Like a lot of other nerds, I watched the release of the new Microsoft Surface tablet with much interest. Being touted as an iPad killer, there was much hype behind Microsoft's reimagining of the tablet experience. The problem, of course, turned out to be Microsoft's failure in managing that experience correctly. The reviews haven't been good.
Microsoft, it turns out, spent a ton of time making sure the device felt good in your hands. They wanted the right, curvy angles for the device. They wanted the screen to blast its high def-y goodness all over you and to create a better typing experience with its touch cover keyboard. All of those things turned out to be pretty cool.
The problem? The overall experience associated with using the device stinks. Why? It's slow. The software is a cross between poor design and clumsy. Already, there are defects. The price tag is too high. All of these items overshadow its cool angles with touch keyboard. They focused on the wrong things and their oversights have been detrimental to the entire Surface Experience.
Not managing your leasing experience effectively is just recreating what Microsoft has done. Every leasing opportunity is its own product launch. Everything a prospect sees is part of the experience. Your phone manner must be right. You must be able to match a prospects needs and show the best, cleanest apartment. A maintenance man addressing employees inappropriately in front of prospects takes away from the experience. Having a bad day and answering the phone without your normally pleasant smile, takes away from the experience. This sure seems like common sense right? Yet, even Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft make these mistakes. Is it possible you are too?
As multifamily people, we are fortunate that our sales cycle doesn't require years of focus groups, research, engineering, and time in order to launch our product. Focus on what the rental experience is like for the prospect and you can always make adjustments the next time the phone rings. We are fortunate that we can control most aspects of the experience every day. Product launches only get one opportunity to get it right the first time, so it’s why it's even more disheartening to see a company like Microsoft get it wrong.
At the end of the day, we're all part of the sales and marketing team, from the systems we use, to the look of your advertising and signs, how quickly you can refund that security deposit, to the cologne of your maintenance man; it's what the experience is like from every angle that matters. Getting your resident to move-in with a great taste in their mouth, gets you a free pass for when you can't seem to fix their toilet right. Fixing toilets? That's probably a conversation for another post.
Happy renting everyone.