A little magic goes a long way toward enhancing the resident experience
If you have followed our blog for long, you know that we place a strong emphasis on lifestyle and resident service. While we are a branding and design firm, we know that marketing a property begins and ends with a high-quality multifamily resident experience. Making a little magic for the people who live in your community will help you create long-term fans and renewed leases for years to come.
This post comes to you in December – a time that reminds most of us to amp up the festivity and raise a glass in appreciation – but magic can happen all year long. Remember to carry some of that holiday season wonder into the new year to boost resident engagement.
Feeling more humbug than happy? Time for an impromptu snowball fight or a “Home Alone” watch party with your besties. Connecting with your childhood appreciation for lights, presents, fun and, yes, magic, can help you remember what makes people light up and feel more alive. That translates into residents who feel more welcome and at home in your community.
Beyond Basic Needs
With more people renting across generations, expectations have shifted. People want more from their apartment communities.
ButterflyMX outlines what it calls “Residents’ Hierarchy of Needs,” which includes: Physiological (access to shelter, food, water…), Self-actualization (a feeling that they made the right choices), Belongingness (feeling welcome and a part of something bigger) and Safety.
Expanding on the idea of belonging, ButterflyMX writes:
“According to an NMHC/Kingsley Apartment Renter Preference Report, 60% of residents indicated that their living space reflects their identity. This means that multifamily residents seek connections and belongingness within their residential community. So, get to know each resident on a first-name basis and take every opportunity to show your appreciation towards them.
The faster you accept the fact that you’re in the service industry, the more naturally catering to the resident experience will come. Having residents feel like they belong in your community requires much more than organizing resident events. It entails major investments of time and energy from your staff to deliver a personal touch to each resident’s experience.”
You want your residents to feel seen and known, and you want to reinforce every day that they made the right choice by renting with you. That’s no small task, but small actions can help you develop that kind of relationship with the people in your community.
Activate the Senses
Aesthetics lead a lot of our work as graphic designers, and visual cues can help reinforce for residents that they have found “home.”
Think about how a person experiences your community, common spaces and their individual units. Then consider how you can create a more positive experience for them using all five senses. For example:
- Sight. Think lighting, pleasing colors, images of happy people and pets, signs with words of welcome, beautiful art and more.
- Smell. Go for clean and subtle to not overwhelm people, but pleasant scents can enhance a person’s experience of common spaces.
- Sound. Keep maintenance and construction noise limited to daytime hours, add gentle music or natural water sounds, and train your team to speak to residents using an upbeat, natural tone.
- Touch. Supple leather couches or soft, chunky knit pillows give people a soft place to land. Consider ease and comfort in all of your common areas.
- Taste. Cookies. No, we mean it. People will love you more if you give them cookies (offer allergy-friendly treats, too, and a nice cocktail hour never hurt).
When you start to think of resident experience in terms of human experience, adding moments of magic will come more easily. Think about what makes you let out a sigh of relief or a smile of joy throughout your day; your residents want the same things.
Small Touches with Big Impact
Continuing with the theme of creating moments of ease or joy, here are a few small touches that can make or break a resident’s day in your community:
- Coffee or infused water in the lobby. Something refreshing that they don’t have to make themselves is a great way to say “come in and stay awhile.”
- Greetings. Offer a warm hello to residents each and every time they enter the building.
- Free printing. With more people working from home, office amenities can add up.
- Reserved space for moving. When a new resident moves in, reserve the closest parking space and one elevator for their needs.
- Welcome notes or gifts. A small welcome gift or a heartfelt note helps make a resident’s first day more special. If you have an online resident hub, make a space there for people to welcome new neighbors.
- Creative community events. Something as simple as a hot chocolate bar can help people feel cared for as they meet their neighbors and build community.
- Self-service. Make amenity reservations and maintenance requests as accessible and self-directed as possible.
- Beauty. Fresh flowers, warm lighting, seasonal decorations and well-maintained common areas and landscapes all help residents feel cared for.
- Surveys. Resident surveys not only provide you with important feedback, they help residents feel like their wants and needs matter.
Consider this list a basic starting point. Use your creativity and unique style to offer more meaningful touchpoints throughout the resident experience.
Don’t Forget Your Team
If your team members feel relaxed and happy, they will pass on that vibe to each resident they encounter.
To make your team happier:
- Ask them what they need or want to make their jobs easier.
- Create intentional and focused team meetings.
- Give them breaks.
- Offer opportunities to connect with each other as people (but please don’t force fun – let it happen naturally).
- Accommodate real-life needs, such as sick time or time off for family, as much as possible.
- Include their ideas in brainstorming sessions and implementation when possible to help people feel valued and important.
- Offer training and career advancement.
- Feed them and offer treats or perks when possible.
- Trust them to do their jobs well: Lead by example and don’t micromanage.
Never underestimate the resident retention power of a well-managed and happy multifamily team.
Ready to create more moments of magic in your multifamily branding, marketing and design? Reach out to us for a complimentary discovery call.