You’ll never have a product or price advantage again. They can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied. — Jerry Fritz
There are 3 straightforward steps to creating an extraordinary customer experience:
STEP 1: Understand
First, you must identify who your target audience is and discover what their needs are.
Depending on the make-up of your portfolio, you may have multiple target audiences to consider, including Millennial renters, Baby Boomer condo owners, the now middle-aged Gen X investors, as well as the B2B audience who is looking to hire a property management service. Even Gen Z will soon be thrown into the mix as they enter the very lucrative student housing market.
Within these categories, there are also subgroups with varying needs, attitudes and behaviours, which may be determined by cultural and economic differences, as well as other factors. It is critical to know and understand the needs of all that apply to your business.
Beyond understanding the needs of your target market(s) it is essential to understand their behaviour; what they want, where they do their research and how they make decisions. Keep in mind that in many cases, what people want and what they need are entirely different! And an effective customer experience strategy needs to take both into account. You should market to prospects according to the emotional appeal of what they want, but once they are customers you must deliver what they need in order to ensure a long and profitable relationship.
It’s critical for you and your staff to look at things from the customer’s point of view and also to monitor their conversations. Hang out where they do online and observe what they are talking about, their opinions and the issues that matter to them. It’s also critical to listen to feedback from your existing customers and to let them know you value their opinions.
STEP 2: Attract
Once you understand the wants and needs of your target audience(s) as well as their behaviours and what influences their decisions, you’ll have a better idea of how to attract them.
Start by creating an image for your brand and messaging that appeals to their emotions and promises what they want. Then promote your brand and services online, in the places where they spend a lot of their time and do most of their research. Encourage word of mouth exposure from your existing customers by giving them an extraordinary service experience that they’ll want to rave about.
Once you have captured their attention, make it easy for them to do business with you. These days that means; having a mobile-friendly website that gives easy access to all the information they need, the ability to complete applications and other forms online, being available outside of regular business hours, and most importantly, being responsive and attentive. This is your chance to give them a preview of what it will be like to do business with you.
STEP 3: Serve
In property management, arguably more so than in any other industry, the sealing of the deal is just the beginning of the customer experience cycle.
Here are 8 keys to delivering a customer experience that is extraordinary:
1) Hire the right personnel (choose individuals who have the right attitude first and then train for skills if need be)
2) Make customer service the principle value of your company; incorporate it into the day to day practices for every employee, regardless of role
3) Coach upper management to embrace and embody a culture of outstanding customer service (when they go above and beyond, those they lead will naturally want to do the same)
4) Define service as true engagement, or authentic interactions with your customers (humanize the experience)
5) Define, communicate and reinforce standards and expectations
6) Always listen to complaints and address them promptly (let customers know their experiences truly matter – go above and beyond)
7) Surprise and delight. Give them something they didn’t ask for, or didn’t know they needed.
8) And finally… Focus on meeting customer needs rather than generating revenue. If you do this, the money will naturally follow.
Take your customer service to the next level! Get your free copy of the Property Manager’s Guide to Creating an Extraordinary Customer Experience.