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What a great conference this year in Phoenix! Incredible panels and speakers, plus an event run to perfection by Steve Lefkovits! The topic this year was “Customer First”; given that this is a topic we have been passionately talking about for over a decade, we adored having an entire conference focused on managing the resident experience and the importance of leveraging feedback in today’s ratings-obsessed world. I thought this would be the perfect time to announce a new online reputation management platform introduced by SatisFacts (sorry for the self-promotion, but given an entire conference focused on this, and our unrivaled expertise and programs, I couldn’t resist!).
SatisFacts Social Network Integration Platform (SSNIP)
- Managing Your Online Reputation Is Driven by Managing the Resident Experience
- Promote Scores, Comments Online to Boost Your Online Reputation
- Residents Will Post Positive Comments and Boost Your Online Reputation – You Just Need to Ask (http://theonlinerenter.com)
- SatisFacts Social Network Integration Platform (SSNIP)
- Post Insite® Scores and/or Comments on Major Social Tools and Sites
- PropertySolutions toolbar (scores)
- TurnSocial toolbar (scores)
- RentAdvisor (scores, comments)
- RentMineOnline (comments)
- ApartmentGrade.com (scores)
- Survey Re-Direct to RentAdvisor and ApartmentRatings.com
- “Love Your Community? Share Your Feedback Online!” – Resident Cards
- Satisfaction Award Program to Promote Online
- Post Insite® Scores and/or Comments on Major Social Tools and Sites
Check out the conference website to learn more about everything that was covered (http://www.apartmentinternetmarketing.com/2012-conference/). The beauty of the deep discussions on the panels was that everything covered can be easily applied in the real world. We just look at our clients and how they have been able to harness the power of resident feedback to not only enhance the resident experience and retention (our most recent client satisfaction survey showed our clients experience a 17 point lower resident turnover rate vs. the NAA Income and Expense Survey)…but to also utilize our reputation management programs to promote their online reputation among today’s online prospective renters.
2011 SatisFacts Client Satisfaction Survey:
Clients’ Resident Turnover Rate 17 Points Below NAA Average
96% Client Satisfaction
All this for as low as $1.25/unit/year!
I’m so excited to introduce our new VP of Education and Consulting, Lia Nichole Smith, through her first Resident Retention blog post! Talk about a Remarkable Recovery story! Welcome to the team, Lia, and thank you for sharing your experience! – Jen Piccotti
I love everything about Panera Bread. One day, I was working at a community and stopped by Panera for a quick bite and to check my email. I had never been to this particular location before and I was a little surprised at how disheveled the store appeared to be. Typically, Panera is organized and their staff is always in a serving spirit. Well, they were not very welcoming and my overall impression on this day was not a good one at all.
After placing my order, I sat down and turned on my laptop. As I opened my internet, a survey request appeared on Panera’s home page. Usually, I decline the request but on this this day, I decided to leave my comments about the store and the staff. After answering a few short questions, I clicked submit and proceeded to eat my lunch.
About ten minutes later, my cell phone rings. It was the Manager asking me if I was still in the store. I told him I was and he came out of the kitchen and sat down at my table. He sincerely apologized for my less than stellar experience and told me they were short two staff members that day and had just finished their lunchtime rush, which he attributed to the appearance of the store and the poor service of the staff. He said that while he didn’t offer that as an excuse and that every customer deserved better service, he wanted to personally let me know that this is not what Panera was all about and asked me what he could do to set things right. I told him that I didn’t want anything and that his talking to me was good enough.
He then offered me a free pastry and said to try his location again the next time I was in the area. As he walked back to the kitchen, I thought of how that short conversation was so impactful. Taking the opportunity to immediately address my concern was something he didn’t have to do. In fact, many companies never contact their customers. Not only did the conversation change my opinion of that location and its service, but what really stood out was the speed in which my survey was read and acted upon.
The services we offer at SatisFacts give our clients the opportunity to make remarkable recoveries every day. By addressing the needs and concerns of your residents you are able to show them that they are valued and appreciated. Never let a survey response go unvalidated.
Lia Nichole Smith has joined SatisFacts as Vice President of Education and Consulting. Lia has over fifteen years of experience in training, property management and marketing. After being responsible for training 1,000 Customer Care Representatives at Nextel Communications, Lia began her property management career with Lincoln Property Company. In 2006, she became Director of Training and Marketing for SPM Property Management, a 14,000+ unit portfolio; in this position, she created the SPM Academy and a Learning Management System, as well as developed and managed SPM’s resident feedback program.
Join Doug Miller for the July 21st Episode of The Retention Report on MProTV, entitled Residents Say the Darnest Things!
We can talk all we want about what matters most and what drives satisfaction and retention, but no one says it better than your residents. In this unique, live session, we’ll share real resident quotes from our Insite 365-day-per-year customer service feedback system and strategies to accentuate the positive service you and your team provide.
You’ll be blown away at how candid residents can be, but you’ll walk away with valuable tips on how to address the most common complaints!
The ability to promote being an award winning property or portfolio sure has concrete competitive advantages. Prospective residents want to live at a community where a culture of responsiveness and commitment to superior service delivery is more than just a tagline – and what better way to prove it than showing how your residents rate your performance in your resident survey and feedback programs! And potential clients and investors certainly see the value in working with an owner and/or management company that has proven its superior performance.
Four categories of resident satisfaction awards:
- Superior and Exceptional Resident Satisfaction Property Awards
- Superior and Exceptional Resident Satisfaction Portfolio Awards
- National Property Resident Satisfaction Awards
- National Company Resident Satisfaction Awards
SatisFacts Research is excited to announce the latest national resident satisfaction award winners. Putting these awards in context, SatisFacts works with well in excess of 100 companies nationally. Achieving a Superior or Exceptional award says that the company’s leadership and team members are focused on the actionable best practices that impact satisfaction and retention…and their residents are validating that point!
Doug Miller, Founder and President of SatisFacts, adds, “Having worked with millions of units over the years, we know that award winning scores accurately validate when a company and team go beyond talking about great resident service and satisfaction – but where they in fact ‘walk the walk.’” “Besides the significant impact that superior service delivery has on resident retention, and reducing costly and controllable turnover,” Miller continues, “clients with Superior and Exceptional overall scores can proudly promote a significant marketing advantage – being able to tell prospective residents that an independent third party research company reports that residents rate their performance as superior. We like to say it this way – promoting a property or company winning an award in ads is like being able to say, ‘Forget what our ad says…look at how fantastic our residents think we are.’”
“Quality assurance has always been an area of great passion, focus and attention for our clients,” adds Miller, “and as it relates to resident satisfaction surveys, our clients put their money where their mouth is, investing time and resources in measuring their performance – understanding the value of opening up the doors of communication with residents due to its impact on bottom line performance. Even more impressive than this customer service delivery focus is a never-ending desire to improve. Our clients are clearly driven to make improving service delivery an on-going process.”
While focusing on “customer” satisfaction always has a positive impact, today’s marketplace demands an even greater focus on retaining residents and protecting NOI. Jen Piccotti, SatisFacts’ VP of Consulting Services, comments, “Our clients have seen the benefit of a greater focus on not just satisfaction but also measuring it in dollars and cents. First year clients often see turnover drop by up to six points, and our seasoned clients’ average turnover is nearly ten points below the rates reported in the NAA Annual Income and Expense Report. In addition, improved satisfaction has also reduced resident resistance to rent increases. Due to the extremely high cost of turnover, this attention to retention is having a powerful impact on portfolio NOI and asset values.”
2010 National Award Winners:
Annual Survey Program Awards
- Highest Portfolio Score:
- H G Fenton and Ellis Trick Multifamily (tie)
- Award Winners (multiple portfolio categories):
- AF Evans
- Allen and Rocks
- Blue Ridge
- Churchill Residential
- Dunes Residential
- Ellis Trick Multifamily
- H G Fenton
- Legend Management
- Mission Residential
- Picerne Military Housing
- Quintus Corporation
- RedPeak Properties
- Reside Living
- Shea Properties
- Steven Scott Management
- Towne Properties
- Trammell Crow Residential
Insite™ 365 Day/year Resident Feedback Programs
- Exceptional Portfolio Score
- Superior Portfolio Score
- A.J. Dwoskin
- Bell Partners
- BH Management
- Mission Residential
- Thompson Michie
- Winn Military
- Winn Residential
- ZOM Residential Services
We’re already a month in to 2011, and there are so many reasons to be optimistic! The stock market has been on a good streak for the past week, economists are predicting more job creation, owners and managers of residential housing are excited at the prospect of being able to push rents a bit, and the SatisFacts Insite Move-In Index for year end 2010 shows that when new residents move in to their new homes, MORE of them are finding their appliances and fixtures are working properly than one year ago!
At the end of 2009, when asked if appliances and fixtures were working properly at move in, only 74% of new residents said, “Yes.” That meant that about 1 on 4 new residents moved into a problem situation. Fast forward to one year later, and we found that 79% of new residents said “Yes, our appliances and fixtures are working properly!” That’s an increase of 5 points! In other words, only about 1 in 5 residents is moving into a situation that requires an immediate service request.
The needle is moving in the right direction, and more new residents have plenty of things to be smiling about when they set foot into their new homes. Hats off to all the maintenance teams and office staff who do all they can to ensure a new resident is thrilled with the rental decision that he or she made. Research shows again and again that a resident begins to make their lease renewal decision in those first few days after move in. Congratulations on making a significant positive impact industry wide!
I’ve been on a lot of airplanes lately, and have been pleasantly content with my experiences. I have had significantly fewer delays, it seems, than in past years, and I’ve met some extremely helpful flight attendants on a number of airlines. These are all great things.
When you fly a great deal, you begin to get more picky about what airlines you fly due to mileage memberships, time tables, non-stop availability, and now, entertainment. When I have to fly more than 3 hours, I look first to JetBlue because of their DirectTV inflight entertainment. I can watch marathons of Top Chef and Tabitha’s Salon Takeover to my heart’s content – which passes the time nicely. However, when the one thing I based my airline decision upon is not available during the flight, it begins to feel like a bait and switch. On a flight to and from Chicago, my in-flight entertainment didn’t work consistently, and I spent most of the flight reading the book I had brought “just in case.” (I know, poor me.)
JetBlue sent me a survey regarding my flight to Chicago. If you send a survey to a person whose job is in the survey biz, well, let’s just say I never met a survey I didn’t fill out. So, I let them know about my disappointment in my lack of in-flight entertainment, which is a major factor in my airline decision. I also let them know that I experienced problems with it on my way home. Double whammy.
As with most surveys, I expected to never hear from them again… However, a few days later, I received this response:
Thank you for taking the time to respond to the survey you recently received regarding your JetBlue flight. We regret you were unable to enjoy our inflight entertainment on this flight and also on a previous flight, and understand how very long your flight seemed with nothing to do.
In accordance with our Customer Bill of Rights, we ordinarily issue a $15 credit; however, as you have experienced this twice, we have issued you a service credit in the amount of $30, which has been applied to your Travel Bank. This credit is available for use on future travel with JetBlue.
We thank you for choosing JetBlue and look forward to welcoming you onboard again with a comfortable experience.
My delight was in receiving a response at all! Just seeing those words of acknowledgement: We regret you were unable to enjoy our inflight entertainment…
An apology goes a long way when things don’t go as planned. Here was a plane full of expectant passengers, and things just didn’t work they way they were supposed to. Couldn’t be fixed. So, here was the organization acknowledging it and apologizing. Frankly, that’s all I wanted. The fact they gave me a little travel credit was a very pleasant surprise and tipped the balance on being willing to give them another chance.
The simple act of apologizing when a customer is upset doesn’t cost the company a thing, and (even more important) it takes the wind out the angry customer sails. They suddenly know they have been heard.
The next time an angry resident walks in the door and starts going off about how ticked they are about this situation or that situation, take a deep breath and then say (sincerely), “I’m so sorry that happened. Thank you for letting me know.” And then begin a constructive conversation about next steps or what you plan to do to safeguard against that situation happening again. Who knows. That one conversation may translate into a critical lease renewal.
The choices for student housing have changed dramatically in the past several years, and it provides a wide variety of niche opportunities for property owners in addition to an equal variety of challenges. More and more student housing operators are investing time in listening to what their students are asking for in order to capitalize on those niche opportunities, as well as reduce those challenges that often come down to miscommunication.
SatisFacts has recently unveiled our SatisFacts Student Housing Index, which offers some significant insights into the lives of students. One thing we found very interesting is that the SatisFacts Student Index overall was on average about .25 points lower than the standard SatisFacts Index. Students may have higher expectations, or maybe we’re not yet meeting those expectations. Either way, here is an excellent opportunity for improvement! As the students start moving in, what can the staff do to start this school year off on the right foot?
1. Implement a “Walk Right” final inspection for all turned rooms:
- Enter the home and follow the wall to the right: check paint, each fixture, outlet, switch, window covering, appliance, HVAC, etc. until ending up back at the front door.
- This may take up some time on the front end, but it GREATLY reduces the service request burden on the maintenance staff in those first weeks after move-in from students who find a defect that you missed.
- If the maintenance team is stretched too thin, train some of the office staff on the inspection process.
2. Create a Service Request Cheat Sheet for the student staff on the 10 most common service requests:
- Provide notes on troubleshooting (where is the reset button the the garbage disposal?) as well as what details need to be collected so the maintenance team doesn’t have to play detective when they go to complete the request.
3. Set a standard of response time for resident calls and emails:
- Students, just like the rest of us, expect instant answers to questions and inquiries. And staff, just like the rest of us, have different definitions of what a “Fast” response is. The more clear the standard is, the easier it is to meet the expectation.
- Example of a response time standard: All calls and emails received by 3 p.m. will receive a same day response. Any calls and emails received after 3 p.m. will receive a response no later than 10 a.m. the following day.
“The staff was so great when I was renting here, but I haven’t heard from them since! And now they want me to renew my lease?” The decision to renew a lease begins even before a new resident moves in, and is influenced during each interaction throughout their residency. Using year-to-date results from SatisFacts Insite, a 365-day-per-year feedback program based on key events in the resident life-cycle, we will provide insights and strategies you can implement today to increase resident retention, boost net operating income, and minimize dissatisfaction in surprisingly easy ways!
Join our free online webinar on July 21st at 2pm ET (11am PT), where you will learn:
- Why each stage of the resident life cycle is so critical
- How to tweak your leasing presentation to demonstrate value for each individual prospect
- What one maintenance turnover practice to implement to achieve the perfect move-in experience
- Who really sets the stage for successful service request resolution
- When to check in with your residents to dramatically increase renewal likelihood
Since the mid 1980s Doug Miller, President of SatisFacts Research, has been involved with the marketing, research and training functions for over one million units nationwide. Doug is the multifamily industry’s leading authority on resident satisfaction research and retention – surveying hundreds of thousands of residents nationally to determine what is impacting satisfaction and the likelihood to renew…and how to use this information to reduce controllable turnover.
Jen Piccotti, VP – Consulting Services Group, has over a decade of resident loyalty and process efficiency experience. A noted author and keynote speaker in the multifamily industry, she has served as chair of the Service Quality Division for the American Society for Quality (ASQ), and has been MC for their Annual Service Quality Conference for several years running.