Will Your Resident Be a VIP or MIA? | National Apartment Association

Will Your Resident Be a VIP or MIA?

In this world of mediocre service or automated do-it-yourself options, there are a special few service providers that have my unwavering loyalty. On the short list:

  • My dentist – The staff is friendly, welcoming and reassuring, the office is immaculately clean, the receptionist always asks about my spouse and kids by name, and they give me a little lavender-scented towelette at the end of my dental cleaning to ensure there is no toothpaste on my face when I leave.

  • My hair stylist – She always greets me like a long-lost friend and asks about my spouse and kids by name, offers me a variety of beverages (even vino if an evening appointment), and gives the best scalp massage as she’s rinsing my hair.

  • Kanpai sushi – Though I only get to go every couple of months, the entire staff stops what they are doing to greet me when I come in, the wait staff knows my beverage of choice and that I always order a crunchy roll, and they always ask me about my kids and comment on how they can’t believe how old they are already and that I must bring them in for dinner one of these days.

The common theme here is that they do the basics very well: they make sure that I know that they know exactly who I am (by addressing me by name and asking specifically about the people who are important to me) and they are always happy to see me. They also find small, thoughtful ways of making me – and their other patrons – feel special. The lavender-scented towelette, a 2-minute scalp massage, remembering my “usual” order. When I visit any of these places of business, I feel like a VIP.

These special extras don’t cost a whole lot. They might cost a little time, some focused attention, less than $1 in materials. But they sure make a difference in my level of loyalty. Even when rates have gone up, it’s an easy decision for me to stay. My new insurance doesn’t cover 100% of my dental costs, but it’s worth the co-pay for me to stay. My hair cut and my “usual” lunch costs have inched up over the years, but, again, it’s an easy decision to stay because I can’t imagine any other service provider treating me so well or caring about my preferences in the same way.

The SatisFacts Index shows that when asked, “How likely are you to renew your lease?” the breakdown is this:

Very Likely:
43 percent
Somewhat Likely: 26 percent
Not Likely: 18 percent
Don’t Know: 13 percent

In today’s market, most residents expect that another year at your community will include a rent increase, so if you are encountering major objections it may be time to examine the issue more closely. Is your resident claiming a major life change, such as a job change or buying a home, or is it something else? No one ever feels good about paying more for indifferent or poor service.  If residents are insisting that they “just need a change” or need a different floor plan or more or less bedrooms, or any number of other manageable objections, offer solutions and then dig a little deeper. Ask what is most important to them about the community they live in. Ask if there is anything in their home that needs attention. Discover if, in their experience, life at your community is worry-free or worrisome, as Lia Nichole Smith, our VP of Education and Consulting, likes to say.  If 1 out of 4 residents can only say they are “Somewhat Likely” to renew their lease and 1 in 7 say they “Don’t Know,” there’s a great opportunity to connect with your residents, let them know they are a VIP so they won’t end up MIA!