What’s the most general and universal pain points of multifamily marketing? Differentiating your property from the rest, especially in what can be a rather cluttered market. In a new digital environment, the implications for marketing are huge.
“These days, consumers are well-informed by the time they come to us,” says Gigi Giannoni, Vice President of Marketing and PR for Gables Residential. “We have one chance to make a first impression, and more often than not, that impression is online.”
How your multifamily property is perceived, we discussed, is determined by several touchpoints: ease of website navigation, online reviews, responsiveness, the tone and personality conveyed through social media.
What’s the number one way to differentiate yourself online? Customer service. No, we’re not talking about mediating a resident’s maintenance complaint (although that certainly falls under this much larger umbrella). We’re talking about ‘customer service’ as a proactive approach to leasing and community engagement. Let me explain:
Customer-Centric to the Core
Meet Arielle Rivera. She’s the Senior Marketing Representative for The Monterey by Windsor in Dallas Texas, and she oversees much of the property’s promotion, events and leasing. Arielle’s marketing philosophy is one of transparency, surprise, and delight.
“Our goal is to give every person an experience when they walk through the door,” she says. “I like to tell my team, perception is reality.”
Indeed, what renters perceive is reality to them, which is why Arielle goes out of her way to make them feel comfortable and welcome at her property. This requires her to anticipate the needs of her community members, and the best way to do that is to get to know them.
Out of 371 residents at The Monterey, Arielle knows about 300 by name. “I’ll stop and talk to people in the hall and ask them how their weekends was. These relationships are important to me.”
Even when leasing agents from competing properties drop in, Arielle says she’s happy to show them around and answer any questions they might have.
“That actually happens a lot,” she laughs. “I treat them just the same as I would a prospective tenant. We have nothing to hide!”
What Arielle understands is that amenities are not the point of differentiation in today’s saturated market. As we’ll discuss in the next post, amenities have become a necessity. What differentiates The Monterey is a customer service approach that permeates every aspect of their operation: prospecting renters, leasing, community engagement, planning resident events.
“[It’s the idea that] we must first get to know our residents so that we can understand what’s important to them,” says Arielle.
A Digital Marketing Foundation
Here’s the key takeaway: When you know what’s important to your residents, you can serve them better than anyone else. Whether we’re talking about web design, social media, online advertising, or meeting Millennial expectations, this internalized customer-centric approach will be the common thread. The shift towards becoming a truly customer=centric organization is both complex and long, however even the smallest changes can have a significant benefit on your property management team, as well as your residents.
Being a customer centric property is the Holy Grail towards unlocking the true potential of resident value. Always put yourself in the shoes of potential and current residents, and soon your property will stand out from the rest.