Resident feedback is one of the most important parts of providing customer service in the multifamily industry. We discussed in part one of our three-part series that resident surveys are one important and proactive approach to providing solutions to residents’ issues. Now we will look at some strategies to help properties maintain a positive reputation and increase overall residence satisfaction.
All property managers dread a bad review, and chances are that even the very best properties will eventually face negative resident feedback, inevitably online. Some, in the multifamily industry, assume that not having a social media presence on Facebook or Twitter may help keep the bad reviews away, however this simply isn’t the case. People talk. And property managers have a huge opportunity to manage and respond to reviews online to maintain the reputation of their community. Here are a few things communities need to be doing with online reputation management:
Give Residents a Forum to Express Their Opinions
In any service industry, when an issue arises, customers just want to be heard. In the multifamily industry especially, listening and responding to problems quickly and efficiently can make or break a property’s reputation. Residents can call or swing by the clubhouse to make a complaint, but if you are not providing an easy, online forum for residents to report problems, you may be exacerbating their frustrations.
According to a study conducted by the Customer Contact Council, companies create loyal customers when they make the complaint procedure easy and efficient. (Check out more results from this study from the Harvard Business Review, maintaining a property Facebook and/or Twitter gives residents an easy way to reach you with no obstacles or barriers.
Use Social Media to Benefit Your Community
Opening your property up to 24/7 conversation on your Facebook or Twitter page can be intimidating for many property managers, but other than providing a designated space for residents to reach you, the way you respond can do amazing things for your reputation. If a resident posts a complaint to your page, the ability to respond to the issue publicly shows other current or potential residents that you are responsive and caring. Furthermore, adopting a proactive approach and not being solely reactive on your forum can quickly increase resident satisfaction. While interacting with your residents directly online is necessary, properties must also balance it with proactive marketing like a post reminding residents to pick up coffee from the clubhouse on their way to work or a “resident of the month” post. By utilizing online social forums, properties can easily increase overall resident satisfaction.
Promote Your Forum and Guide Responses
When a resident has a problem, do you want them posting directly to your forum or on a third party’s page? Whenever you can, promote your social media pages. On any promotional material, print your Facebook or Twitter handle and tell residents you want to hear from them. Be transparent and let residents know you are always ready to hear from them. It is much easier to fix problems and mitigate damage when problems are reported directly to you instead of leaving it up to Yelp or other social sites.
Going one step further, when making efforts to connect your residents to your social forums, guide their responses. Often people would love to write a glowing review but they don’t make time. To know HOW to prompt our clients to leave good feedback. According to GetFiveStars.com, “Consumers typically want to reward excellent service.” When you have a resident who gives a glowing review in person, ask them to translate that online. Let them know that the single best way to share their sentiments with the world is a social media review. Also, let them know how much it could help your community. They will be doubling the “good” on their efforts.
Know When to Ask for Help
Reputation management can be a daunting task when property managers have so much on their plates. When social media doesn’t sleep, it can seem insurmountable to run a successful proactive marketing campaign and respond to residents in a timely manner.
Everyone in the multifamily industry knows that to do it right, a lot of time and energy are required. Far too often property managers or leasing agents are tasked with the responsibility of social media for their communities. You may consider outsourcing your social media management to a professional organization for a comprehensive approach. It can save you valuable time so that you can expend your efforts in other ways that would be more beneficial to your community.