by: Shad Bookout
Do you know your residents? I mean really know them. Sure, you originally got acquainted through the leasing process, and you see some of them at resident functions. Some of them even come in to personally deliver their rent checks. But, other than that, the only time you hear from a large portion of your community is if they have a maintenance request. But why is that? You would think that people who are spending an average of over 30 percent of their income with you would be more engaged. There are lots of reasons why many residents remain hidden in the shadows. The time has come to shine on light on the things that are important to them.
Some residents are just shy, behind-the-scenes type of people. Their motto is, if they leave you alone, then you will leave them alone. They just are not going to come to any resident events. Nor are they likely to even call the office for a maintenance item. You may only see them if they have a package delivery that they need to retrieve or at lease renewal time. They may be private, but that does not mean that they don’t have needs. Set calendar dates to send email follow-up to your silent residents. And don’t just send surveys and ask if they need anything. Send a holiday card or a little note to just say “hi”. Even getting maintenance involved can be impactful. Have them schedule “preventative maintenance” for these apartments and note that they need to give this resident a little extra TLC when they visit. All of these small things go a long way to open up these closed-off residents.
The single mom with two energetic children. The recent bitter divorcee. The super active empty nesters. Even the always-traveling executive who only comes home to put his or her head down are all examples of typical residents that only make contact with you when they need something. And there are many others. Most of us are working way over 40 hours a week, then go home to do more work. Now add in the trapping and distractions of one’s personal life, and you get a lot coming at you all at once. We often forget that our customers are as busy (if not more so) than we are. To break through the chaos and get your message through, you may need to rethink your delivery methods. Send emails early in the morning or late in the evening to insure they do not get lost in the shuffle of the workday. Stop by and knock on the door just to see if they need anything. Texting is another way to get your message to be noticed by busy residents on the go.
Even though a large part of your community may remain invisible to you does not mean they are invisible to the rest of the world. You will often hear from the residents who are the most upset. For residents who are super happy and engaged, you see them regularly and get a high five. But for all the rest (which is often the majority of the community), you have to work harder to get a response. The more active and varied you are in your communication attempts to them, the more they will have a great perception of customer service (even though they may never say so). But by ignoring them as much as they may be ignoring you, you doom yourself to eventually lose that resident for reasons you never even knew they had.
PackageLog Can Help
The package notification system – PackageLog – can be a great tool for creating new communication that your residents will pay attention to and engage with. It is way more than just a platform to announce the arrival of a resident’s package. It gives you the opportunity to send community-wide broadcast email and texts that can help engage residents. It becomes part of the lifestyle of living at your community and not only will you begin to be noticed by many of your invisible residents; they may even start of come out of their shadows for you.