Last month, Josh Grillo wrote an article about the importance of not losing money on poor customer service over the phone. He wrote some great tips for owners and marketing or regional managers to implement.
The article made me think about my own experience on both sides of that equation. As a renter, I have definitely hung up the phone and thought, “there is no way I want to have to interact with that person when my toilet’s broken.”
Maybe not every renter thinks about it that directly, but the first human interaction (usually on the phone) is a significant step in the selling process. Customer service isn’t rocket science. In fact, most of us already know the basics of how we should treat people on the job, and how we want to be treated when we call a business.
It’s easy to get caught up in everything that has to be done and forget to slow down and make the person in front of you (on the phone or in person) the priority at that moment. Here are five reminders for anyone who answers the phone calls from leads:
1. Remember that the prospect is not your enemy.
Okay, so that’s an exaggeration. You probably don’t think of someone looking for an apartment as your enemy. But, maybe you’re multitasking and tired, a resident just called to complain about something out of your control, there’s maintenance requests to process and a previous resident just wrote an unfair and angry review online…but remember this person on the phone is not against you.
Don’t take all that stress into the phone conversation. Check your attitude and take a deep breath.
2. Remember to ask lots of questions.
Ask genuine questions to find out what they are looking for and what they need. The more you understand the prospect, the easier it is to present your community as the answer and solution. You have what they need. Asking questions to learn more about them also transitions nicely into asking to schedule a tour.
3. Remember to ask their name and use it when you speak to them.
Not only is this a polite habit, but it can also make a prospect feel a personal connection to you and the community. Having a personal connection is key to selling anything. I believe you can be incredible at marketing and be sincerely honest without being manipulative. You just have to care about that person and be respectful; which matters beyond fair housing.
4. Remember to be prepared and know your stuff.
You know when you go to a restaurant and you ask about the soup of the day and the waiter doesn’t know what it is? Sure, you can be patient, but in some ways, it just seems strange because knowing what’s on the menu is their job.
As a leasing agent, you must know what units you have to offer, the details of your pet policy, the square footage of bedrooms, if there are east-facing windows and the name of the nearby elementary school. Being able to quickly answer questions and concerns on the phone moves that prospect one step closer to becoming a new resident.
5. Remember that you are simply talking to a person who is looking for a home.
A home is a safe place where someone feels welcome and secure. A warm, inviting, pleasant tone can make all the difference in getting the lead to schedule a tour. Usually, people looking for apartments are exhausted with the process, have called lots of other people and their eyes have begun to glaze over when they search on Craigslist.
You can stand out from the crowd by remembering that this is an individual looking for a place to live, laugh, cook meals, celebrate, relax, decompress, and enjoy life. The more you make it easy for them to imagine feeling comfortable at your community, the more your leads will turn to leases.
What kind of person would YOU want to talk to when you’re searching for an apartment?
Since the inception of Google, its founders have been constantly improving and altering the effectiveness and method of their search engine. Another way to say this is that they regularly roll out algorithm updates that adjust website rankings, with the expressed intention of making the best content available to the people who are looking for it.
Panda, Penguin & Spring Cleaning
In February, there was Panda and now there’s Penguin, but really what you need to know is that Google has been trying to clean up web spam and give bonus points to those who create meaningful, original content and provide real value to real humans. [click to continue…]
Sometimes technology and the Internet can seem like a constantly morphing wild beast you just can’t seem to catch. You’re busy making sure apartments are occupied, accounts balanced, staff well-trained. Keeping up with the latest technology tweaks or Google’s latest algorithm changes isn’t at the top of your priority list. Nor should it be.
However, when it comes to your websites, Responsive is a word you should know. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is still fairly new, only beginning to gain mainstream traction in late 2012. RWD is the solution to the ever-expanding arsenal of devices that are able to browse the Internet. [click to continue…]
It makes me feel old that there are people alive who can vote who were born after the invention of the internet. That just seems crazy.
Anyways, here’s some fun and interesting facts I found about the Internet. Did you already know all this? Or is some of it surprising? Enjoy.
1) 80% of all emails sent are spam.
2) Recent studies show that by 2015, mobile is expected to overtake desktop use of the Internet. [click to continue…]
In 2011, I took a year off of Facebook. It was great. Sure, I missed some cute baby pictures, but really, it was sweet relief to slow the stream of content. Now, part of my job is managing multiple social media accounts and leveraging these platforms for my clients and my company, Resident360.
Honestly, social media both annoys and awes me. It really is amazing to be able to spread information, communicate ideas and connect with people instantly. But, at the same time… wow. There’s a lot of information and scrolling through it all can make me crazy.
So, what’s the point? Everything you post on your apartment community Facebook page must have value. Don’t post something just to post something. [click to continue…]
There’s a lot of chatter around current multifamily blogs and magazines questioning the value of investing time in a Facebook presence for apartment communities. My personal opinion is that it does have real value (beyond simply the obvious corresponding SEO boost) as long as you can streamline the time commitment and have a real strategy so you’re not just floundering about letting time slip away in the black hole that social media can be.
However, even more important than having a slick social media strategy is having a consistent plan to enable your residents to connect in person with their neighbors and on-site staff. You can’t make people be friends. But you can create environments that allow them the opportunity to build connections with other people in their apartment community.
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There are many strategies for posting apartments on craigslist and I think your best tactic is to always be using more than one angle. It’s not rocket science to grasp that different demographics will be drawn to different content in a title. And although we all want to rent to employed, responsible humans – that still results in a wide range of demographics.
In order to engage with as wide a range as possible, try posting for the same vacant unit with three entirely different titles. (Although I’m focusing on the title, remember that in order to avoid ‘ghosting,’ the content of the post cannot be exactly the same in all three.)
One way to approach this is to give each title a specific focus. Contine Reading →
Negative reviews on ApartmentRatings.Com, Yelp and Google Reviews can ruin more than just your ego. The last thing you want a prospective resident to see is the first line of a negative Google review when they click on your location on a Google Map. Especially when it’s something really awesome like: “DoN’t ReNt hErE!!!! It sUX.”
Although you can’t do much about former residents who think they should receive their entire deposit back, even though their cat peed on every available surface in the apartment, you can make a difference for reasonable residents by simply giving them more information so they have healthy expectations about the resident experience and the move-out experience. [click to continue…]