There are tens of millions of apartment renters nationwide. Depending on the size of your operation, thousands are most likely under your collective roof. Each of these unique individuals have expectations about the “extras” or amenities that enhance their resident experience. Consider this information from the National Multifamily Housing Council - 75% of residents in the Birmingham, Alabama area list a modular closet system as their top amenity; and 90% of residents in Kansas City list garbage disposals as their top need.
Clearly, your residents’ interests can be as varied as the cities in which they live. Outside of the basic need for a safe place to live, convenient location and fair pricing, the amenities offered within your community can have a significant impact on retention, renewals and referrals. When residents are satisfied, they don’t leave – saving you time and putting less pressure on marketing to keep occupancies and revenue optimized.
Following are five tips to help enhance your resident experience that can increase resident satisfaction, and in turn help you control costs and keep your properties running smoothly.
1. Be sure you matching your residents expectations – when and how they like.
This should go without saying, yet not all multifamily communities place an emphasis on this important piece of resident satisfaction. Your residents should be treated with respect, have a clear explanation of a problem or service and should feel like your conversations with them have exceeded their expectations. This will take additional time, but can go a long way when your residents are speaking to their friends about your communities.
Included in the exceptional customer service area, is a timely and professional response from your maintenance staff. These important people on your payroll will most likely have the most contact with your residents and in turn, become the “face” of your multifamily community. Perception is reality – maintenance staff that are dressed professionally, courteous and on time will garner resident confidence.
Finally, working closely with a contact center that prioritizes prospect/resident engagement will contribute greatly to resident satisfaction. Your contact center staff should spend time asking the right questions, actively listening to what your residents are saying and if needed, work closely with property managers to ensure a quick response time…24/7/365.
High-level customer service can have a significant impact on resident satisfaction…and satisfied residents happily stay put.
2. Make tech offerings a priority
Whether your residents are Gen Y-ers, baby boomers downsizing their home, or Millennials encountering their first apartment-living experience, technology offerings top the list of ways to improve resident satisfaction. Not offering high-speed Internet and complementary Wi-Fi in your homes can be a deal-breaker for some residents. Having the ability to pay rent online was listed as a top need for 94% of residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and a smart thermostat was high priority for 87% of residents in San Antonio.
Gone are the days of paper notices and checkbooks – it’s clear that offering the latest technological amenities to your residents is key to enhancing your current resident satisfaction, and a top priority for prospective residents as well.
3. Don’t skimp on amenities and be creative!
The amenities and extras that you offer within your community can give that extra advantage that makes your community more appealing than your competition. The National Multifamily Housing Council along with Kingsley Associates list the following Top 5 Community and Home amenities that residents want:
Top 5 Community Amenities:
- Fitness Center
- Secured Community Access
Top 5 Home Amenities:
- High-Speed Internet
- Walk-in Closet
- Soundproof Walls
- Patio or Balcony
- Washer/Dryer in Unit
Don’t limit your creativity! Car or bike sharing services, a yoga studio, or community events will enhance the resident experience and score a few extra points toward keeping residents happy.
4. Talk openly about pricing and consider a renewal bonus
As mentioned above, one big part of ensuring resident satisfaction is fair pricing. Your residents will expect the price of your community to be in line with going rates in similar neighborhoods. Don’t be afraid to discuss price. Honesty and respectful discussion will go a long way toward resident satisfaction.
To show your appreciation for residents as they approach their lease renewal date, consider offering a bonus to your residents who decide to renew their lease. A gift card to a local restaurant or a free membership to a local gym might tip the scales in your direction.
5. Communicate with your residents
The importance of communicating with your residents about your properties, especially the ways that you stand out from your competition, cannot be overstated. Come up with a strategy that best fits you for communicating with residents. Enlist the help of a CRM, like ShowPro or a few social media sites, like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. This way, you can provide information on regular maintenance, new and available units, unexpected property hiccups or even something as simple as a weekly recipe. Residents that receive relevant, consistent communication from you are satisfied.
There you have it – a solid list of ways to enhance your resident’s experience. When residents have great experiences, they are satisfied with their home. And for you, resident satisfaction positively impacts resident retention and renewal. Long-term residents within your multifamily units help you effectively manage costs and increase your overall profitability. Sounds like a win-win for everyone!