The Key to Thoughtful Amenities and Sterling Customer Service
Thoughtful amenities and service matters can attract new customers and boost retention. Find out how to make that happen.
When you’re deciding about equipment for an apartment community’s gym, it is easy to choose some ellipticals, treadmills and a few weights and think you’re done. But Kelley Shannon, Vice President, Consumer Marketing at The Bozzuto Group, says that is the wrong way to think about amenities.
“You have to target the space based on what customers say they are interested in,” she said at Apartmentalize. “You have to activate a space that appeals to what you know about the customer.”
Whether it is developing amenities, making move-in easier or adding services, the companies that listen to their residents are going to succeed.
“Everyone has a vote, but the customer’s vote is the one that wins,” says Virginia Love, Vice President of Training and Marketing at Waterton Residential.
Bozzuto puts a lot of time and resources, including utilizing short surveys, into understanding customer behavior. “That feedback helps us train and coach,” Shannon says.
Those responses have helped inform Bozzuto that the move-in experience can be a time of great stressful. The company wants to reduce that anxiety and, in the process, create a good first impression that could ultimately drive renewals. This helps it reduce turn costs, which reduces overall expenses.
“When retention is high, instead of putting our money into advertising, we could put it into resident services,” Shannon says. “In the end, that is what elicits loyalty.”
Love says anything that provides the resident with more convenience can also produce loyalty and increase retention. Additionally, she contends that residents will pay more for services, such as dog-walking, personal training, housekeeping and moving.
If residents show interest in many services and apartment operators don’t know which one to offer, they can experiment.
“Try things,” says Michael DeFrang, Director of Marketing and Revenue Management, Banner Property Management. “Even if it does not work, you learn something.”