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Residents

How to Improve the Customer Experience at Apartment Communities

July 14, 2020

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Customer service is not customer experience. This is something that companies in many industries fail to realize, Mindy McCorkle, Chief Enhancement Officer at Enhancement Talent Development, says.

Customer experience (CX) takes into account far more than basic communications with the customer. She says that CX is critical in property management because:

  • 86 percent of people will pay more to ensure a better customer experience
  • One-third of people will make a switch after just one bad customer experience

She told of how one friend, a renter, struggled with the rent-payment software used by her community. “She loved her apartment and community, but got fed up with trying to understand it and eventually moved,” McCorkle says. “So, it could something as simple as that.”

McCorkle addressed strategy for improving customer experience recently during her Webinar Wednesday session “8 Free and Inexpensive Strategies to Enhance the Resident Experience” hosted by www.multifamilyinsiders.com. Among points she made:

Positive Thoughts

As we fight through the struggles of Covid-19, “we’re all overwhelmed with emotion right now, and most of it is with negative thoughts,” she says. “Customers are hungry for something positive, so feed it to them. This helps you to connect with them on a positive level, which will, in turn, make them loyal to you.”

Positivity can come from the words you choose. Consider rewording the most common replies and comments. For example, instead of “Thanks for stopping by” try “I appreciate you sharing part of your day with me.”

A word cloud created by positivewordresearch.com shows some of the most positive words to use are: Joy, Interest, Hope, Pride, Serenity, Cheerfulness, Awe, Kindness, Surprise, Gratitude, Amusement and Admiration.

Know Your Audience

McCorkle urges apartment owners and managers to understand their broader audience.

For example, in a worldwide survey by Oracle, 80 percent of businesses’ upper management say that they felt their customer experience was “superior” and only 8 percent of its customers graded them as high as “good.” That’s a disconnect.

She cites the 20-80 rule that says that just because 20 percent of the crowd feels one way, it doesn’t mean the other 80 percent agree.

Tell Me What You Really Think

Communities can conduct resident surveys to measure how well their CX is going. But keep in mind, she says, “for every one person who grades something either at extreme high or extreme low, there are 3 to 5 others who feel the same way. It means that if one resident loves what you’re doing, there are many others who agree. However, if one feels like you are failing, there are others thinking that way, too.”

Act on the feedback the surveys produce. “If many residents are pointing to a negative, you need to address it,” McCorkle says. “It’s no good if you are told your residents are unhappy about something, but then you don’t fix it. Don’t be an onsite staff that says, ‘I’m not going to bring it up, because my boss won’t care or won’t approve (pay for) what it takes to fix it.’ So, they don’t bring it up.”

Photo by Celpax on Unsplash