Communication: The Cornerstone of Resident Retention

Resident retention is important for any property manager. Whether you manage a single property or a large multi-unit community, retaining your residents means lots of work for you.  Every property manager needs a strategy and needs to follow through with that strategy. The cornerstone of any retention program is communication. Here are some ways to increase your communication with your residents and to keep them renting from you.

Be Visible
Get out and meet your residents. Get to know them. You don’t have to knock on every door but maybe take a walk through the community or take a walk down the street where your properties are located. Stop and have a conversation with the residents who are out and about. Learn more about them and what they do. Be friendly but not intrusive. Some of your residents like their privacy.

Face-to-face interactions go a long way. The more you interact and know your residents the more they will trust you.  As an added bonus, it’s a good way to keep an eye on your properties and identify your good residents.

Be Available
It seems basic but when the phone rings, answer it. When you get an email, respond to it. No one likes leaving a voicemail or waiting five days for a response to their email. For larger properties this can be daunting and in some cases not humanly possible. But there are services that help manage e-mails and phone calls.

There are plenty of email services that help you route and track your inbound and out bound emails. These services allow you to decide what e-mails need to go to which person on your staff.

For the telephone there are answering services. Companies who offer this service provide phone support around the clock and make sure the calls go where they need to.  Normally you only pay these companies when they are working on your phone calls. So it’s like having a 24-hour receptionist for half the cost.

Get Feedback
Have a system in place so your residents can give you feedback. It can be something as simple as a suggestion box or an email address to send their thoughts, comments and suggestions to.

Another great system for feedback is social media. Create a Facebook page for your residents and encourage them to post their thoughts. Create a Twitter account and follow your residents and encourage them to follow you. You could even go as far as to create an online message board or sub Reddit for your properties. If you’re going this route it’s important to stay active. Social media is a great tool but it won’t work unless you activity post and tweet. 

These are simple and cost effective solutions to help you keep your finger on the pulse of your residents. So stop browsing the internet and go out and get to know who’s renting from you.

Patrick Venturella writes for Continental Message Solution, a leading answering service serving the property management industry. Learn more about CMS.