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Resident Empathy and Communication Key During Covid-19

June 30, 2020

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There’s a good side and bad side to most every apartment property action, and research and resident reviews expert Mindy Price of J Turner Research shared trending topics in the Covid-19 era as part of a June 2020 Speedy Session webinar.

Residents are paying attention to how you are addressing your handling of Covid-19 processes such as cleaning and social distancing.

Communities should describe and demonstrate the precautionary steps they are taking due to Covid-19 to prospective residents before and after the self-guided on in-person virtual tour and what they’ll be doing prior to move-in. Those that are will create really strong and positive impressions.

And, doing this will make many residents think about how seriously the other apartments they are considering are doing in response. If those others did not convey a detailed plan and sincere message of cleanliness and precautionary measures they are taking, they possibly will be crossed off the list.

Onsite Attitude Creates Resident Gratitude

Residents are complimenting staff by name when those staff members show concern for health and safety of the residents. That’s a good thing. But they are also calling out a lack of action – or bad actions -- by name.

Residents are thankful for any rent deferment or fee-waiving you offer. But some have noted that there’s been some lack of sensitivity from apartment staff, complaining that all the property cares about is money.

We know you have a business to run, but onsite staff need to put themselves in their residents’ shoes. They are suffering. Conveying that, “We’re all in this together” is a winning message.

To address online reviews, make sure you have someone assigned to continually monitor review comments and respond. Have basic response language in place, but make sure it’s not a cut-and-paste response. It needs to be customized. And it’s important to post a comment that not only addresses the resident, but also reads like something that would resonate with a prospective resident, because these public message boards will be seen by them as well.

Maintenance Checklists: Let Residents Know

Residents who needed duties from their move-in checklist might have had that work delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions. Make sure you are communicating with them on the status of these fixes. If possible, send them a DIY video or FaceTime with them on how to take care of things.

We’re seeing noise and pet waste complaints going up during this work-from-home environment because so many people are spending much more time in their apartments.

At the end of the day, communication is key. The how’s and why’s need to be clearly explained to residents. Use the 3Cs – Communication, Consistency, and Clarity to engage with residents and prospects.