When multifamily industry veterans hear the word “lead,” they immediately think guest card. A prospective renter filled out an online form and said they’re interested in touring the community.
While guest cards represent the majority of leads at multifamily communities, they don’t account for the most qualified leads the community has in its database. That distinction belongs to the residents who have a signed lease.
The failure to recognize residents as leads can have a profound impact on the ability of communities to maintain revenue-maximizing occupancy. It results in customer service issues, poor renewal rates, and even fewer guest cards from prospective renters.
But these concerns haven’t been ignored by all owner/operators. JVM, which specializes in Class A Midwest apartment communities, understands the importance of continuing to nurture residents as leads. They accomplish this with two tactics: regularly checking in with residents and building emotional connections.
Check in with residents regularly
One of the most common complaints on review websites and community surveys is that community management seems to disappear after the lease is signed. Many communities offer online and mobile rent payment and service request platforms, making it unnecessary for residents to ever stop in the leasing office.
Owner/operators can combat this trend by implementing touchpoint strategies that keep residents in the lead pipeline. Among those touch points are monthly events, 6- and 12-month inspections, electronic surveys, service requests, and pre-renewal calls.
JVM has transformed some of the touchpoints that most property managers make electronically into more personal interactions. For example, renewal letters, are not sent until an on-site associate speaks with the resident over the phone.
“How people are treated, and doing things ‘our way’ are integral to the resident experience,” said Mary Herrold, Vice President of Marketing and Innovation at JVM. “Every interaction with our residents matters, and plays a critical role in earning a lease renewal.”
Build emotional connections
Without these regular check-ins, residents lose the human emotional connection with community management teams. Emotional connections with community management team members can be a powerful reason to renew a lease.
JVM intentionally creates these emotional connections.
“We have a Moments That Matter recognition program that empowers residents to acknowledge those associates who go above and beyond,” Herrold said. “It’s a postage-paid, branded postcard that residents fill out about their experience and send to our corporate office. We read them on quarterly calls with associates to encourage moments that matter. The cycle builds on itself, and it encourages residents to look for the good.” Regular touch points, mixed with emotional connections create a powerful case for residents to renew and ensure they remain in the lead gen pipeline.