The Pew Research Center just came out with a new study. You may have read about in the paper over the weekend. It takes a look at the trends of what we (Americans) consider luxuries versus necessities. Some of the more interesting findings, from a property management and owner perspective, is that there are some things that are falling from that “necessity” list. Air conditioning, for example, fell 16 points on the necessity scale compared to it’s 2006 rating. The microwave fell 21 points. High speed internet, however, increased by 2 points, and the cell phone remained steady with 50% of Americans considering it a necessity.
Given our swift and drastic shift toward all things online, it is imperative we keep up with these preferences – especially when we see that it’s not a matter of “Nice to have” (aka “Luxury”) but of “Need to have” (aka “Necessity”). Please realize that a cell phone is no longer just a phone. All cell phones can send and receive emails via the text message function. Many cell phones have web browsers where residents (and prospects) can view web sites, check their bank account balances, shop for shoes, and conduct all manner of business with you. The question is, are you ready?
Based on our resident survey results, email has become far and away the preferred method of communication with the leasing office. In 2007, 30% of residents preferred this communication method. In 2008, this number jumped to 59%! Resident preferences are changing quickly and dramatically! The next most popular method of communication is the cell phone, which was at just over 17% in 2007 and is now at 38%. The thing is, cell phone and email are becoming synonomous. They will soon be one and the same, so it’s imperative that you are consistently asking for and confirming that what is in the property management system is indeed the “best” phone number and the “best” email address to contact your resident. The current national average of 15% email coverage is not going to cut it, folks.
Sing it with me:
And I want…
And I need…
And I love (yes, I tweaked the lyrics a bit)…
Sorry Def Leppard. I couldn’t resist.
Jen Piccotti is the VP Consulting Services with Satisfacts Research.