Saturday, March 19, 2016

Planting Seeds of Resident Perception




THE DAY AN APPLICANT BECOMES A RESIDENT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY IN THEIR RESIDENCY!
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.
BUT WAIT!
     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

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