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Brent Williams' Apartment Blog

Thoughts, comments, and ideas about the overall multifamily industry, as well as a property-specific focus on resident retention and apartment marketing.

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 picture with their new apartment.

Tell them that you love celebrating new move-ins, and you would like to take a picture of them in their new apartment.  And then, after they have moved in, set a time to stop by to do an “after” picture of them in their new place!  This gives you another opportunity to ensure that all the items on the move-in checklist were taken care of.  You could even be proactive and do a middle-visit and bring by some Gatorade during the actual move itself – you will be making big-time friends at that point!

So at the end, you have not only provided excellent customer service by ensuring their move-in went perfect, but you have captured a fantastic marketing opportunity by creating before and after pictures with actual residents in your apartments.  These pictures can then be shared throughout your social media accounts, tagged with the resident, if possible, so that they have the opportunity of sharing the picture with their own network.

What do you think?

 

(This blog was inspired by Jennifer Carter’s sharing of this piece about Instagram)

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This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

Great piece, Brent. So important to remember the sale doesn't end with the handshake.

  Ellen Calmas
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Thanks, Ellen!

  Brent Williams
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I didn't want to update the piece above, but it was still rumbling around in my head, and I was just imagining some people balking at the idea of visiting an apartment three times during a move-in. And I really get that, having worked on-site myself and knowing how busy Saturday move-ins can be. That said, from a renter standpoint, I would just be blown away if a maintenance tech stopped by my apartment with a couple of Gatorades. Such a small gesture would just be incredible given how moving is just a horrible experience. Shoot, really blow someone's mind by giving Gatorades to someone moving out! Anyway, I'm just rambling now, but I really do think that would make such a huge impression on a very rough day.

  Brent Williams
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Great Article Brent. This has been passed on to our Leasing Department in hopes they try some of your ideas. I am the Marketing Director and this would sure make my job easier also! Thank you.

  Terra Plaisance
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<p>Thanks, Terra! Glad you liked it, and if you all end up doing the before and after pictures, we would love to see some examples!</p>

  Brent Williams
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Absolutely Brent... I will keep you posted. The hardest part will be getting the on-site managers to do it!
Happy Holidays!

  Terra Plaisance
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You know what? Maybe it's just me but thinking about the renewal at first visit and certainly from the date of move in is preferable to all of a sudden, when someone hands you their NTV, you ask, "oh, are you not happy here?" I don't know about anyone else, but I certainly don't want to write my life story starting with my obituary. I want to know I am making a difference now in people's lives and it does not get more "real" than at the time of move in for our residents. That is truly when it counts.

  Mindy Sharp
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Great comment - thanks, Mindy.

  Brent Williams
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Love this! Great ideas!!!

  Brianna
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Thanks, Brianna!

  Brent Williams

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