Resident Retention: Service Marketing
By Tami Siewruk
Your community doesn’t have to be a revolving door of residents entering and exiting. You can go beyond resident service, increase resident retention, and enhance your marketing efforts all at the same time. In fact, your resident-retention policies double as excellent marketing approaches for your community.
Take the following quiz. Answer each question with a “yes” or “no.” Ask why your community does or does not perform any of the following activities, and create other activities,services, or programs that can be implemented. Does your community employ:
- A “pay your rent on time” or “early bird”program
- Resident reward and recognition programs
- A frequent referral program
- Thank you cards sent periodically to residents who pay rent on time
- Telephone follow-ups/surveys
- Resident special events
These ideas are all great resident-retention boosters that also double as great marketing strategies for your community. You should be able to answer “Yes” to all of the above, and more. Don’t stop at these suggestions–seek out new ways to better serve your residents and prospects. You’ll never regret that you did! If you weren’t able to say “Yes” to each of the above, then it’s time to get busy. Let’s take a closer look at some of our examples, and how they might be added to your Marketing & Retention Plan.
Early Bird Programs…Old Idea with a New Twist!
Offering a reward for paying on time or paying before the first is by no means a new idea, but it’s a classic because it works. Residents like to feel appreciated even for doing the most fundamental thing you expect them to do … pay their rent on time.
An apartment community in Ohio reduced their resident turnover by 20% with one very simple technique. Each month a resident paid their rent on or before the first of the month, the resident received a coupon for one day of free rent. The coupons were redeemable upon renewal! When you compare the possible 12 days of free rent to the average turnover cost of around $3000; that 12 days of free rent offers a pretty impressive return on your investment!
Start a Resident Retention Advantage Program
Arrange discounts for your residents with popular local businesses. Issue your residents a laminated card that identifies them as a resident and entitles them to discounts. The card should expire the same day as their lease. With the economy in its current condition it will be super easy to arrange your discounts with Professionals (doctors, lawyers, dentists, eye doctors, accountants, etc.); Personal Services (salons, spas and health clubs); Auto Services (repair, cleaning, purchasing,etc.); and Entertainment & Travel Services (video rental, theaters,restaurants, airlines, car rentals, hotels, etc.).
Action: Do it now! Local businesses need customers and your residents need discount sand advantages now more than ever!
Form Business Partnerships from the Start
Each time a new business opens in your area, make it a point to meet the proprietor. You may be able to form a partnership that will help the new business get off to a good start, and keep your residents informed as well. Offer to advertise the new business in your newsletter or in a flyer to your residents with a small coupon for the goods or services that the business offers. The merchant gets advertising,and your residents get a small discount and an awareness of the services at their disposal locally!
Reward Loyalty and Longevity
Does a two year resident get the same treatment as a one-year resident at renewal time? They deserve more appreciation! Let them know it. Give them a gift, take them to lunch,spotlight them on a bulletin board, or put them in the newsletter. One little bit of recognition can go a long way toward future renewals!
Do the Little Things as a Matter of Policy
Each time a service request is completed,have the technician find one more thing to be checked or repaired. The resident will value that little bit of attention listed on their copy of the service request. I love it when the dry cleaner replaces a button without my asking. It’s the same principle here. TRY IT! I call it my “One Extra Thing Program”.
Just Say Thanks
This is a simple and tremendously effective resident-retention technique that few communities use with frequency after a resident moves in. In fact, I often find that communities neglect to send thank you cards after someone moves into the community. This is a simple gesture that’s been around for years, and for great reason! It takes only a moment, and immediately conveys to the resident the level of attention they can expect to receive from you. Cards are the best resident marketing investment you can make, and should be a fundamental part of your apartment marketing and retention plan. You’ll find plenty to choose from in the product section of Multifamilypro’s store Here are some other great opportunities to say “Thanks!”
Our next post will cover How To Hug Your Residents Over The Phone
Want to read more now? Visit this link for all our books on Resident Retention