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The Resident Customer Experience Starts With a Working Website

July 30, 2020

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Does your own website work? It’s worth checking today. And every month or so, says Mindy McCorkle, Chief Enhancement Officer, Enhancement Talent Development.

McCorkle addressed that and other 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.

User Acceptance Testing. Does your website ‘work’? McCorkle encourages onsite staff to visit their own website and check to see how long it takes to load, or how difficult it is to do basic things such as enter a work order, pay rent? Does your website load too slowly? Test everything. And then, go back later and test it again.

Self-Serve ‘Live.’ Businesses are realizing now that consumers prefer a “self-serve” customer experience. She says 64 percent of consumers prefer self-service. Additionally, people who interact online prefer a live chat option. Not chat-bots, but a real person to interact with. Apartment communities’ problem is that most only offer this during working hours.

Visual decision making. So, you want your residents to envision what it’s like to live there. Trendy techies seek inventive virtual alternatives. But you don’t have to have VR (virtual reality) equipment to get it done. Here’s an easy step: Don’t give them images or videos of empty units. Where’s the emotion in that? Be sure to include furnishings in any image or video you use.

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For example, the most subtle things you can add to customize videos or virtual tours help so much. If the community knows the prospect owns a dog, swap out the boring shoe rack on the floor in the hallway near the kitchen with a fancy food-water bowl.

Another: When one leasing agent realized the prospect went to the University of Georgia, she grabbed her Bulldogs coffee cup and carried it around throughout the tour. This made a huge impression.

Connection Continuum. When following up with prospects, use a bold, fresh or even unusual highlights. Maybe reply to them with a TikTok or a Boomerang. If you’re sending an e-card, use PunchBowl. You can even try a hand-written thank-you note. Make sure to put it in a colorful envelope and enclose a Polaroid-style photo of something you know they enjoyed during their tour.

Oops. My bad. When inevitable snafus occur, make the effort to replace any irritation caused with something pleasant.

For one renewing resident, she was sent the wrong (much higher) new rent rate. The resident was stunned and brought this to the property manager’s attention. It certainly was squared away and the manager gave the resident a $5 Starbucks gift card. Just showing the resident that you’ve admitted mistake and cared enough to make it right means a lot.

Main Photo by Ruben Mishchuk on Unsplash