee managing.  Where would you be without them?  The truth is, much like in your personal life, charity and success start at home or within. Consider all that it takes to keep an average size apartment community running efficiently and successfully.  It's really a circle and everything is connected.  What if a prospect drives by and sees trash on the ground or shutters hanging off the buildings?  There is a pretty good chance they won't come into your office based on the poor exterior impression.  Or, think of the flip-side ..the grounds are immaculate and the buildings are sparkling, so the prospect comes in and finds the Leasing "Professional" dressed sloppily and never stands up to greet the prospect, but instead holds up their finger as to say wait a minute while they complete their personal telephone conversation.  All the work the grounds and maintenance teams put into their jobs was......
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Pay It Forward

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It's so simple, yet so neglected.  My family and I recently watched the movie "Pay It Forward" (such a great movie with such a powerful message).  The smallest action, either good or bad, can profoundly affect others.  Offering a smile to someone you will never see again...perhaps they will offer a smile to the next person they pass along the way.  Opening a door for someone, greeting a person by their name, sincerely asking about their day, their weekend etc.,  just one action can start a ripple that can continue on for hours, days, weeks...and you know what?  It's easy and it feels really GOOD!   I ran across this Customer Service Top Ten list a while back and find myself reading it often.  I just love #4, "What's left  in the room after I leave."  Have you ever been around someone or worked with someone that made you feel bad just knowing you had to see them or work with them that day...or vice verse,  find yourself happy to go to work knowing it is their day off?  How do you think they make your customers or residents feel?

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#4 applies to every encounter you have.  With family, with friends, when the customer is YOU, and of course at work.   If you treat every situation with an approach of  wanting to leave behind a good feeling, I guarantee, you will provide MAGNIFICENT customer service to everyone, including...YOURSELF!

 

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