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The 10 Commandments of Modern Customer Service

10 Commandments Customer Service

As a property manager, it’s up to you to ensure that your employees provide inscrutable customer service to the renters who provide your cash flow. In this digital age, that might mean a completely hands-off policy for some issues.

Here are 10 updated commandments of customer service to help landlords and employees better serve their tenants:

  1. Don’t waste their time with maintenance issues. More than 90 percent of residents surveyed in a recent study said this is the number-one thing they should be able to do through a web portal.
  2. Customize communications. Post the notices on bulletin boards, but have tenants tell you whether they prefer Facebook, email, text, or robocalls for their notices, as well. Then use those resources to communicate with tenants where they feel most comfortable.
  3. Put all your paperwork online. From pre-qualifications to lease renewals, potential residents want to be able to fill out forms and send them in electronically. Make it easy.
  4. Provide mobile options. Establish yourself as a mobile-friendly community with an app, QR codes throughout your property, and a mobile feedback option to engage your tenants.
  5. Complete repairs quickly. This goes without saying, but it means that electronic requests need to get to your maintenance crews without delay, so streamline that process as you implement it.
  6. Establish clear policies, and enforce them. One bad tenant can spoil the renting experience for everyone else, so be clear about consequences and follow your own policies.
  7. Mind the parking lot. Parking is a make-or-break amenity to modern renters, so make sure their space is available to them when they need it. Act quickly to rectify parking issues.
  8. Communicate regularly. Don’t always be the bearer of bad tidings: send those text messages or robocalls with tips, community event announcements, and other helpful tidbits on at least a weekly basis.
  9. Stay positive. Even when dealing with late rent, it’s possible to handle it without rudeness. Be clear with your staff that rudeness to tenants is never okay.
  10. Be approachable. Conduct semiannual surveys and ask residents what they’d like to see in their community, and then, when possible, provide it.

When it comes to showing tenants respect and maintaining the best customer service standards, Class A Management has experts who want to help you develop a strategy. Call us today at 817-284-1411 or e-mail info@classamgmt.com.

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The Multifamily Podcast

The Multifamily Podcast

“Gone are the days where you produce content and you throw it up on the blog or you put it on social media and people come. Those days are over!” – Tami McQueen, Director of Marketing for Triblio

While throwing content out on social media to see what sticks isn’t a winning strategy anymore, people still expect content. They still want information, want to understand your level of expertise on their topic of interest, and they want to know you care. They just want you to be a lot more deliberate and strategic about how provide it.

Podcasts are a great tool for achieving this objective, and are something even property owners/managers can put to good use. A podcast is “a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.” A podcaster will typically design a channel or show (Class A Management’s Multifamily Show) and then post individual podcasts, or episodes, to that channel/show.

Once you’ve got your channel up and running, its time to develop content. And, if you think tenants and prospects wouldn’t want to listen to their apartment complex’s podcast, you’re wrong. The reason podcasts are becoming increasingly popular is for their ability to directly tap people into topics of interest. So, consider these opportunities for episode topics:

  • News and updates
  • Local community events
  • Crime watch and awareness
  • Focus on family
  • Renovations and repairs
  • Policy changes

You could even take the opportunity to offer bonus classes/lessons/offerings on topics tenants want to learn more about that tap into the talents and knowledge of staff and other tenants (art, photography, etc.). Such a great way to tap into the trend of offering more in your amenity package!

Ready to create your property’s very own podcast? Lifehacker has a great step-by-step tutorial you can follow by clicking here.

Interested in more suggestions like this? Our professionals know multifamily marketing. Contact us today at 817-539-6787 or by email to info@classamanagement.com.

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Tenant Turnover in Texas

Tenant Turnover in Texas

One of the last things a property owner or manager wants to talk or think about is tenant turnover. This is especially true when it means losing tenants to home purchases. Yet, the best thing you can do for your property is understand market patterns so that you can adequately prepare rather than react.

The following infographic was designed by SmartAsset, an online site full of highly personalized, interactive tools to help people make financial decisions easier. It shows the number of years a person should rent in certain cities before it is smarter to buy. As it would turn out, the major cities in Texas of Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, all made the list, and all fall into the category of ‘less than 5 years.’

What this means for renters is that purchasing a home makes more sense than renting after only 3.2 years in Dallas, 3.7 years in Austin, and 4.2 years in both San Antonio and Houston.

SmartAsset-Home-Buyers-Map

What this means for property owners in these cities is that you have a unique opportunity to leverage this information to your advantage. Knowing that the ‘average’ tenant lifecycle in Dallas could/should be 3.2 years, you can create a business and marketing plan to reflect the same, building-in a budget and tactics with appropriate objectives in mind.

Need some help? We love this stuff. Give the professionals at Class A Management a call today to learn more about our services. Call us at 817-539-6787 or send an email to info@classamanagement.com.

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Amenity Trends in 2016

Amenity Trends in 2016

What do you think of when you hear the following list: spacious floor plans, luxurious swimming pools, and Wi-Fi? If you said ‘amenities,’ you are correct. If you said ‘what renters want,’ you are incorrect. Shocked? The truth is, while these amenities are desirable to tenants, the list of what tenants look for in a property has grown considerably over just the last couple of years.

As Millennials continue to add to the population of today’s renter profile, we see an evolution in property requirements that more closely aligns with the values, beliefs, and preferences of this generation. These youngsters value community over personal space, giving over taking, and the environment over personal effects—all of which are reflected in today’s rental amenity trends.

A recent Multifamily Executive article defines this trend, to include examples of the lengths to which certain properties are going to capitalize on these trends. This includes:

  • Community gardens where residents can enjoy locally-sourced foods, working with their hands, making a contribution, and even giving to those who are less fortunate.
  • Communal spaces where residents can come together to mix, mingle, cook, eat, and more.
  • Learning opportunities, such as onsite cooking, art, and exercise classes.
  • Roof-top living, to include space for swimming, meeting, relaxing, and even gardening.
  • Pet-friendly focus, with spaces and activities designed for four-legged tenants.
  • Environmentally-friendly and fit-focused transportation, such as custom bike racks.

And, why not? The article notes that “amenities have grown in popularity so much over the past decade that renters will opt for smaller units if they feel they can make up for the loss of personal space by spending time using well-designed community spaces.”

The key is to remember that you don’t need an astronomical budget to pull off some of these ideas. A creative look at your existing resources and space is all that’s needed. Have a common area in the front office? Consider offering onsite classes. Have a common outdoor area that’s safe and easily accessible? A community garden may be just what your property needs. Remember: creativity is key.

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Top 8 Rental Trends in Multifamily

How are renters finding your property? What is influencing their decision? What are they looking for? These are all questions a recent survey by Multi-housing News (MHN) was designed to answer. Its results reveal the following top 10 trends in the multifamily rental process:

  1. Ratings & Reviews. Managers and owners tend to fear review sites. After all, anyone can post, and that includes evicted tenants with an ax to grind. But, research reveals that fifty-two percent of prospects go to review and rating sites as a first step in their apartment search process, while seventy-eight percent of renters use these sites to gather property information. Therefore, having a review page that is updated and representative is necessary.
  2. Top Sites. Wondering which sites are most relied-upon? Results reveal the most-visited sites to be com, Yelp, and Google.
  3. Social Media. While residents tend to like social media-based communication from and about their property, prospective tenants do not tend to consider it as part of their search.
  4. Top 3 Sources. Remaining virtually unchanged since 2012, the top 3 lead sources include Internet Listing Sources, drive-by, and word of mouth.
  5. Desktop Dependency. While mobile becomes increasingly popular, it’s not at the expense of desktop use. Sixty-two percent of residents still use and prefer their desktop computers for use in their apartment search efforts.
  6. Brand Recall Issue. If you’re worried about the brand recall of ILSs, consider these stats: “In 2015, Generic Internet search has more than doubled since 2012 (2015: 23 percent, 2012: 10 percent). Apartments.com (26 percent) and ApartmentFinder.com (23 percent) are the two most widely reported ILSs for apartment search.”
  7. Website Design. While parallax websites are all the rage, prospective renters say they aren’t necessary. They are searching specifically for unit and price information. Instead of a high-tech design, keep it simple while instead providing extras such as high quality photos, virtual tours, and online applications.
  8. Generation Considerations. It comes down to this: Know your audience. Baby Boomers design peace and quiet, while Millennials prefer community and value for price. Make sure you use the right language.

For more information and to read the full article, visit MHN.