In the leasing office, we’re often taught that getting leases signed is our #1 priority. But what happens after the lease is signed? Do we focus on customer service with our renters throughout the year as much as we did initially? If not, we could be sabotaging our chances of resident renewal! Apartments.com was joined by Jen Piccotti, Senior VP of Education and Consulting, and Lia Smith, VP of Education and Consulting, of SatisFacts to help us learn how we can better retain residents by shifting our priorities to focus on retention first and leasing second – 275 days a year!
Okay, okay – what’s the big idea with 275 days a year? Isn’t resident retention important the entire year? Yes, it is! However, from the time a resident moves in to the time they receive their first renewal notice (about 90 days prior to lease expiration), there are 275 days. This means you have 275 days – or opportunities– to lease to current residents. Here are a few thoughts Jen and Lia shared with us during the webinar:
Pay attention to the real retention drivers. Many times what we think is most important to renters (resident parties, new amenities, etc.) really isn’t! In fact, SatisFacts found that four out of five of the most important things to residents have to do with service, including how quickly you follow up with residents, how quickly service requests are completed and how courteous and professional the leasing staff is to residents. (Want the full list? Watch the webinar!)
Pay attention to the residents you don’t hear from often. These residents still weigh customer service as a major factor in their renewal decision. They might not come into your office to catch up as often as some residents, but they find more value in the little things, like greeting them when they walk in, holding their packages while out of town, even amenities like free wi-fi make an impact!
Stop playing the price match game! The more you focus on what the community down the street is offering, the more you will draw your focus and priorities away from service and values. Don’t let it happen! Keep your focus on demonstrating value and signing the lease will come naturally.
Make it easy to be a resident. What are your resident’s getting when they live at your community? Make them feel like a VIP by greeting them by their first name. I understand it’s hard to remember everyone’s name, but this personal recognition makes your residents feel important and recognized. Even when it comes to maintenance, residents want follow-ups to service requests and a hand getting tough projects complete. A simple status call on a project goes a long way!
Sometimes the littlest things make the biggest impact. Follow up and follow through with your residents 275 days a year and the final stretch to 365 will be a breeze! To learn more, watch the full webinar recording, and view all of our previous webinars on the Apartments.com Training Series Live! page. If you have any questions or comments, tweet them to @Apartmentscom, using the hashtag #AptsTraining, or leave them in the comments section below.
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