If it ain’t broke – audit it, tweak it and improve upon it
We’re probably all guilty of complacency every now and again. You work hard, you create a program or task that works great and everyone seems happy – why not sit back and enjoy? You can, but not for long. Complacency has a price, the price is the inability to adapt quickly to change and continue improving. You may think, if I am getting 100% on shops and can renew 45 to 55 percent of the time, I am a Rock Star and don’t need to worry about change or improving. You’d be right in that you are a rock star, but does anyone really need to stop improving or stop preparing for change?
We all know it costs more to find new residents than to keep our current ones. It is between six and seven times more expensive to find a new resident, so making sure your current ones are happy is vital. Customer service, both maintenance and management, is typically where the benchmark for happiness lies with residents. Ask yourself, when is the last time you looked at your service request follow-up procedures? Are you still calling residents on the home phone listed to gauge their happiness with service? Have you thought about adapting that process to allow residents to choose their preferred contact method? You can follow-up with an email and even include a survey link. You can text. Your residents have been receiving follow-up from other businesses in new ways and ways that communicate with them how they wish to be contacted, thus making them happier.
Here are some other ideas to help you avoid becoming complacent:
- Be unconventional. Is there a new community affecting your closing or are you faced with a great number of prospective residents that just seem to be on the fence? Why not try turning your model apartment into a guest suite and allowing overnight stays during the week for prospective residents on the fence? They have to check out by 8 or 9 am and you’ll need to have an overnight rental agreement, but the program could result in leases.
- Pull in outside eyes. We’ve all been there; driving or walking by some atrocity at your own community and simply didn’t see it because you’re there all the time. Call up your sister community or ask your supervisor to ship someone in from out of town and let them look at your community without rose colored glasses. Put on your tough skin for this one and allow them to really dig through everything; you are bound to come away with some great ideas for improvement and often in places you’d never expect.
- Ask the team. This is the easiest way to generate ideas for change and improvement – ask those on your team. Tell everyone to bring up the areas where they have the most problems first and you should find some real opportunity for growth and improvement. Allow for some amnesty on this one too; your team members will be more likely to share areas where they are struggling if you don’t bring down the gauntlet as they list problem areas.
Don’t be afraid to get under the microscope…