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Blog Image December 27, 2018

Mastering the Art of Consistent Communication Through the Entire Resident Lifecycle

What does customer service mean to you? Don't worry - this is not a loaded question, but rather a solid starting point for one of the most crucial facets of professional property management: maintaining the lines of communication throughout the entire resident lifecycle.

Most of us envision lead nurturing as something that only happens while attempting to reach prospects. However, modern marketing managers know that communication is the key to not only converting prospects to residents, but also limiting turnover by retaining existing residents.

Think of creating efficient lines of communication as a process you'll utilize to ensure continual customer satisfaction, while keeping your service skills sharp and encouraging resident retention, which will do wonders for your profit margin. Yes, there is an art to building great communication skills, but it's one that can be learned. Here are our most effective tips for maximizing relationships at every stage of the resident lifecycle.

Communicate With Potential Leads

We don't need to remind you that competition is fierce in many markets today. People are now renting at unprecedented numbers and face an increasing array of rental options-both of which show no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Now is the optimal time to ensure that your lead strategy provides prospects with the information they need to make an informed decision to lease at your community.

Understand that time is not on your side when it comes to lead conversion. Ironically, a recent study stated that 40 percent of prospects never receive a single response from property management, noting the apartment industry is one of the worst offenders when it comes to maintaining lead funnels. Through utilizing modern apartment marketing websites, equip with tour forms, waitlists, and digital applications, which feed directly into Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, managing leads should no longer be a complicated task.

Additionally, today's renter expects reputable brands to seamlessly connect with them in the digital world. In following the marketing rule to "be everywhere your target audience is," leverage all communication at your disposal such as social media; it is an excellent way to engage with potential residents. By utilizing content marketing to post updates that resonate with your target audience, including local events happening in and around your community, you will enable potential residents to get a greater feel for the neighborhood.

Lock Down That Lease

Did you know that successful leads receive an average of ten points of contact before they convert to a customer? But according to one study, almost half of all marketers include less than five points of contact within their lead nurturing plans. What's worse, roughly 50 percent of all multifamily marketers don't use a CRM system, and 30 percent admit to following up with leads just once before moving on.

Don't prematurely dismiss a prospect. Besides squandering a hard-won lead, not handling communication matters with care reflects poorly on your team's customer service abilities. Instead of barreling through new prospective leads, embrace polite persistence and deliver the suggested ten touchpoints with every lead. That's right - every single lead. Need ideas that extend past the introductory response? Send prospects further amenity details, inquire about their move-in concerns, or take a moment to further describe the surrounding neighborhood. Don't be afraid to ask them to take the next step by inviting them to apply online. With some professional decorum in place, you can customize your touchpoint approach however you see fit. It's all about personalization.

Once you've fine-tuned your communication strategy, it is then time to organize your efforts within a comprehensive CRM platform . Trust us - a high-dollar, lead generating strategy will not amount to much unless you are also diligently tracking each interaction you make. Utilizing CRM will help you document outreach efforts, track feedback, and note other important information regarding your prospects.

Promote Lasting Resident Retention

The prospect you have been pursuing for weeks just signed a lease with your community. Congratulations are certainly in order, but don't forget that one of the most overlooked aspects of the resident lifecycle is promoting retention. While new, hot leads may hog most of your team's attention, engaging in positive interactions with current residents encourages retention, which in turn reduces costs associated with resident turnover. Better yet, they help your team identify areas for improvement over time.

Like prospects, current residents will expect convenient communication with your team members. Utilizing an online resident portal is the most efficient way to foster open communication and handle traditionally high-labor tasks such as rent payments or service requests. Considering that maintenance and communication concerns often directly impact lease renewal decisions, a modern and mobile-friendly platform designed to expedite these tasks will be well-received.

Finally, never underestimate the power of asking for a resident feedback. Regularly surveying your residents makes them feel recognized and appreciated. Plus, it arms you with important information to improve overall operations. While we trust that your professional property management team works hard to optimize the resident experience, you never know what you will learn from an unfiltered resident survey. After all, your community is only worth the value it provides to your residents.

At every step of the resident lifecycle, there are opportunities to employ an effective communication strategy, which will relay your apartment community's commitment to stellar service and in turn, resident satisfaction. With a little elbow grease, you can maximize your lead flow, boost signed leases, and establish brand ambassadors by giving prospects and residents what they desire most: a dedicated team with open ears that are present throughout the entire resident lifecycle.

About The Author

Kait Spong is a digital marketing expert and seasoned technical writer with a M.A. in English. She is the Marketing Director at 365 Connect, the leading provider of award-winning marketing, leasing, and resident service platforms for the multifamily housing industry.

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