Today’s property management leaders know that in order to stay ahead of the pack, they must strive beyond simply providing good customer service, to deliver exceptional customer experiences. The key difference between the two is that customer experience reaches past the basics of what’s expected, to create an emotional connection with people and exceed their expectations.
Here are 7 effective ways to do just that:
1. Hire positive people and keep them happy
There’s an emerging school of thought in the business world that companies need to place their main focus on their employees rather than their customers. Why? Because your employees are the face of your property management company and essentially your foot soldiers. They are the ones who interact with your customers on a daily basis and are responsible for delivering positive (or negative) experiences. Hire candidates who are emotionally intelligent and demonstrate that they truly enjoy interacting with people and helping to make their lives better. Then make sure to take care of your team and keep them happy, providing all the tools and resources they need to do their jobs effectively. Always remember that the way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel.
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2. Find out what your customers really want
Don’t just assume you know what your customers want — ask them! The best way to do this is in person, perhaps when they stop by the office or if you run into them while visiting the property. Even the simple act of asking how you can help make their experience better will demonstrate that you value both them and their input.
3. Don’t drop the ball — especially at the beginning
First impressions are lasting ones. Even just one customer service slip-up in the early stages of your relationship can have a negative emotional impact that will influence general attitude and their perception of all future interactions with your property management firm.
4. Consider every touch point in the cycle
List every point of contact that you and your team will have with your customers, from initial engagement to parting ways. Then review your current procedures for each one and strategize with your team about how everyone can contribute to making each experience better.
5. See things from their perspective — literally
Every now and then, take a walk around your properties, looking at things from the point of view of your residents, including parking where they do, riding the elevator and visiting the bike locker, parcel storage room, fitness facilities, etc. Imagine what they might be thinking or feeling about what they encounter in each of these situations and carefully consider how things could be improved.
6. Hold a weekly pow-wow with your maintenance team
Your maintenance staff sees and hears more and knows more about your residents than perhaps anyone on your team. They know your properties inside and out, from outdoor spaces and common areas to the inside of most units. They can often share with you the opinions and pain points of your customers that you may otherwise never be aware of. You can also train your maintenance staff on how to respond to negative feelings that they encounter, in order to begin the process of turning the tide. Don’t let this valuable customer experience resource go untapped!
7. Capture their hearts — preferably with food
There is little doubt that the way to a human’s heart is through their stomach. Periodically treating your residents with free food like cookies, hot chocolate, popsicles, etc. will have a tremendous emotional impact that will color their overall experience within your community. Taking a not-too-intrusive interest in their personal lives (e.g. learning their pet’s name) will also endear you to them.
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