The rental customers that visit us these days are skeptical before they even walk in the door. Is it any wonder when we live in a political environment that works on the premise of broken promises? It seems that people no longer know who they can trust. Combine that with the whole Y generation (those born post 1980) who as a generation are synonymous with those seeking instant gratification. As a result, we have a market where our leasing staff feel they can’t make anybody happy. So here are some pointers that may help your staff deal with those who just expect too much, those who want more and more and more, and those who just want everything right now:
- Prepare a sheet that should be provided to residents on move-in outlining what does or does not constitutes an emergency so that there are no misunderstandings.
- Make sure that everything is perfect on move-in. Conduct a thorough suite inspection with the resident and have them sign the report acknowledging satisfaction upon completion.
- Accept work orders and complaints by e-mail. This form of instant communication appeals to the Y generation and reduces telephone or personal conversations.
- Invest in computers wherever possible. Internet renting is on the rise in Canada and these customers want service in real time.
- If you don’t have any amenities or services on-site then you might consider introducing vending machines with clothes cleaning supplies or snacks.
- Change your office hours. Residents often don’t have time to speak to you in the morning when they’re leaving for work but is your staff available when they come home?
- Give ‘on the spot’ rewards to employees demonstrating good customer service skills (ie. restaurant gift cards, movie passes, coffee coupons).
- Create a volunteer program in your building. Many seniors would love to help out with flowers and gardening; high school students would love to earn their community service hours right at home, etc.
- Train your staff in appropriate ways to deal with demanding or abusive customers.
- Make sure staff don’t make promises they can’t keep.
Our society is changing. At one time trust was given until it was destroyed. Now trust is never given freely. It is sometimes earned over a long period of time. So, if we want to keep our residents, we must work on building a trustworthy relationship. Both sides have to adapt. Ease and accessibility to services is crucial in order to win trust from a future or current resident. Loyalty doesn’t happen overnight but it’s the end result of months and sometimes years of trust-building effort. Making our residents’ lives easier is the first step to earning trust and ultimately helps us win loyalty and long-term residents.