Frederick Reichheld turned the world upside down when he invented the Net Promoter Score (NPS). It was a way to quantify something that had previously been intangible: customer loyalty. Today, it’s the industry standard and is often used as a leading indicator of the health of a business and can be loosely correlated to retaining customers. The simple question, “How likely are you to recommend our business to a friend or colleague?” provides a great deal of insight into how satisfied a customer feels.
In the world of residential real estate marketing, word-of-mouth recommendations from our residents to their friends and families can be one of the most influential communication tools to drive interest in a community. So, how do we engage our residents to participate on our behalf?
What makes you special? Is it a service you provide or a way that you make your residents feel? Investing in what makes you special and finding ways to leverage it is a powerful tool to turn residents into promoters. Go beyond waiving their late payment fee or hanging a balloon on their door because it’s their birthday; your mission is to stand out! Search for something that can make your property or your relationship with your residents unique. For example: If your community is filled with artists from the local community college, then buy them canvas and pastels and hang their artwork in the leasing office and common areas. Is your community located near several local restaurants? Partner with them and host a “Chopped Night” to draw out the foodies in your community. If you want to get really daring, you can even have local businesses or your vendors supply raffle items and prizes for the winners.
Your unique skills and expertise matter when you want to stand out. According to the Harvard Business Review, the most satisfied group of customers/residents are those who are led by an outspoken, opinionated expert who enjoys directing resident conversations and engagements. Think of your onsite teams not just as a leasing agent or property manager, but as a local travel guide – then train them that way. What’s the best Italian restaurant in town? Where’s the nicest park with a reasonably safe merry-go-round? If someone’s looking for Karaoke, where would they find it? Every community is surrounded by incredible experiences, and your job is to know and love a handful of them so you can relay that back to your residents. It’s also important to ensure that your teams can easily articulate what makes your property special. Encourage them to be storytellers on your behalf!
We are in an age where digital word-of-mouth has become the modern-day equivalent of referring a friend or family member, but with far broader appeal. More people can engage with each other and with the business itself on these digital platforms. Consider the travel industry. Simply by responding more quickly to online reviews, one third of the hotels using Expedia’s platform were able to increase their online ratings by a half star or more within six months of their first response. These responses serve to break down barriers between an impersonal corporation and potential residents who are interested in living there. Yes, that means even the bad online reviews should get responses. Think of it as a way to showcase your professionalism and empathy in the same way your team would help solve a resident’s issue in person.
When asked, 50% of people will leave a review, which means that if you’re not asking every one of your residents to head to Google or Facebook to let the world know how they feel about your community, then you’re missing out. A recent Brightlocal study showed that any business with a review score under four stars goes unconsidered as a viable option by up to 57% of digital traffic. That’s a lot of potential leads for your community! If you’re going to get to that coveted four or more stars, you’re going to need those reviews, and if you’re struggling in this area, then you’re going to need as many as you can get to offset the bad ones.
Choosing a place to call home is a very personal and carefully considered decision. It goes beyond the old adage of “location, location, location” and depends in large part on how a person feels about a community. Beautiful photography or a striking website can certainly open doors, but a personal referral or trustworthy review can amplify those feelings. Creating a unique and memorable experience for your residents encourages those individuals to share their experiences with friends and family. It is certainly not the “easy way,” but the relentless pursuit of resident satisfaction will pay dividends as you cultivate a powerful group of resident promoters who happily and proudly broadcast the experiences you share with them.
Want to learn how you can communicate better with residents? See how Callmax can help.