If there is one thing I’ve learned in the multi-family industry, it is vital to have a quality resident retention plan in place in order to maintain a high occupancy. If your customers are pleased with you after they move in and stay that way through their lease term, they are more likely to remain living at your property. It is much more comforting to know your resident has had a job transfer or purchased a home rather than moving across the street into a competitor’s apartment community.
Resident retention is very simple, it just takes something we should all be good at and that is communication. Here are some noteworthy guidelines for a quality resident retention plan:
- Once the application has been submitted, give your resident a welcome letter with all the important numbers they will need to make their move easier. Then send a hand-written thank you letter to their current address.
- Make sure you have personally walked and approved the make ready status of the apartment prior to their move in date. This is also a good time to put a move in gift in the apartment.
- On the day of move in, have the maintenance supervisor accompany you with the resident to show the new resident how to operate appliances, cut off valves, etc. Also, anything the resident may notice wrong can be dealt with right away. NEVER let the resident go do the move-in inspection by him or herself.
- Introduce new resident to staff members that you encounter during the move in process. **Once resident has performed the move in inspection, give them a copy of their lease and information regarding the property, city/county information and a map of the city. Also include a pre-paid customer service survey card, so residents can give feedback regarding the service they received.
- Create a resident contact card with resident information and keep it in an index card box to keep up with the contact dates throughout their lease term. The first contact should be within the first week. Resident should receive a call or an in person contact to ensure the resident is still pleased with their apartment. Also, if you have a scheduled social event, this is a good time to invite them to join in on the fun.
- The next contacts should be every 3 months. 2 months prior to the lease expiration, a preventative maintenance appointment should be made by the maintenance supervisor to ensure everything is working properly in their apartment and to see if there are any upgrades due at renewal time.
Of course, these are just the scheduled contacts you should have with the resident, but there obviously might be a lot more encounters through the lease term. Any encounter is a great opportunity to display the highest level of customer service to your resident which, in turn, will let them know they have made the right choice by living at your community.
Multi-Family Property Management Regional Manager
Macon Commercial Office