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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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"Customer Service is the New Marketing"

"Customer Service is the New Marketing"
"Customer Service Is The New Marketing"!  Hmm, this seems to be a buzz line I hear more and more, but it certainly is not new.  There are articles dating back years with this same tag line.  What makes it more important or relative today is the continued ease in which people communicate their experiences. I think we would all agree that Marketing is important to gain new residents, but I would argue that it's MOST important in keeping the residents you already have.  Why is this so?  Well, it's really very simple.  When you keep the residents you already have your immediate benefit is obviously the savings in turnover expenses and the expense to market the available apartment.  Just as valuable if not more though, is the FREE word of mouth Marketing  and Customer loyalty you get from your residents. How do you market to your current residents?    We might first think of the various social activities you host, the complimentary coffee bar in the clubhouse or the amenities included in their monthly rent.  The real marketing comes with your Customer Service.   Do you think residents will shout about you "On-Line" if you provide what they expect?  Do you know what they expect?  Most of us have an idea of what they expect and honestly, it's really very little.  They expect to live in their apartment, have everything work and if they need you they want you to be there.  What if you provided them with service that they didn't expect?  This is ho......
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Before You Hit 'Send'-Three Reasons Why You Should Call Instead!

Before You Hit 'Send'-Three Reasons Why You Should Call Instead!
Some of my favorite things to read online are the things people say when they’re commenting on stories! I am always amazed at how ugly, mean-spirited and downright awful some people can be when they communicate behind a wall of anonymity provided by the computer. Here are some comments I found on a few sites: You are a FOOL--with a LOT of company. 3 crap articles in a row.  Youre on a roll Doyel. Obviously Ravens fans can't speel, no surprise. Trent is a weak minded fool. Probably beats his wife and kicks puppies when he doesn't get his way. Do you think any of these people would actually make those comments if they were standing in front of the people they directed them to? I don’t. (And BTW-I love that the comment about someone not being able to spell has the word “spell” spelled wrong.) When I was the customer care manager of a property management company in Southern California, I discovered very quickly how making a phone call could be the best thing you do in resolving a complaint! I usually had a practice of communicating with people in the same way they first contacted me, unless they told me otherwise. So of course I loved it when people emailed me or wrote me a letter because I could respond back without having to actually talk to them! (Admit it, you feel the same way!) But sometimes I’d notice that an issue that should have been resolved would keep going; or ......
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When Being Respectful Isn’t Enough In Customer Service

I am what you would consider a “regular” at my local Starbucks.  I know almost all the baristas by name, and many of them know mine, as well.  We talk about our respective lives, hobbies, kids, etc, and although we don’t hang out outside of the store, I feel quite comfortable with them.  The manager, however, is a bit different.  She has seen me countless times, and we have interacted on plenty of occasions, but she always refers to me as “Sir”.  It’s a strange feeling, because I feel as though I’ve built up a fairly strong rapport with the store, and the title “Sir” seems cold or stand-offish, as if I’m some random person off the street she is trying to be respectful to. As you can probably tell from above, I am proud to be a regular at my Starbucks.  It’s time I’ve invested in getting to know people there, and by taking that time, I feel a sense of emotional ownership of the store.  It isn’t just a Starbucks, it’s my Starbucks, which is oftentimes the holy grail of customer responsiveness.  But when the manager is working, I feel like just another customer.  I don’t feel like a regular, and I don’t feel nearly as much of an emotional connection to the store. So although she is simply just trying to be professional, there has to be an awareness of the customer that understands and reinforces that sense of connection.  And although I’ve been talking about my coffee shop experience, this is just as ......
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Four Reasons to Ditch the Gimmick Phone Greeting

Four Reasons to Ditch the Gimmick Phone Greeting
  If your employees answer phones onsite with some variation of these greetings: “It’s a GREAT day at Quail Run Apartments!” “It’s a BEAUTIFUL day at The Enclave!” “It’s an awesome morning at Eagle Creek. Home of world-class service, 24 hour apartment maintenance, Satisfaction Award winner for 3 years running, fresh-baked cookies, and the best coffee outside of Seattle...!” I think they're making a mistake! Here are four reasons why I think onsite teams should ditch the ‘gimmick’ phone greeting and just use something short, simple and professional like this; “Thank you for calling Briarglen Apartments! My name is Rommel. How may I help you today?” Reason One: Employees Hate It I have trained many, many people during my career and I have yet to run into one frontline leasing person who loved answering the phone with “It’s a great day at ...” If your leasing associates hate answering the phone this way, it will show up in their phone calls. Most leasing agents don’t like the phone or are not good at the phone to begin with, don’t handcuff them even further by forcing them to use a greeting they can’t say without rolling their eyes. Speaking of rolling eyes ... Reason Two: Customers Think It’s Corny There may have been a day when answering the phone with “It’s an AWESOME day at ...” was widely accepted and considered “awesome.” That day is no longer here, not in multifamily anyway. When customers hear that kind of greeting they are just as likely to roll their eyes as your leasing assoc......
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WHAT’S YOUR RENTAL EXPERIENCE LIKE?

WHAT’S YOUR RENTAL EXPERIENCE LIKE?
Like a lot of other nerds, I watched the release of the new Microsoft Surface tablet with much interest. Being touted as an iPad killer, there was much hype behind Microsoft's reimagining of the tablet experience. The problem, of course, turned out to be Microsoft's failure in managing that experience correctly. The reviews haven't been good. Microsoft, it turns out, spent a ton of time making sure the device felt good in your hands. They wanted the right, curvy angles for the device. They wanted the screen to blast its high def-y goodness all over you and to create a better typing experience with its touch cover keyboard. All of those things turned out to be pretty cool. The problem? The overall experience associated with using the device stinks. Why? It's slow. The software is a cross between poor design and clumsy. Already, there are defects. The price tag is too high. All of these items overshadow its cool angles with touch keyboard. They focused on the wrong things and their oversights have been detrimental to the entire Surface Experience. Let Microsoft's Surface problems be a lesson for all of you. Make sure you are managing your leasing experience effectively. Think of every leasing opportunity as its own product launch. Everything a prospect sees is part of the experience. Your phone manner must be right. Make sure you're smiling, understanding the prospects needs and showing them the best apartment. A maintenance man addressing employees inappropriately in front of prospects takes away......
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Communicating in Social Media | Part One

Communicating in Social Media | Part One
Brent Williams from Multifamily Insiders recently wrote a thought-provoking piece on communities using Facebook as part of their marketing strategies. You can find Brent’s original post and the comments from readers here. While people differed on their opinions of whether Facebook and other social media was worth the time and effort, based on a variety of factors, the one thing that seemed to “pop up” consistently was the idea that if you have chosen to enter social media you need to make sure that you are doing it “right.” Author and social media expert Scott Stratten says that “social media is human.” The appeal of social media is that people can connect with companies in ways that are more engaging, interactive and natural. In short, social media has the power to “humanize” companies, when done right. How do you know you’re ready to do ‘social’ right? The first step is having the right people: If social media is human, then your social media strategy needs to begin with people...your people. In short, are they ready to do the job and are they the RIGHT people to do the job of connecting with your customers in a more personal and interactive way? While this is not a marketing example, it does give you an idea of the kind of talent you need to communicate on social media spaces. . . Major league baseball writer Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Miami Marlins needed a new centerfielder. Here is the tweet: Uh, by the way, #Marlins also need......
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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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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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When Baristas Attack! The Price of Making the Wrong Decision

When Baristas Attack! The Price of Making the Wrong Decision
How do you help the people on your team make decisions to “do the right thing” even when they don’t want to? Here’s a story that you may want to share. ______________________ A few years ago I was assigned the task to pick up coffee for everyone in the department. I ordered five of them and after the fifth coffee was given to me, I asked the associate behind the counter for a drink tray. She gave me the, “You are the 50th person who has asked me for a tray and now I’m really irritated!!” look. Obviously since I wasn’t born with five arms I figured that any reasonable person would agree that a tray would be a good idea. Unfortunately I discovered that the barista was not in the “reasonable” category when she grabbed a tray and tossed it at me. Listen, this was not a case of her placing a tray on the counter that had accidentally gone too far. Oh no! She pretty much tossed the tray at me.  Unfortunately a cup of hot coffee was in the flight path of the tray that she tossed!  The tray hit the cup of coffee (which was one of those mucho machupichu mochalatte grande deals) and the hot coffee spilled everywhere! Fortunately, I was able to jump out of the way before the coffee spilled all over me and only my left hand really got the brunt of the hot coffee.  The associate looked at me, and immediately her “I’m too good to he......
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