Company News

Getting Inside the Head of the Online Renter

by Michelle N. on 8/19/2014 9:27:11 AM

We rely on our Maintenance Teams to keep everything on site up and running. From the simplest tasks to complex mechanical systems, they have a tool for every job, and they get the job done. But, have we ever considered our Maintenance Program being used as a tool to improve resident retention?  We recently came across this article, which was originally published in the 2012 SatisFacts Research-published ebook, “Getting Inside the Head of the Online Renter.” The importance of maintenance in a resident’s decision to renew is often overlooked, but the facts point to maintenance being among the most important factors for renewals, and the article below provides some great advice for developing a strategy to use great maintenance service as a retention tool. For more ideas on how to maximize the efficiency of your maintenance program, reach out to the team at Buyers Access – we’ve been helping our clients develop cost effective, efficient maintenance programs for over 30 years.

Believe it or not, the service your maintenance team provides to your residents is more important to resident retention than perks and parties, the appearance and condition of their apartment home, and even the desire for more parking.

Knowing that maintenance teams play such a critical, yet often overlooked role in the lease renewal process, here are four tips that successful property management teams can apply to leverage this important asset and improve resident retention:

1. Identify Common Property Maintenance Service Requests
As an entire team, sit together and identify the 10 most common service requests at your community. For each of those 10, identify if there is a troubleshooting tip the office can suggest to the resident to see if they can resolve it on their own (i.e., reset button on garbage disposal or outlet), and define five key questions the maintenance team would like you to ask regarding that service request to get the best detail possible.

2. Follow Up on Every Property Maintenance Service Request
Follow-up on every completed service request, whether by phone, email, or follow-up survey. Be sure to ask, “Did we complete everything to your expectation?” and “Is there anything else we can do for you?”

3. Introduce Property Maintenance Service Team Members by Name

During tours, if you see a maintenance team member, introduce them by name to the prospect and give some highlights about them such as, “Joe’s been taking care of this community for nine years now” or “Jackie and her team are usually able to resolve any service request within 24 hours.”

4. Nurture Communication between Property Maintenance and Office Teams
Nurture constant communication between the maintenance team and the property management team. The better the communication and respect within the entire team, the more comfortable and secure the residents feel about the service they are receiving. There’s not room here for Us vs. Them. We’re all on the same team!
While there are some maintenance team members who feel more comfortable working behind the scenes and just taking care of their service requests, the fact of the matter is that their work and resident relationships are the cornerstone of any property’s success. And it’s probably no surprise that residents know almost ALL of your maintenance team members’ names.
Celebrate their impact on resident retention and leverage their importance at every opportunity.
About the Author: Jen Piccotti, Senior vice President of Education and Consulting at SatisFacts Research, has over a decade of experience in customer loyalty, quality assurance programs and process efficiency, and has worked in the apartment industry since 2000. She heads up special projects for SatisFacts, including satisfaction survey action planning, work-time analyses, special studies, quality assurance, process evaluations, and educational services. Jen holds a Master of Science – Quality Assurance degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills.