Saturday, March 19, 2016

Planting Seeds of Resident Perception

The seeds planted on that day will have an impact on how they perceive you as an apartment manager. 
     Reese and Tina have shown up for their move-in.  Their move-in day was the Friday after the 1st and you did not have an opportunity to check the unit prior to their move-in.  The make-ready board says it is ready so you’ll go with it.
     While going through the lease, rules and regulations and addendums you notice a page missing (seed 1), plus there is a blank page where a printed page should be (seed 2). You apologize and quickly return with the corrected documents.  Reese and Tina, although a bit stressed about this move, are excited and not concern about a couple of documents. 
     You begin the walk-through and show them where trash pick-up is and their mailbox. The keys to the mailbox do not work.  Reese & Tina tell you they don’t expect their mail to be Transferred yet so it is not a big deal (seed 3).
     As you enter their new apartment to note the move-in condition, you are embarrassed to see:
  • A dead bug on the kitchen floor (seed 4)
  • A drip pan is missing (seed 5)
  • A poor repair job on the living room wall (seed 6)
  • Two cover plates missing (seed 7)
  •  Light bulb out in bathroom vanity (seed 8)
  •  The cold air return vent is dirty (seed 9)
  •  Second bedroom is missing the mini blinds (seed 10)
  •  Dirt and debris on the patio or balcony (seed 11)

     For each of these items you apologize and Reese and Tina are forgiving and understanding.  When the move-in process is done, you part with smiles and a handshake.
     Let me tell you what really has happened. Each time Reese & Tina experienced a single “non-perfect” item happened a “seed” was planted. They do not realize seeds were planted, but the seeds are there.   
     Three weeks after move-in they experience a problem with their dishwasher.  Tina grabs her phone to call the office to report the dishwasher problem, and as she waits for an answer on the other end  .   .   .  the seeds grow!  Grow and blossom into her level of confidence in the management , on if they can fix the dishwasher correctly and timely.
If you have residents with low patience/tolerance, they may have had “seeds” planted at move-in.  If you couple that with a service request they needed a few weeks after move-in, and it was not completed to their satisfaction, then you may have created a monster!

The Treat’em R.I.T.E. program is a customer service program for apartment management.  Treating your residents and prospects R.I.T.E. will have a positive effect on your day to day community operations.

R.I.T.E. stands for Respect, Interest, Thoughtful and enthusiasm

Linda Hansen, ARM, HCCP, NALP, L.E.A.D., NAAEI Faculty

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Today is National Have Fun At Work Day

January 28th, 2016 is National Have Fun at Work Day!  So let’s have some fun!

Get your team together for an impromptu meeting and ask for suggestions on ways to have fun today. 
If no time for that, and no time to even think about it??  Here is a suggestion, how about finding your 2 x 4 mailing stickers and use them as name tags.  Or, maybe you have name tags in your office.
Have each team member come up with a different name and title.  Like, “Grover” Lover of Dogs, or Blossom, Flower Child.  Be creative and let me know what you come up with.
When residents and prospect come in they will enjoy your name and this will be a great communication starter. 

Have fun today!

Linda Hansen

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stop, Stand, Smile and Greet

 We were taking over management of an apartment community in a couple of weeks.  The current apartment owner and property management company were gracious enough to let us go onto the community early. I was assigned to go take a look.  
As I drove onto the community grounds I was pleased with the appearance.  There was a little trash blowing in the breeze, but the shrubs were trimmed and the flower beds were weed free.  I didn't notice any junk cars and the dumpster areas were clean.  I remember thinking, “Not bad, not bad”.  I parked and walked inside.  It was a little after 9:00 AM so I assumed everyone had a chance to get their bearings and start their day.
            The clubhouse/ office area was beautifully decorated.  There was soft music playing and it smelled of sugar cookies.  I could see two nicely dressed ladies visiting just inside an office door to my right. As I walked closer I could hear they were having a personal conversation.   As I approached the leasing area the two ladies stopped talking for a moment and they both turned my direction and looked at me and then, in unison, turned back to finish their conversation with saying a single word to me!  WOW!  Are you kidding me right now?!  They have no idea who I am!  I could be a prospect!  Or I could be the person who may have some control over their future employment!  Whatever the situation, that action was unacceptable.

When someone walks into the apartment leasing office you stop, stand, smile and greet!
They were at least already standing.

 Let’s think for a moment if I was a rental prospect looking for their new apartment home.  Odds are they would not have the same perception that I had.   The general public or in our case rental prospects and residents do not expect anything more than mediocre service.  
That is what they expect. 
That has become the norm.
That is very sad. 

 What if this was a Treat’em R.I.T.E community?  The situation would be different.  As I walked into the community club/office area the two ladies would hear the door and agree to stop their conversation.  One would return to her desk and the other would walk in my direction with renewed energy and a cheerful smiling face and greet me with, “Hi, how are you this sunny morning?”  

Treat Rental Applicants R.I.T.E.

How many prospective apartment rental applications have you processed?  You may have no idea, but it may be a truckload and more.  You could run a rental application in your sleep or with one hand tied behind your back.

Please consider how many applications your rental prospect has filled out?  Rather it has been one time, twice or more, it is an uncomfortable situation. Explain the application process to them in detail.   For instance explain you will use a 3rd Party online company to process their credit report, criminal history and previous landlord history.  Walk-through the application with them and confirm all areas have been filled out.   Review the Resident Selection Criteria with them and note the parts that show why applicants may be denied (this step helps with their acceptance of the denial and the reasoning behind it).
Treat’em R.I.T.E. communities have Respect for the applicant and carefully explain the process and how long it should take.  Treat’em R.I.T.E. communities have Interest in their applicant's questions and are Thoughtful to any issues that may arise with the application. Plus, they will show how Enthused they are to assist them in becoming a new resident of the community! 

Do you Treat'em R.I.T.E. ?      
Linda Hansen, ARM, HCCP, NALP

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

What is the Treat’em R.I.T.E. Program?

The Treat’em R.I.T.E. program is a Customer Service program created for the Multi-family industry.  Residents and prospects have choices on where they choose to live.  If carpet is carpet and a pool is a pool, then it is the customer experience that keeps occupancy rates up and turnover down.
Treat residents and prospects with:


Linda Hansen, ARM, HCCP, NALP, LEAD

Friday, April 10, 2015

Multifamily Customer Service Program called Treat'em R.I.T.E.

I have talked to supply partners, Regional Property Managers, Community Managers, and other members of management teams from numerous management companies, and we all share the same observations; The loss of focus on priorities.  The concentration seemed to be focused on reports, files and facilities.  I understand their importance in multifamily management, but the most important priority; The People! Management teams need a structured plan to keep them on track of what is truly the purpose as property managers.

Qualified applicants have choices of where they choose to rent.  If carpet is carpet and a pool is a pool, then it is the personal experience that keeps occupancy rates up and turnover down.
You should treat people R.I.T.E.!
Make it simple, remind each other to; “Treat’em RITE!”  
Respect people by a smile, stand up to greet and do not keep them waiting. Treat them as if they were a VIP.
Interest in people will show through your attention to their stories.  Ask questions and learn their needs and wants. Have interest in who they are. Give 100% of your attention.
Be Thoughtful to their situations and proactive by anticipating their needs and wants.
Enthusiasm is a must to carry the Treat’em R.I.T.E. program to fruition.

Don’t you think we should Treat people R.I.T.E.??

Linda Hansen, ARM, HCCP, NALP

Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Missing the Boat" For the Affordable Audience

I have been leasing apartments for over 30 years (yea, I started at 12 years old).  During this time I have seen a shift in the way we market our apartments.  The number one source for receiving traffic/leads is from an Internet Leasing Site or Service (ILS).  The apartment shopper will generally search for their new apartment home via Internet.  No matter what the prospect puts into the search field, the search results will produce multiple ILS selections.

Don't get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan of ILS’s, but as a Marketing Director for a portfolio of affordable communities, I feel the ILS's are "missing the boat" for the affordable audience
An affordable community office is typically busier than a conventional office, and this is primarily due to the additional paperwork necessary to stay in compliance with their state.  I train my leasing teams to know the value of great customer service with prospective and current residents rather it be in person or on the phone and doing some "extras" in an effort to keep the residents happy and thus reduce turnover.  SO when they get numerous calls, internet leads and visits from prospective traffic who have seen our listing on one of the ILS sites and they do not meet the income guidelines, they begin to get discouraged and the quality of service declines.

I feel the big ILS’s target the conventional apartment audience.  I have suggested to my representatives from the ILS's I am or have used to design the affordable and senior listings so they look different.  For example,,,, and even could design something that will set aside the affordable and the senior restricted communities, for instance a watermark.  Plus, because there is a large number of the audience who is not aware of the affordable programs, I'd like the watermark to have a link to a page that will explain the affordable program offered by the community.  IS THIS TOO MUCH TO ASK?????

Some of our affordable communities have dropped out of the internet listing sites just because of the number of unqualified leads.  They do produce a lot of leads! But, in reality, most of those leads are unqualified.

The LIHTC database, created by HUD and available to the public since 1997, contains information on 39,094 projects and almost 2,458,000 housing units placed in service between 1987 and 2012*.

THAT’S OVER 2 MILLION UNITS!  Will that make the ILS’s revisit their page formats and create a format for the affordable and senior communities.  Who will be first??!!