Meeting Residents' Core Needs During COVID-19
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For the foreseeable future, the realities of apartment living look a little different than when 2020 started. From new protocols in building operations to changes in residents’ day-to-day routines, life has drastically changed over a span of just weeks. And amidst quarantines and uncertain times, operators are left wondering:
“How can I provide a memorable living experience for my community?”
“how can I quickly respond to the needs of my residents?”
“...and how can I do all this while ensuring my residents feel safe?”
With more than 37% of Americans living in rental apartments, residents are concerned about their health and safety, relying on updates from their property managers. In fact, usage data from Mobile Doorman revealed that resident messages across the country spiked 78% in response to COVID-related health/safety concerns.
In times when information moves at the speed of thumbs, residents expect proactive updates on how you’re keeping them safe. Utilizing technology to break down communication barriers, especially those caused by social distancing, is the first step in providing an enhanced level of service to residents.
Communication only represents half the equation. To be effective, it needs to be timely. In other words, it needs to answer questions on residents’ minds.
Based on Mobile Doorman text analytics on resident messages, Lease Renewals, Rent Payment, Work From Home and Community Support emerged as topics on top of resident minds during COVID-19. You may be familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which explains the three base building blocks of human needs: Physiological, Safety/Security, and Belonging. See any similarities with these resident questions?
While it’s important to ensure you’re over-communicating with residents, staying ahead of resident questions that are top of mind is even more important in fostering a great living experience during COVID-19.
Virtual Neighborhood Perks
As a way to elevate the resident experience, many communities rely on their neighborhoods as a main draw for living at the property, bolstered by exclusive perks programs providing discounts at local hotspots. But during a quarantine, physical neighborhoods can be rendered obsolete. So what can operators do?
Provide perks virtually.
Data from Mobile Doorman reveals residents are still interested in neighborhood deals. Since the rise of COVID, Food ranked as the top deal category in terms of popularity with residents (40%), followed by Pets (18%) and Fitness (17%).
When walking to local shops is no longer an option, offering discounts on brands that are able to elevate the resident experience virtually can go a long way in providing exceptional service.
While residents and operators are in the middle of this crisis, they are getting help from the broader community—specifically tech companies—at no additional cost.
Popular communication platform Nextdoor recently launched a Help Map for neighbors to offer help. Similarly, Mobile Doorman debuted a new free COVID-19 Communication Tool to help property managers and residents communicate during COVID. And dog walking app Wag! launched a new service providing socially-distanced pet transportation.
Operators are undergoing serious challenges nationwide, but look out for suppliers rising to those challenges with a helping hand.
Property managers and residents are certainly being dealt with an uncertain hand due to COVID-19. But as we’ve learned, providing great service starts with creating a channel between you and your residents to better understand their evolving needs. That way, you can focus your efforts on the things that matter most during these uncertain times.