Severe weather conditions threaten the quality of life and safety of your residents. When it comes to possible hazards, delivering accurate information in a timely manner makes all the difference for resident preparation. Property managers should use the tools available to them to keep residents informed about the weather.
There are many ways to notify residents that go beyond traditional hanging signage and flyers. Technology has made it possible for residents to sign up for instantaneous mass electronic notifications that can reach everyone wherever they may be.
Whether your community is located in an area prone to tornadoes, hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, or blizzards, preparation is the top priority. Ice storms and blizzards create hazardous walkways and road conditions. Tornadoes and hurricanes can impact entire structures through wind or rain. And any severe weather event can cause power outages that affect your communities.
Asking residents to sign up for instant SMS alerts from property management can help keeps the entire community informed and running smoothly. For example, instant notifications can be vital when there is the possibility of a power outage. Being connected to power is not just a matter of convenience—it can be a matter of life and death. For residents who depend on medical equipment that is powered by electricity, knowing about possible outages may prompt them to activate an alternate power mode of their medical gear, ensuring no lapse in care.
Using property management software like our communications solution Media Center can make it easy to reach all your residents who have signed up for SMS and email alerts. You can receive updates from one of the weather notifications services listed by the National Weather Service and then use that information to pass on relevant messages to your communities right away.
Email has been undergoing a renaissance in the realm of digital marketing due to its availability on mobile devices. With 91% of users checking their email on their smartphones daily, important messages can reach your residents more quickly than a flyer or voicemail.
Texting is an even more effective method for communication with residents because SMS messages pop up over other applications on a mobile device, as opposed to an email that must be opened at will. Texts are also more time sensitive and demand immediate attention, whereas emails can be saved to read later.
Using social media is another way to quickly notify residents of weather-related news. Invite your residents to like your page or profile in order to have them follow your updates.
Opting in, also called consent to marketing, is required for all consumers to legally receive text message updates. Residents should also be prompted to sign up for community emails, which may prevent your messages from ending up in their spam boxes.
Millennials will likely have no problem with plugging in to text message updates. For your older residents who may prefer traditional communication methods, you will need to be proactive. The best time to get everyone on board is while signing the lease. In order to maximize resident participation in instant SMS or email alerts, consider including an optional clause in your lease where the residents can enter their cell phone numbers and email addresses for emergency notifications. Doing this at the beginning of the relationship keeps you from hunting them down later to sign consent forms.
Additionally, thoroughly explaining the value of speedier notifications to older residents may win them over to opt-in. If they do not have a cellphone or still want traditional notifications, have property management place a phone call to these residents or slip a quick note under the door. Overall, caring for your residents and reaching them where they are is key to optimal engagement.
In the event of a severe weather event, reaching your residents quickly is preferred. But don’t abandon traditional communication methods for the residents who prefer them. Putting your residents’ safety first will convey how much you care about and value them, contributing to the overall level of satisfaction in your multifamily community.