How Will You Survive a Changing Market in a Slowing Economy? By I.T. Partners Courtesy of For Rent Publications
Changing Market 9-11-01 Surplus of A+ Communities Slowing Economy Lower Interest Rates Excessive Incentives Resident Turnover
Slowing Economy Higher Unemployment Lower Retail Prices Corporate Downsizing Wage and Benefit Caps
Uncertainty creates an opportunity to re-examine our productivity. An opportunity to rebuild our strategy.
What is the margin of difference between an apartment community that is financially healthy and one that is not?
How Can We Work Smarter in 2002? Create and maintain a positive work environment with a learning mentality Continually search for and refine our competitive edge – then promote it. Figure out how we can deliver customer satisfaction Define what our customers think and feel Create and maintain systems that consistently deliver superior service
Whose home is it anyway? Our residents are always our customers We need to serve our customers better to retain them longer. We need a competitive edge to recruit new customers on a consistent basis
By allowing our customers to lead we can design a leasing strategy that will optimize any economic condition.
How do our customers think and feel? We have to listen to learn what they think. We have to connect in order to empathize with how they feel.
Do our customers like technology? YES NO • Quick response • Prefer human interaction • Easy answers to some questions and concerns • Poor substitute for personal service • Ready access to current information • Enjoy the customer relationship
Permission Selling Memory Point Marketing Customer-Friendly Transitions Point of Service
On-site Merchandising Service Encounters Outreach Marketing
Attitude in Action It’s your attitude, not your aptitude that counts. Everything else you can learn. Show that you genuinely care
Attitude in Action Our customer service representatives are the on-site team.
Attitude in Action Customer relationship management is good business. Our goal as a company is to be the best.
Attitude in Action Remember the first rule in customer service is: treat other people the way you want to be treated.
Product/Market Knowledge • Know the $$ rental value of each feature-benefit at your community. • Understand the comparable feature-benefits of competitive apartment communities.
Product/Market Knowledge • Be able to sell the rental rate at your apartment community on the basis of feature-benefits and comparison with the competition
Product/Market Knowledge • Accomplish the analysis by computing the per square foot rental rate of the following:* • Each apartment home • Each feature-benefit • Capital expenditures • Rental increases
Product/Market Knowledge * Note: This is done by dividing the square footage of the apartment home into the dollar amount. Example: You raise the rent $40 on an 800 square foot apartment that was previously $600. The rental increase is 5 cents per square foot. The previous rent was 75 cent per foot. It will now be 80 cents per foot
$$ Value of Feature Benefits • Interior Upgrades • Internet Access – DSL/Cable • Intrusion Alarm • Microwave • Multiple Phone Lines • Patios/Balconies/Enclosed • Resident Services • Theater • View • Washer/Dryer • W/D Connections • Air Conditioning – Central • Business Center • Carport • Ceiling Fans • Complete Spa/Gym • Concierge • Dishwasher • Floor Level • Garage Attached/Detached • Gated Community
$$ Value of Feature Benefits – Notes To utilize this form as an effective marketing tool, you need to convert the dollar value of competitive features into price per square foot. Example: You have attached garages at a community. By shopping the competition and surveying your customers, you determine that this feature should have an assigned value of $150 per month. If your apartment homes are 1000 square feet, you divide the square footage into the assigned value ($150 divided by 1000 sq. ft.). In this example, the calculation might tell you that apartment homes with attached garages could be getting 15 cents more per square foot than other apartment homes without this feature. There are many ways to utilize this additional knowledge.
Customer Interaction Unlike other service interactions, your customer doesn’t go away once the transaction is complete. You continue to be involved in the customer’s daily life. What binds your resident to the community is service, information and the feeling that he or she is valued and appreciated. Keep in mind that the way a customer is treated makes all the difference when the lease renewal rolls around. You and your customer are both involved in the community that brought you together. To you it is a business. To them it’s home. Always take the extra step. It makes a difference!
Value Added Service • Consistently exceed expectations • Manage expectations • Understand your business strengths • Focus on what matters to your customer
Value Added Service • Responsiveness and empathy adds value • Value your customer • Offer assurance • Pay attention to details • Create connections
What Can We Do To Add Value To Our Services Basic Expected Exceed Unique
Customer Satisfaction You are in business for your customers and because of your customers
Customer Satisfaction Standards must be set high for the front-line employee who has constant customer contact.
Customer Satisfaction One of the key elements in managing successful customer relationships is learning how to satisfy the customer.
You can’t beat consistent follow-up as a leasing strategy Daily schedule for Follow-up
Includes phone follow-up, e-mail updates and handwritten thank-you cards.
Separate follow-up programs for: • Potential residents • Referral sources • Existing residents
Make your leasing follow-up more compelling • Photos • Floor plans • Resident testimonials • Maps • Driving directions • Links to your website • Other sources of information E-mail attachments
Utilize your website as a marketing showroom • Site maps • Neighborhood maps • Floor plans • Comparison information • Move-in packet Store important customer information to download upon request as needed
Customer-Friendly Transitions • The re-contact of a completed application is timely and courteous. • Helpful information and tips are provided including: Neighborhood map, change of address cards, phone numbers and addresses for utilities, truck rental, mini-storage, furniture rental, cable connection, newspaper delivery, local banks, post office, shopping, schools.
Customer-Friendly Transitions • Create posted “feature-benefit messages” throughout their new apartment home. • The lease and other documents for review are completely prepared and reviewed with the new resident. The review should include: what is required, why it is required and how it benefits the new resident.
Customer-Friendly Transitions • Create posted “customer tips” and “how-to-use” messages to refer to and demonstrate during “move-in” inspection with new resident. Recommendation: leasing specialists carry a “sparkle kit” with cleaning supplies to put finishing touches on items inside home. • Introduction to service technician and service request process during “move-in” inspection. Example: resident is given a refrigerator magnet with service contact information.
Customer-Friendly Transitions • Measure customer satisfaction of “move-in” process with a survey and a gift. • Continue resident communication throughout the lease term. • Fully utilize monthly rental payment, service requests and other encounters to measure and extend customer satisfaction.
Customer-Friendly Transitions • Upon receipt of a move-out notice conduct a “walk through” and customer satisfaction survey. Provide a “cost of moving” worksheet and a checklist of moving tips. Find out what, if anything, could be done to keep the resident. • Consider upgrade options that might retain an existing resident or attract a new resident.
Customer-Friendly Transitions • Conduct and fair and timely “move-out” inspection with clear communication to resident. Consider “move-out” gift and referral program. • Measure customer satisfaction of “move-out” process with a survey. Consider a comparison survey with other apartment communities.
Customer-Friendly Transitions • Regularly summarize experiences, survey information and customer comments as feedback to the entire team and to individuals where appropriate. Consider utilizing results and specific comments in marketing materials and/or sales presentations.
For Emergencies Phone 000-0000 Your community name & logo here For routine service calls, please complete and submit this card to the office. Your Service Technician is: Your community name, address, city, state, zip & business phone Service Request Card(front side) Develop various tools to make it simple for residents to file a service request. Remember, each service call is an opportunity to solidify your relationship with the resident and encourage resident retention.
Date Name Building Address/Apartment # Phone where you can be reached : Home Work Thank you for taking the time to let us know about your service needs. For prompt attention, please turn in you request before 12:30 p.m. Please do not attempt to make the repairs yourself. Our trained technicians are ready to meet your service needs. Thank you. Service Request Card(back side)
Welcome to your new home. Please feel free to contact us so we may provide ongoing customer service. Betty Mary Jesse Mike Personal Notes HandwrittenWelcome
Personal Notes HandwrittenWelcome • Handwrite a welcome note 4-7 days after the resident moves in.
Welcome Home! Your Carpet was cleaned by: Questions or comments, Call: Welcome Home Notes • Utilize as a message from anyone who helped prepared the apartment for move-in. Create as a tent card or door hanger. Examples would include: housekeepers, carpet cleaners, painters, etc.
Welcome Home! Your Service Request Was completed by: Questions, Comments Or Concerns, Please Call: Welcome Home Notes • Utilize as a message from anyone who entered the apartment home while the resident was away. Created as a tent car or door hanger.
Welcome Home! Several Operating Instructions for your 1. 2. 3. Questions, comments or concerns, Call: Welcome Home Notes • Utilize as a message from the service team outlining operating instructions. Create as a decal or magnet in the general location of the appliance. Examples would include garbage disposal, dishwasher, heater, air conditioner, etc.