A guarantee is a powerful tool—for marketing, leasing and quality service —for five reasons:

  1. A guarantee forces you to focus on residents. Knowing what residents want is the sine qua non in offering a service guarantee. A community has to identify its residents’ expectations about the elements of the service and the importance they attach to each. Lacking this knowledge of residents needs, a community that wants to guarantee its service may very well guarantee the wrong things.
  1. A guarantee sets clear standards. A specific, unambiguous service guarantee sets standards for your company and community. It tells employees what the company stands for.
  1. A guarantee generates feedback. A guarantee creates the goal; it defines what you must do to satisfy your residents. Next, you need to know when you go wrong. A guarantee forces you to create a system for discovering errors—which the Japanese call “golden nuggets” because they’re opportunities to learn.
  1. A guarantee forces you to understand why you fail. In developing a guarantee, managers must ask questions like these: What failure points exist in our system? If failure points can be identified, can their origins be traced and overcome?
  1. A guarantee builds marketing and leasing strength. Perhaps the most obvious reason for offering a strong service guarantee is its ability to boost marketing and leasing efforts. It encourages future residents to lease by reducing the risk of the leasing decision, and it generates more loyalty. Keeping most of your residents and getting positive word of mouth, though desirable in any business, are particularly important for the multifamily industry. The cost of resident dissatisfaction is enormous. In this respect, it’s fair to say that many companies’ biggest competitors are themselves. A guarantee will only work, of course, if you start with commitment to the resident. If your aim is to minimize the guarantee’s impact on your community  but to maximize its marketing and leasing punch, you won’t succeed. In the long run, you will nullify the guarantee’s potential impact on residents, and your marketing dollars will go down the drain.