The best thing a community can do for its residents is learn how to solve problems efficiently when a resident brings them up. The quicker the community is to problem solve, the happier residents will be. That’s why communities with “problem-solving attitudes” are seeing high resident satisfaction and strong renewal rates.
Is your community a “problem-solving community” and generating positive reviews because of it?
Step 1: Survey your residents
It’s no secret that the leading way to find out what’s working and what’s not for your residents is to survey them. By surveying consistently, not only does the community gain valuable information on how residents’ expectations shift over the years, but surveys can also be used to set long-term goals for the community. With information from residents annually or bi-annually, properties gain helpful insights into what the community can do to keep pace with new multifamily trends. Maybe residents have grown tired of the community’s limited gym hours. With this resident sentiment, the community could consider installing a security system to monitor the gym when no staff is available at night. Even when a community is seeing negativity in surveys, this can be used to make upgrades to the community and refine the resident experience.
Step 2: Maintenance request efficiency
A huge resident complaint in multifamily is that maintenance requests don’t get handled in a timely manner. Communities with “problem-solving attitudes” have a system to determine which maintenance requests need to be addressed immediately and which issues can be tabled for a day or two to handle more serious issues. Having a system in place for maintenance teams to turn to in order to prioritize requests, access reports and quickly enter new information on assets is a must. Companies like Asset Panda are offering features like accessing complete maintenance history of an asset, even including inspections. Additionally, staff can view full audit reports on the tap of their phone to help maintain efficiency. IndySoft‘s maintenance solution even helps maintenance staff create reports with templates and customizations, and monitor the portfolio of the community’s assets. On top of reliable software for asset management, keep residents in the loop and give them a definitive timeline for when the issue will be resolved.
Step 3: Quickly solving the “small problems”
No matter what your community considers a small issue versus a big one, the resident may have a different outlook, especially when it comes to how much attention the on-site team will give any given situation. This means when the free dog-bag dispenser is empty, residents who rely on those free dog-bags may be at odds when left empty. Or, when a resident package is placed in the wrong package locker, the resident may instead think the package was stolen and file a complaint with the community. These “small” issues that may seem like a simple inconvenience have more effect on residents’ sentiment toward the community than you think. They are opportunities to show residents that your community stands out from others because you’re quick to help residents resolve problems. Maybe your community always keeps a large stock of dog-bags in the leasing office closet, and as soon as staff sees the dispenser is out, on-site staff is quick to replace it. Maybe your community stops relying on package lockers or rooms to effectively deliver resident packages and instead switches to off-site package management. This way, all resident packages will be delivered directly to the residents’ door and their deliveries are securely managed through an app on their phone. This is just one innovative fix for common resident package problems, and shows residents that your community finds viable solutions for all resident issues. Keri Denson, a regional manager at property management company ZRS Management, introduced Fetch’s package solution to her community in 2018. This community previously utilized package lockers, however when Fetch was deployed at this Houston community, Denson reported seeing more positive reviews appear on the property’s site.
Step 4: Communicative on-site staff
Nothing drives residents crazier than when they’re experiencing an issue, and the community team doesn’t address them in a timely manner. It happens, but the most important thing to do in a hectic situation is to remain communicative with your residents. If your resident can’t find a package in the package room, communicate with the resident as soon as possible to let them know what you’ll do to rectify the situation. Maybe your on-site staff can’t get to it right away, but the resident should still receive communication with an explanation of when staff will be able to resolve the issue. Evaluate if your on-site team is answering the phone when it rings or if emails are getting responses within one business day. Maybe your community begins outsourcing tasks, such as package management to save staff time for other duty calls. By adding off-site management like Fetch, residents receive 24/7 support from a dedicated team. Not only does your on-site staff have more time to help residents with other problems, but package delivery is completely off your community’s hands.
Ready to start problem solving at your community?
“Problem-solving communities” are the properties that work their hardest to find solutions to any problem a resident is facing. Although communities face a variety of challenges, the ones that are always working toward putting their residents first and treating all issues with importance, are the communities that are going to see great reviews, positive sentiment, and a great relationship between residents and on-site staff.
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