December 4th, 2018
The shift towards customer experience in real estate
Customer experience is the response that customers have to any direct or indirect contact with a business. Direct contact is experienced when making a purchase or using a service and is initiated by the customer. Indirect contact most often consists of an unplanned encounter with representations of the company’s product or service.
According to CPM, nearly 80% of customers in Australia tell more people about a negative experience than a positive one. In contrast, according to American Express, “Seven in 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.”
This shows the importance of delivering great customer service to your residents. More than just giving residents what they want, it’s creating a customer experience they will remember and want to come back to. Let’s take a look at three ways to enhance customer experience within your business.
Spend some time doing some research that will help you understand where your business sits in terms of customer satisfaction.
Evaluate your current customer base and divide up how many of these clients have been brought into your business as a referral. If you don’t already have one, here’s how to implement a property management referral program.
Percentage of renewals:
Taking note of your annual lease renewals is going to provide you with some insight as to if your customers are interested in recommitting not only to the property they live in, but in your agency’s service. Compare your annual renewals to previous years to monitor if you’re moving backwards, remaining stagnant, or moving forward.
Consider the possibility of sending out a customer service survey via email. Resources like Google Surveys and Mailchimp allow you to send to multiple contacts and track the responses. The National Center for Biotechnology Information found that in 2013, the average human attention span was only 8 seconds, so ensure to keep it short and sharp.
After you have collected all of this data and information, sit down with your team and begin to brainstorm. Consider why you all think the customer satisfaction level is where it is and brainstorm tailored solutions on how to move forward.
If a prospective landlord were to Google your agency, what would they see? Make sure that your online presence is clean, concise and portrays your business in the best light possible. Consider offering an incentive to existing clients to begin building your Google reviews. Having a number of positive reviews on your agency listing not only gives a positive impression but with more people turning to local search, Google now automatically filters out local businesses with less than a 4-star rating.
A tenant will first experience your agency when they are looking for a new property to live in. Make the process of booking an open home inspection as simple as possible. Simple things like leaving the contact details for the specific agent showing the property on the listing so that the tenant can directly contact them for help, minimises touch points of contacting anyone else mistakenly first.
Similarly, look at introducing flexibility when it comes to open homes, people these days are busy and have many commitments. So many in fact that 27% of renters would prefer a self-guided tour as they like the idea of viewing properties at their own pace. Modern technology such as virtual tours, AI technology and digital lock boxes give renters the freedom to self-serve, increasing both customer satisfaction and business efficiency.
This goes for both your staff and customers. When your staff are busy completing time-consuming tasks such as manually entering applications, managing maintenance, manually signing lease agreements, and entering data, they simply can’t spare any focus on creating a good customer experience.
Using technology to aid in automating some of these tasks can allow your team more time to focus on building personal relationships with clients. Online resources such as rental applications and lease signings allow not only the client but the property manager time back in their day. In fact, recent research completed by the National Multifamily Housing Council has shown that 54% of renters have used a computer to sign their current lease.
You can then move on to consider simplifying other steps in the rental process. For example, how do your current tenants pay rent? How do they request maintenance? It is more common these days for consumers to expect to be able to make payments for everything online. In fact, recent Worldpay Global Payments statistics show that the preferred method of global online payments is eWallets at 36%, followed by credit cards at 23% and debit cards at 12%.
Allowing your clients to make payment of their rent online not only makes it more convenient for them, but it’s also going to save you and your team time and resources as it eliminates having to manually collect cheques, enter data and reconcile.
Along with rental payments, maintenance requests can also be submitted and monitored online, simplifying the process for the agent and the client. Cloud-based software platforms such as PropertyMe, offer a tenant portal that allows the tenant to submit maintenance requests via their portal. This allows both parties peace of mind knowing that the problem is being solved and visually being able to see where the maintenance is up to.
Thanks for reading this blog on the three ways to enhance customer experience within your business! You might also be interested in:
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