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Top Insider Community Texting Tips and Observations Revealed

By Guest Writer Amy Kosnikowski, National Speaker, Consultant and Industry Educator

The multifamily industry has seen a surge of technology tools and resources over recent years which has resulted in onsite teams being more efficient, productive and improving customer service offered to residents. These tools include online apartment listing services, cutting-edge websites, revenue management systems, resident portals, integrated accounting software and marketing tracking systems. One area that is currently getting a lot of attention is the rapid rise of texting mobile communication and its potential benefits for onsite teams.

 

 

The nationwide statistics reported by HubSpot are startling that on average, in a given period of 30 days, 76 percent of people have sent a text message and 98 percent of text messages that are sent are opened, and 83 percent of them are opened within three minutes. CTIA, The Wireless Association® (CTIA.org), recently found that an email is typically read 48 hours after it is sent, while the average text message is read in four minutes. Also did you know that Nokia found that the average person looks at their phone 150 times a day, or once every six-and-a-half minutes of every waking hour? That is remarkable!

 

 

Interesting to note is that according to SatisFacts’s national “Today’s Online Renter” email survey, email (91 percent) is the residents preferred method of communication from community management teams followed  by (78 percent) cell phone, text message (28 percent) and then in-person (27 percent). Renters 18-24 years old are the most likely to prefer texting at 33 percent.

 

 

With this contrast of global demand comparative to the preference within our industry, I searched for details on how onsite team members are best using this mobile technology. I went straight to the front lines for honest feedback, and this is what I found:

 

 

  • Many companies and communities are beginning to see traction and benefits of resident communication via email and texting. They have already seen great results using email and texting with prospective renter follow-up, service request satisfaction and group announcements. Those who are finding the greatest demand are communities with a large student population as well as those settled in urban setting with the younger demographic. Diane Jones, Community Manager at Goodwynn at Town: Brookhaven in Atlanta, has found that high-tech services and tools such as WiFi, online apps and instant onsite team response have become a standard expectation at these properties.
  • The growing customer “self-service” mentality and trend has taken hold in apartment dwellers, with residents desiring easier accessibility to gain information, communicate requests and demand rapid response. The industry has seen a great rise in companies that offer services to management team such as texting platforms to resident portals which have given residents a huge advantage to pay rent online, submit service request, track progress and/or completion, be notified of a package delivery, leave a message on a community electronic “bulletin board” and reserve amenity or services.

  • Onsite teams with a strong success rate utilizing email and texting recommend starting off strong with automatic entry to the communication plan at move in with an opt-out option. For Diane Jones, community manager at Goodwynn at Town: Brookhaven in Atlanta, to “sell” the onsite team’s ability to “sell” the texting or email communications is crucial in addition to knowing how to explain the benefits to the residents. If residents don’t see the value of receiving texts or offer the excuse of having a limited data plan, the onsite team may not be clearly sharing the advantages of saving time, money or staying informed.

  • The majority of residents choose to receive communication by text because the onsite team is proactive in using it and also shows the value and benefits residents receive from the Short Message Service (SMS messages. Diane Jones believes that the keys to successful texting & email campaigns are to ensure that the messages are upbeat, positive, and relevant making it worth the resident’s time to receive and read the messages Examples of text messages have been event reminders, emergency notifications and area business discounts such as a local restaurant or dry cleaner. Residents believe the benefits of receiving these messages will improve their lives when they receive the values instantaneously.
  • If you are considering beginning a direct or mass email and texting program at your community – a great place to start is to audit files to ensure you have every resident email address along with updated cell phone numbers.

 

The question now is where is technology taking us from here? The opportunities are limitless with the latest and greatest technology capable of assisting and supporting the industry’s mission to serve residents while maintaining a profitable community. By embracing this technology, learning all that you can and then evaluating what is best for your community and customer base, you can create a competitive edge in any market.

 

 

I predict that we have not even seen the grand potential as of yet from texting and email communication.  We may begin to see benefits in marketing outreach opportunities. What are your thoughts on this global trend and high demand to connect and communicate via email and texting?

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When future renters have a choice to send an email, dial a phone or chatting/texting from a properties website, 47% of time they pick chatting. Clearly chatting/texting is the preferred method of communication of the younger demographic.

Paul Hinski

  Paul Hinski

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