Last modified on July 28th, 2020
By Brittany Benz
You hear it all the time, “The customer is always right,” but what many often don’t take away from that statement is just how important it really is to make sure you’re delivering great customer service to your residents. More than just giving residents what they want, it’s creating a customer experience they will remember and want to come back to. It’s fairly easy to attract customers, but much more difficult to keep them for the long-run and earn their loyalty.
According to Forbes, “Seven in 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.” In other words, customer service and loyalty plays a large role in a businesses’ success — across all industries.
As a property manager, it’s important to take stock in your customer experience to make sure you’re not just meeting your prospects and residents’ needs, but exceeding them if you want to stay competitive. We all have budgets and have to be concerned with the bottom line; however if you don’t deliver and people move out, it stresses your team and negatively affects your entire business.
Here we’ll take a deep dive on what customer experience is, why it matters, and how you can enhance your own strategy to create an experience that’s unforgettable.
What Is Customer Experience & Why Does It Matter?
You are likely already familiar with the meaning of customer service. However, in today’s on-demand economy, it’s also necessary to be well-versed in the concept of customer experience.
Customer experience as defined by Forrester, an influential research and advisory firm, is “how customers perceive their interactions with your company.” When you think about brands with amazing customer service, what names come to mind? Amazon, Casper, Netflix… They are all companies that go above and beyond to make sure you have a positive experience. In addition, they also offer conveniences, such as online tools, digital communication, personalized options, and instant access to information.
Why does customer experience matter? Because when consumers feel well cared for and have a seamless experience, they are more likely to remain loyal to your company and promote it to others. All of this becomes a positive cycle, driving more satisfaction, leads, and ultimately revenue.
How to Measure Customer Satisfaction
Before you begin to enhance your customer experience, it’s important to know where you currently stand when it comes to customer satisfaction. Here are a few ways you can measure your current level of customer satisfaction:
- Referrals: How many of your residents are referring other people to you? It’s not about the bonus, it’s about “I love living here, I want you to live here too!” Take a detailed look at your guest cards to see how many were referred to your community by friends, family, or co-workers, and calculate on average how many of those prospects turn into residents.
- Renewal Percentage: If you’re not seeing at least 45% to 55% resident retention, there’s something wrong. Check your annual renewals and compare it to previous years to see how you’re measuring up. Tools like AppFolio’s Renewal Summary Report can simplify this process and make it easier to analyze your renewal data.
- Satisfaction with Service: In this case, service refers to maintenance and office staff. Consider sending out a Net Promoter® Score survey via email or text message to better understand your customers’ satisfaction and level of loyalty. From there you can get a better gauge for how your residents are feeling about your company.
Tips for Improving Your Customer Experience
1. Communicate Often
If you polled renters on some of the things that property management could do to improve their overall resident experience, it’s probably a good bet that communication would be pretty high up on the list. Enhancing communication and quickly resolving issues, ultimately, helps improve resident satisfaction and trust. But how can you do this most effectively? The easiest way is to use mobile communication tools, such as text messaging and email, to keep them in the loop 24/7.
A property management system like AppFolio already comes with these types of modern communication tools, so you don’t have to use different point solutions to stay connected. Send things such as late payment reminders, package delivery notifications, short-time sensitive information, maintenance reminders, and more all from your phone. In addition, you can take advantage of features such as bulk text and email, which enables you to send information and updates to your entire community all at once.
2. Make Life Convenient
Put yourself in your residents’ shoes. How difficult is it to pay rent? Do they have to come into the office to renew their lease? If they request a repair, do they have to jump through hoops to see it fixed?
Convenience is crucial when it comes to satisfaction. Which is why it’s important to implement technology that makes life easier for your residents. Look for a comprehensive system that is user-friendly and enables them to contact you and complete tasks from anywhere, on any device, at their convenience. Here are some self-service options and tools you should consider implementing to give your renters a wow experience:
- Virtual showings
- Online applications and leases
- Online resident portals
- Online rent payments
- Online maintenance requests
- Email/text message communications
- Mobile inspections
- Online lease renewals
3. Provide a Human Touch
Being a great property manager means taking the time to focus on your customers, giving them the attention they deserve. When you’re extremely busy doing tedious tasks, like manually entering applications, calling previous landlords, and entering data, you’re not focused on providing a great customer experience.
Using technology to automate some of these tasks can give your team more time to provide a personal touch with your prospects and residents. Whether that’s proactively reaching out to residents by sending personalized emails or text messages, or creating community experiences, such as an outdoor movie night or happy hour, these are just some of the ways you can humanize your customer experience.The key to creating an unforgettable customer experience starts with embracing mobile technology solutions. By making use of an all-in-one property management solution you can simplify processes, free up your team to provide higher levels of service, and increase the satisfaction of your customers. For more ideas on how you can better meet the needs of your residents take a look at this article: Closing the Gap: 3 Simple Ways to Enhance the Customer Experience.