The tenant experience can be summarized as how the tenants feel about your property management company, and the building they live in, during every interaction throughout the tenant lifecycle. Let that sink in. EVERY interaction… From the first point of contact with your listing to every lease renewal, and everything in between.
A positive tenant experience can boost lead conversions as well as reduce turnover, while poor experiences can lead to lost opportunities, higher marketing costs and the potential for bad reviews. So, it’s important to enhance the customer experience at all possible touchpoints.
Here are seven strategies to get you started.
1. First Impressions Can Make or Break
First impressions go a long way in fostering a positive perception of your business and the building. Carefully examine the lead process to verify that it’s easy for prospects to book a tour online or get information about the unit. For instance, with LeadManaging’s scheduling tool, prospective renters can book their tours at their own convenience.
Do prospective tenants have the ability to apply for the unit online as well as sign the lease once accepted? Or do they have to fill out paperwork, and print, scan or fax documents back to the property management office? Tenant expectations have changed, and technology like online applications and lease signing provide a frictionless experience to both you and your tenants.
2. Empower Your People
Much of a tenant's experience can be directly tied back to an employee interaction. If your people don't have the tools necessary to collaborate with other team members or do their job efficiently, it can affect their ability to perform and deliver a positive customer experience.
To empower your people to delight prospect and tenants alike, ensure that:
· They aren’t hindered by low-value work. Too many property management teams find themselves stuck in the weeds, held back by tedious administrative and manual tasks that could be – and should be – automated.
· You create a customer-focussed culture. Be sure to assess if your property professionals from upper management to the frontline agents all understand your commitment to customer service, and the values of your organization.
· Collaboration is effortless. If your departments are siloed, it is increasingly difficult to deliver exceptional customer service. From the hand-off of a lead enquiry to an agent, to the ability of property managers to coordinate building inspections between tenants and inspectors – many tenant interactions require collaboration between teams and departments. Breakdowns in collaboration between property teams and tenants are the root cause for many less-than-stellar customer experiences.
3. Understand the Journey Doesn’t End
The leasing experience doesn’t come to an abrupt stop once the lease is signed. It's essential to manage both the pre-and post-lease elements of the tenant experience. While it may be tempting to focus more heavily on the interactions leading up to the signed leasing agreement, the post-lease stage is equally important to building a complete tenant experience.
It can be helpful for all members of the property management team to visualize the customer experience by mapping out the client journey across all lead/tenant touchpoints. Beside each touchpoint list the customer’s need and expectation. This will help to point out any gaps as well as align your team (leasing agents, marketers, property managers, etc.) on how they need to perform at each touchpoint.
4. Improve Communication
The old adage “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” has stood the test of time for a reason – it’s true! When there are unforeseen maintenance issues, tenants want to know what’s happening and when something will be repaired. Leverage a communications solution to talk to tenants early and often in any emergency situation. It’s also essential to communicate with tenants throughout their occupancy. It’s good practice to highlight upgrades and any new building amenities to help residents to see why they should stay when the lease is up.
5. Offer Flexible Payment Options
Most tenants do not want to pay rent by cheque. And, throughout their lease, they may wish to change their payment method, paying by debit one month, and by credit card the next. By giving your renters numerous ways to pay their rent, you can not only make it much more convenient for them, but you can instantly reduce late payments. Our flexible payment system,Vista Pay allows you to collect rent online, and you can even easily divide up rent payments between co-renters, for their convenience.
6. Put the Power of Self Service in the Hands of Tenants
Tenants want to be able to solve their own issues rather than pick up the phone and call the property office. When residents can take control of things like (as mentioned above) changing rent payment methods or getting a status update on a maintenance request, it vastly improves customer satisfaction. Self-service empowers tenants to do-it-themselves whenever – and wherever – it is convenient for them.
7. Practice Appreciation
In addition to the “business as usual” communications, don’t forget to show the human side. Everyone likes to be appreciated, and little things can make a big difference. You can:
· Hand-deliver a welcome package upon tenant move-in.
· Use a tenant portal to send a birthday greeting or, for high-quality tenants, offer a perk like a free month of parking for lease renewal.
· Recognize residents who have made a difference on your community board or in your newsletter.
· Arrange a tenant appreciation event once a year in a common area.
· Follow up on repairs to ensure your tenant is truly happy with the service results. (With our Maintenance & Inspections module, it’s effortless to coordinate repairs as well as follow up and ask residents to rate their repair work.)
To discover how Property Vista can help you improve your operations and drive outstanding customer service, request a demo here or use our ROI calculator to see how you can benefit.