Just last week we were doing an online demonstration of one of our web-based multifamily products, a Resident Portal to be exact. The room was full of managers on the other end. Everybody loved the product, a true resident retention tool they stated, but a common thread that ran around the room – it takes too much time to answer emails and services request - we are busy dealing with leasing. Am I hearing "we do not want to deal with residents online?" We rather them call us or maybe stand before us as we take out the carbon paper forms and write it down? Man that is a time saver!
Hmmmm… So should we ignore the people that have already leased a unit? Sort of like buying a car with no service after the sale. Makes me want to buy from that dealer again. As a side note: I actually went 3-hours out of my way when I purchased my last car – that is how much the local dealer meant to me! You see, SERVICE is the number one reason residents do not renew their leases. That would be the same reason I took my money elsewhere to buy a car – I vote with my money.
As we, all vote with our money, the viral effect of social networks buzz with bad experiences residents have at a property. Service seems to be the biggest thing buzzing around the net when it comes to a bad rating.
What is happening out here is a dual prong system. First, management is gauged by "how many did we lease this week" versus how many units did we not have to turn, they are disconnected from the service after the sale. Second, management is disconnected from who their actual residents are today. You see, there is a new renter in town, they are called the "Millennials." They grew up on the internet, rather than call you, they want to email, text or instant message – yes, they do not like the phone for some odd reason, but do use it often for text messaging.
Old school management style does not work anymore, but many of the "on the ground" property managers kick and scream about using any new technology, they still like paper and phones – the rotary dial ones that is.
Now let me go find my fancy typewriter machine……