How to create loyalty among multifamily residents
At the end of a crazy day or week, what do you want most? Rest, peace and quiet, friends, family or good food, right? (Ok, and maybe an occasional double shot.) Well, so do your multifamily residents. How you meet the needs of the stressed out humans in your community can help you foster loyalty, lease renewals and referrals for years to come.
The true difference between operating as a property and becoming a welcoming community for people lies in how you treat your residents. Property management focuses on logistics and numbers, while community building factors in the people element at every turn.
How to think like a community builder
To move beyond the basics of property management, it helps to start thinking of yourself as a community builder. Regardless of your title, if you work in multifamily, you have the power to build community.
This Forbes contributor, writing during the height of pandemic lockdowns, observes that:
“When we are part of a thriving community, we feel a sense of kinship, camaraderie and connectedness. There is a place and a role for each person, and group members feel they can bring all of themselves to their work and their team. There are high levels of trust and psychological safety in which people know others will have their backs and will give them not only the benefit of the doubt, but the space to apply their talents and develop new ones. Within a strong community, people feel valued and all work has dignity. In addition, the needs of each member and the needs of the whole organization are fully met.”
While this article focuses on work teams, creating community serves a vital purpose in the broader society. If you can create a supportive, inclusive place for people to live, think about how that impacts the rest of their lives.
You can start small by training your team to greet each resident with eye contact and a smile. Those seemingly small gestures can make a huge impact when someone feels truly seen and valued. On the flip side, ignoring residents or treating them like a nuisance can undermine a person’s sense of value and belonging.
Creating great impressions from start to finish
Next, think about how each person interacts with your community from pre-lease to moving out. Each stop along that journey provides an opportunity to invite someone into the fold. Some of those key moments include:
- Website. An easy-to-navigate and beautiful website shows people that you care about their time and understand their deeper needs when choosing an apartment to call home.
- Tours/lease. Give people options for virtual or in-person tours and create a streamlined lease process.
- Community life. Once someone becomes a resident, how do you make every aspect of moving in and living there simple and painless? Think about: property access, safety and security; in-unit comfort; technology that supports daily life; and services that make working, living and playing accessible.
- Communication. People need to reach you and need to know their concerns are heard. Give residents easy ways to submit maintenance requests and to share both positive and negative feedback.
- Exit interviews. Even when a resident decides to move on, they can provide incredibly valuable feedback that will support your future community-building efforts.
Creating moments of ease
Think back to your last spa or fine dining experience. These businesses offer a gold standard of care that helps people feel special and cared for.
A spa waiting room becomes a mindful retreat with soft music, water features, refreshing pitchers of fruit-infused water and healthy treats. Wait staff in fine restaurants cater to your every need by pulling out your chair, placing your napkin with a flourish and grating pepper for your salad.
Could you bring your own water bottle to a massage or fold your own napkin at dinner? Yep. But think about how nice it feels when someone offers that extra touch of care. Now, think about how you can provide those small, caring touches throughout your residents’ days.
Allowing people to be people
This article on place-making focuses on the urban design of one vibrant Houston community, and it offers some incredible words of wisdom: “Design for Tuesday.” Continuing with:
“We all know that creating a vibrant public realm requires activating space through programming. Too often we think of activation as the annual holiday festival or the monthly concert series, but those events only happen a few times a year. The secret (and hard part) is how it feels on Tuesday morning. Midtown Park can host a concert for 1,500 people on Friday night, then a yoga class on Saturday morning. But it’s truly a magical experience to stroll through on Tuesday morning when nobody is around and you can hear the water rippling, the birds singing, and you forget you are in the city.”
In multifamily resident service, you cater to a person’s whole life. Whether walking to work on a Tuesday morning or hanging out on the deck on a Saturday evening, residents want to feel supported and connected.
On a Tuesday, your residents’ biggest needs might include:
- Easy access to transportation
- Reliable wifi for a work-from-home day
- Desk or conference room space away from their apartment
- Good coffee available at 7 a.m.
- The ability to print that crucial presentation
- Secure package delivery
- Pet and child care
On Saturday, maybe they want:
- A comfortable sofa and a nearby coffee or cocktail bar
- Spaces to kick back with a book or some great music
- On-site recreation or fitness facilities to support health and well-being
- Community activities that support social connection, mindfulness or a need for fun
- A place to connect with plants and nature
- Well-insulated walls so they can sleep in and not hear neighbor noise
When you think carefully about how your residents live, and how to make their lives easier throughout their day, you can create a truly special sense of community.
Ready to elevate your multifamily branding and marketing efforts? You’re in luck. That’s what we do. Reach out today for a complimentary discovery call. We can help you take your multifamily brand to the next level.