Why Customer Service Should Still Be Your No. 1 Priority

Why Customer Service Should Still Be Your No. 1 Priority

No amount of automated marketing or AI technology will change the fact that customer service must remain at the top of your company’s priority list. If you’re not providing a quality shopping experience from start to finish, it won’t matter how many leads you generate or how much organic traffic you attract to the website. Unsatisfied customers will bust your bottom line over time.

 

“Customer service is No. 1 for us. Making our customers happy and excited about their purchase is what we are here for,” says Kelly Mullins, who oversees Marketing & Online Sales at Railway Freight Furniture based in Georgia. “And, we want them to come back and shop with us again … and send their friends and family! People want to feel like you truly care about what they need.”

 

Mullins says delivering that level of customer care starts on the website, where most people begin their shopping. They expect instant yet personal responses when reaching out to a business.

 

“It’s so important to be engaged digitally, because that’s where most start their buying decisions,” Mullins says. “They will have questions and want to talk to someone, and you have to be ready to help get their business.”

 

Create a Concierge Website Experience to Service Customers

 

Helping the customer starts with maximizing your company’s website, often a customer’s initial interaction with your brand, so it’s engaging and delivering information that’s relevant to each individual shopper.

 

“It’s important that your first touchpoint with the consumer, you’re getting across the information you want to, because that first touch sets the stage for everything else,” says Michael Norris, Chief Marketing Officer at Youtech, a full-service digital marketing and advertising agency with offices in Chicago and Scottsdale, Arizona. “It’s important to have a really good digital footprint, since that’s where people start their search, and then a really good response time after that.”

 

Make it easy for them to window shop and collect information on your products until they’re ready to visit in person to make a purchase. Create a concierge experience that serves customers with personalized, targeted content and leads shoppers to the next best step in their buying journey, based on where they’re at in the process. Offer appointment scheduling tools so they can book a tour or in-store consultation and receive VIP treatment. Then, be sure to follow up quickly with online leads or have a system in place to automate the initial response so they feel acknowledged.

 

“In today’s digital world, if customers want/need help or have questions, they want answers now! On their time!” Mullin says. “PERQ has helped us tremendously with this. We already talk to our customers on social media and email, but now we have a way to talk to the customer while they’re browsing on our website. It takes a lot of time and effort, but is a great way to engage with our online customers.”

 

As they shop around and interact with the website, put in place software to capture data about each online lead, so your sales team can use those personal details to close the deal. Knowing things like what kind of pets they own or their favorite pastimes helps you better understand what they need, and subsequently provide the customer with better service.

 

Your Customer Service Reps and Digital Sales Teams Drive Your Business

 

Customer service representatives and those who staff your digital sales teams will likely be the main people who directly interact with consumers before they come in to visit in person. Make sure they’re prepared to adequately answer all questions that come their way and appropriately direct shoppers to the right next person, because those initial interactions often determine how a consumer views your company overall.

 

“The people who they talk to are ultimately going to be the people who drive your business,” Norris says. “That customer service is so important, because customers now go and leave reviews online based on their experience and what they felt. It’s so important to make them feel good every step of the way, that they have a positive-enough experience they want to go and leave a review. People only leave reviews if they’re really happy or really mad. There’s really no in-between.”

 

Utilize AI Technology to Improve Your Customer Service

 

With consumers accustomed to getting an immediate response when online shopping with big brands, technology helps smaller companies meet those expectations and give leads the instant gratification (and the information) they seek.

 

Once a lead comes in or a consumer submits an inquiry, it’s critical for your sales team to provide an immediate response acknowledging their request and quickly follow up with additional information.

 

“People are used to very snippy-snappy results nowadays,” Norris says of consumer expectations across the many industries his digital advertising agency serves.

 

Businesses use technology to not only instantly respond but also personalize the response through automated email or text messaging. By capturing customer data as they engage with a website’s AI-powered experiences, like a chat-to-text Q&A tool or interactive quiz, lead information can be funneled directly into a CRM through a marketing cloud.

 

From there, schedule personalized email or text nurture campaigns to continuously nurture the lead that shows you care about their search for the perfect purchase. Cater to their needs based on what they look at on your website and the data they hand over as they shop around. Provide helpful content, offer a scheduled meeting with an expert on your staff or include an incentive to get them to take action — and to buy from you when they are ready.

 

“Getting all of that information into your CRM and then into an automation system is important, because that will allow you to follow up in both an efficient way for you and in an effective, personalized way for the potential client,” Norris says.

 

Meet Customers Where They Shop

 

Consumers now have more ways than ever to communicate with companies they do business with, from online chat and messenger apps to emails and text messages. To provide top-notch service, you must communicate in the customer’s preferred format.

 

“People are going to have issues that extend beyond just an FAQ page or what your website can answer,” Norris says. “Having different channels of communication are important. If a customer wants to email you, they are going to expect their response to that email. Same thing, if a customer reaches out on social media; or if they call, then they want to talk to a real person.”

 

Norris says consumer expectations remain steady across all of the various industries his digital marketing agency serves: they want quick, helpful customer service when they have questions or encounter a problem.

 

“I mean, in the end, people are all people,” Norris says. “Generally speaking, people buy the same ways.”

How to Optimize Multifamily Property PPC Advertising

How to Optimize Multifamily Property PPC Advertising

To optimize the success of PPC advertising at each multifamily property in the Fore Property portfolio, Caroline Gould, V.P. of Marketing & Branding, starts with the data.

 

Gould logs into Google Analytics daily to run reports, so she can closely monitor the performance of active PPC ad campaigns and the overall health of the national company’s online presence. She studies online traffic sources by market, evaluates how Fore Property’s communities rank for certain keywords, and checks bounce rates for all of the different paid ad campaigns, digital platforms and referral websites where they’ve invested marketing money.

 

“It’s just so fundamental to me in terms of determining marketing success and appropriate marketing to try next,” Gould says. “We’re really understanding how those PPC campaigns are performing, especially within the mix of other digital platforms. We can see our referral sources and where we’re getting the best traffic.”

 

By routinely checking PPC performance, Gould gains valuable insight into online leads and can easily gauge the effectiveness of digital ad spends.

 

“Most things are measurable, so we can really hone in on what is successful and make changes from there. What’s great with PPC is we can look at the various campaigns over a span of time,” Gould says. “We’re always assessing and always adjusting.”

 

Digital advertising delivers multifamily properties a plethora of data within Google Analytics that can be utilized to optimize PPC ads and maximize ROI. Here’s how to make the most of your multifamily property PPC advertising, and some common pitfalls to avoid as you decipher the data.

 

Link PPC Advertising Campaigns in Google Analytics

 

Trackable data is by far the biggest advantage of digital advertising over traditional marketing methods. But, it takes more than just logging into Google Analytics and glancing at the dashboard to make a real difference with the data.

 

The first mistake multifamily properties often make is failing to link PPC ads to the Google Analytics account to get campaign-specific data. It’s easy to do and provides a valuable source of information, yet many don’t take full advantage of the readily available analytics and go beyond the basics. That’s where third-party digital marketing experts can assist properties that don’t have an analytics person on staff.

 

“Connecting your PPC ad accounts to Google Analytics is one thing, but knowing how to interpret the data is another,” says Ali Mesick, Digital Advertising Manager at Brawn Media, which partners with PERQ to help companies achieve success through digital marketing. “Platforms like Google Analytics allow you to see so much granular info about your audiences, how they’re responding to your ads, and how they’re interacting with your website. Taking this ad data and incorporating it into your SEO and website strategy is what can really set your business apart.”

 

Target the Right Audience with PPC Ads

 

The second biggest mistake multifamily properties commonly make with PPC advertising? Casting a wide net to try to attract as many people as possible with their PPC ads, or “targeting the wrong audience,” Mesick says.

 

“While many properties think capturing a large audience is the most beneficial advertising tactic, it often comes with a lot of wasted ad spend,” says Catie Cambridge, Advertising Solutions Manager at PERQ. “By narrowing your audience to specific ‘in-market’ shoppers, you’re eliminating an entire audience of irrelevant shoppers.”

 

Using the data to define a target audience and the best PPC approach to get their attention, properties can target renters actively searching for an apartment in a specific market with the various reporting filters available in Google Analytics. They’ve displayed a search history that aligns with your ideal audience profile, and are therefore most likely to turn into conversions.

 

“That means not only will you be spending your budget more wisely, but your ROI will be higher,” Cambridge says.

 

Mesick also advises looking at the Google Analytics data to reign in PPC spending. She suggests refining the target audience by looking at what else your ideal prospects are “in-market” for, be it a nearby school district they’re researching or pet-friendly parks in the area.

 

“Layering this on top of your keyword and demographic targeting means you’re more likely to hit your best possible lease candidate,” Mesick says. “Plus, using this data might open up opportunities to target markets you otherwise wouldn’t have considered. The proof is in the data, and using this can propel your campaigns ahead of the competition.”

 

Account for Multi-Touch Attribution When Analyzing Referral Sources

 

While it’s important to track which digital marketing platforms convert leads into leases, conversion isn’t the only goal to keep in mind. Each kind of advertising plays a different role in a full-fledged marketing strategy, and not all lead sources should be measured with the same weight.

 

Traditional TV spots and display ads may work to target a wider audience to build brand awareness, and can be combined with PPC ads, retargeting and lead generation geared toward capturing lower funnel leads.

 

“If you’re only keeping track of the last touch before conversion, you’re missing 90% of the story,” Mesick says. “In order to understand the sales funnel and how someone goes from first hearing about the property to signing a lease, you need to know how each piece of your marketing puzzle leads people down the pipeline. This will help you make decisions about who to target, where to spend your marketing dollars, and what your message should be at each step.”

 

Your property needs to have a solid grip on which digital platforms convert at the highest rate, because PPC leads don’t always deliver the most relevant leads, particularly if not precisely targeted. Just because a PPC ad campaign garners a lot of clicks, that success doesn’t necessarily translate into more leases and profit.

 

“When looking at all of our traffic, if the majority of our traffic is coming from PPC, well that’s kind of a problem,” Gould says. “Because, that PPC traffic converts lower and just tends to not be as high quality, not as organic.”

 

Use Data to Study Multifamily Market Trends, Consumer Insights

 

With the right reporting set up, property management can better understand which digital channels perform better than others and which campaigns are underperforming. They can glean what changes to PPC ads they should make going forward and know what to expect during certain times of the year, as well as track conversions and configure ROI for each campaign.

 

Over time, the data also helps property managers and their marketing cohorts spot local or seasonal trends, study online browsing behaviors and nail down their target audiences. It’s a never-ending game of analyzing and adjusting, Gould says.

 

“What is the right radius to be in? Is it five miles or eight miles? Well, that depends on the market,” Gould explains. “It could be two miles if you’re in a really saturated, more urban market. With the right data, you can find the answer to any question you want to ask and create targeted ads that work.”

 

Helpful Google Resources to Get You Started

Google’s Help Center offers some great resources to help you optimize your PPC advertising, see your reports and more. Use these articles to get started:

Linking PPC Ads to Google Analytics

Google Ads Reports

Creating and Editing Audiences

In-Market Audience Targeting

Attribution Modeling

Additional Multifamily Resources

 

Why Texting with Home Furnishing Shoppers is Better Than Chat

Why Texting with Home Furnishing Shoppers is Better Than Chat

When the Furniture Mall of Kansas website switched from live chat to the online “Ask a Question” text tool, the home furnishings retail store immediately noticed a difference in the type of shopper who engaged and experienced a spike in the number of leads ready to talk to a salesperson.

 

“It has went very well,” Internet Specialist Joey Weathers says of the change. “We’re getting actual inquiries that are more in-depth questions, so it shows that guests are more interested.”

 

Since introducing the Ask a Question chat-to-text tool online, the percentage of web leads requesting more information and engaging with the sales staff has nearly tripled for Furniture Mall of Kansas — jumping from 7% to 19% of online leads captured.

 

Text Messages Sent to Shoppers Get Better Response

 

Texting is quickly becoming the preferred method of communication for most consumers, particularly home furnishing shoppers, according to PERQ online data. Retailers are starting to favor texting as well, because of its effectiveness and the business efficiencies it introduces to the lead-conversion process. Marketing research shows companies that text customers get 7.5 times more responses than with emails.

 

Weathers says he thinks the texting tool is more effective because the store’s answer is delivered directly to the shopper’s phone, versus an online chat option that requires users to stay logged onto an internet browser in order to get a response or continue a conversation. Once a shopper leaves a live chat platform, the store often lacks a way to follow up with that consumer, who must start the process all over when they initiate another online chat session.

 

“I think people prefer text messaging. The responses go directly to their cell phone, which everyone has in front of them all of the time,” he says. “They see it immediately. They don’t have to search for it, and they respond better than with just an email or live chat.”

 

Interactive Chat-to-Text Tool Attracts Higher Quality Leads

 

Before, the live chat feature on the Furniture Mall of Kansas website mainly attracted questions related to service, whereas the new Ask a Question feature engages shoppers who are ready to buy and have questions for the sales team. Since launching Ask a Question toward the end of July 2019, Weathers says the number of questions they receive each month keeps growing.

 

“A lot of them are further down the funnel,” Weathers says of the leads collected through Ask a Question. “Now, we can keep the conversation going a lot easier and for much longer. It’s a real positive for us.”

 

Bryan Scott, President of Big Sandy Home Furnishings Superstore, agrees that Ask a Question targets the ideal low-funnel shoppers who visit the store website. While Big Sandy gets fewer requests than when they used live chat, Scott says the newer chat-to-text tool is “much more effective.” It’s doubled the percentage of online leads who indicated they’re ready to speak to a Big Sandy sales representative.

 

“We’re not getting just one question and then disengaging,” Scott says. “They’re further along in the buying cycle. When they have interest and are actually engaging, those are serious shoppers and we’re actively closing those sales.”

 

Texting Interface Tied to Marketing Cloud Tracks Sales, Staff Performance

 

Each consumer who interacts with the texting interface automatically enters the store’s lead management system, which is connected through an AI-powered Marketing Cloud. The smart CRM system remembers details about shoppers and recognizes them every time they visit the website or engage with the store in any way, no matter what platform or digital device they use.

 

That level of tracking delivers powerful data analytics that show which digital marketing efforts convert best and at what cost, as well as measure the performance of the sales staff.

 

“We’re actually able to track how many questions we get a month, a week, etc. For example, we received 134 Ask a Question leads in one month,” says Tim Whitaker, Sales Manager at Furniture Mall of Kansas. “I can go back in and see 15% of those actually purchased. Anytime you can directly measure how something’s performing, that’s very valuable insight.”

 

The cloud-based CRM automatically assigns returning visitors to the last salesperson they interacted with, providing customers with a personalized experienced that can continue in the store’s showroom with the same sales specialist. The sales team appreciates the opportunities that continuity provides as they work to close the sale and build a relationship with customers.

 

“I think that’s just a fantastic tool,” Whitaker says. “Joey and I are able to make sure all of those guests are assigned to certain sales specialists at either location. And we’re able to make sure the specialists are actually following up with those guests, so we’re able to oversee all of their communications via Ask a Question as well. It holds them more accountable.”

 

Ask a Question Offers Sales Specialists Tools to Better Nurture Leads

 

Texting gives the sales team an easy, quick way to engage leads and answer their specific questions, which improves their odds of converting those online leads into in-store purchases. Each sales associate logs in to the store’s CRM through a mobile app to see assigned leads, along with all of the consumer data gathered on those shoppers as they engage with the interactive website features like Ask a Question.

 

“It helps us build that relationship before they come in the door, because we know all about them,” Scott says. “It’s a powerful piece to get them to engage and keep browsing, and it gives the in-store salesperson powerful ammunition.”

 

Sales specialists can then conveniently send leads relevant pictures or video of inventory with text messages right from their mobile phones to add value and personalization to the conversation. The Ask a Question text tool also gives the sales department more time to do some research or check inventory for an inquiring consumer — versus a live chat platform that requires an instantaneous response by someone glued to the screen until the conversation ends.

 

“It’s made our sales team and stores more efficient,” Scott says of the texting tool and cloud-connected CRM system. “They’ve got to feel like there’s somebody on the other end. These are hot consumer leads. They want an instant response, and then we filter them to our chat team, which we can now more efficiently staff with a higher level of agent.”

 

The AI technology that powers Ask a Question automatically sends a customized response to an inquiring consumer to acknowledge receipt of the question. The store staff follows up by text (or whichever preferred communication method the shopper picks when submitting a question, including email or phone) to deliver a more in-depth, thought-out response to their question.

 

“It gives us time to get back to the guest, to do our research and make sure we give the correct answer,” Weathers says.

 

Weathers and Whitaker emphasize to their sales team the importance of responding quickly and accurately to online inquiries in order to create a great first impression and establish a connection with consumers, before they move on to a competitor’s website. Once they’ve captured their attention, it’s time to present a call to action and entice the online shopper to come into the store. Ultimately, Whitaker says, the No. 1 goal of the internet team is to inspire shoppers to visit the showroom in person.

 

“More people are shopping online prior to going into any store,” Whitaker says. “We’ve got to respond efficiently and get all of their questions answered in a timely manner. That’s key, because if we don’t do that, they’re already on to some other website.”

Additional Home Furnishings Resources

 

Before You Invest: A Multifamily Digital Marketing Resources Checklist

Before You Invest: A Multifamily Digital Marketing Resources Checklist

Equipped with your strategy, benchmarks, goals and budget for 2020, you are ready to invest in multifamily digital marketing resources to help your property management company succeed in the year ahead. A brief search of online options may result in feeling overwhelmed and asking yourself:How will I know what marketing resources are right for my business?” 

 

When selecting digital tools to bolster your brand and multifamily websites, utilizing a checklist may ease your fears and help you decide which resources will best support your multifamily digital marketing plan. Understanding your company’s challenges, current resources, and determining what success will look like is a great place to start. 

 

With the average U.S. adult spending half the day interacting with media content, according to a recent Nielsen study, attracting customers and setting your business apart from the competition online is crucial. More than 80% of prospects start their apartment search online and can spend up to three months narrowing down the one or two properties they will visit in person before signing a lease. Is your multifamily website equipped to earn you a spot in a renter’s top picks as they narrow their search? Digital marketing for apartments takes a look at your website and in recent years there has been an increase in apartment social media ideas.

 

Turn your multifamily websites into an online leasing consultant with a technology solution to help facilitate a prospect’s research while gathering and monitoring high-quality lead information from each customer. 

 

Chris Berry, Senior Regional Manager at First Communities in Atlanta, Georgia, believes data reporting is critical for decision-making and calculating return on investment. “With tracking technology, we can see how all the digital marketing pieces work together to get results,” Berry says. “Once all forces work cohesively to get positive results, you’ve reached maximum potential.”

 

Multifamily Digital Marketing Resources Checklist 

 

Attracts and Acquires Leads

 

Website interface: Software that identifies each consumer who visits and engages on your website, then tracks that user across multiple digital platforms for multitouch attribution. Facilitates a prospect’s research while capturing high-quality lead information on each prospect.

 

Measures channel performance: Helps you evaluate the efficiency of each effort, including social media and digital ads, to deliver real-time results while helping you to adjust digital advertising campaign spends based on performance.

 

Prioritizes leads: Collects detailed and robust lead information during customer interactions and prioritizes leads to make the follow-up process more efficient and effective. 

 

Utilizes Artificial Intelligence to Learn and Adapt

 

Creates personalized experiences for customers: Includes advanced technologies like AI to add interactive experiences on existing property websites.

 

Automates communication: When tied to an AI-driven marketing cloud, automate email and text communication through nurture campaigns to drive leads back to the website and deliver personalized incentives to inspire action. 

 

Analyzes Data and Adjusts

 

Delivers useful data: Demonstrates what’s converting on your website in real-time, learns valuable consumer insights to gain an understanding of what prospects want, and shows which combination of marketing sources drive the most valuable leads and leases at the lowest cost.

 

Understands consumer’s decision-making process: Reveals personal insights on a prospect’s lifestyle factors and what’s most important to them when choosing an apartment, driving renters’ decisions.

 

Captures market trends: Provides custom marketing intelligence to identify trends specific to your online audience, and how to best attract and serve this customer. 

 

Demonstrates return on investment: Tracks performance and ROI of all digital marketing spends to demonstrate the continuum of lead generation to property tour and lease. 

 

Converts Online Visitors to Tours

 

Targets prospects with personalized service: Delivers real-time data to provide outstanding, personalized service to your customers every step of the way, while building long-term loyalty

 

Informs SEO and content strategy: Helps you optimize digital campaigns and adjust keywords, ad groups, and content for improved SEO rankings to convert more traffic to your website and improve channel performance.

 

Provides online tools: Provides consumers the convenience of chat-to-text communication, interactive quizzes, video tours and online tour scheduling tools.

 

Nurtures prospects: Educates consumers who are still shopping for an apartment with automated emails based off of information they shared during previous website sessions to bring brand awareness and help them choose you over a competitor. Emails will help to bring prospects back to your website to continue their research.

 

Partners with your Multifamily Team

 

Ongoing support: Find a digital marketing partner that offers support beyond the sale and continuously offers feedback to help you and your team perform better.

 

Pay for performance: For a fair exchange, find a vendor whose pricing model is tied to real results.  

 

Always improving: Invest with a company that works to constantly improve its products and supports a culture of innovation.

 

Digital marketing for apartments can be a little scary at first. There is a lot of competition out there but with this checklist you can feel secure in your multifamily websites, the tools you invest in, and your overall digital marketing plan.

 

Additional Multifamily Resources

4 Keys to Successfully Building Relationships with Online Consumers

4 Keys to Successfully Building Relationships with Online Consumers

Building any kind of relationship, personal or professional, takes time and effort. With the vast majority of consumers starting their research online before investing in a big-ticket purchase, it’s more important than ever to find new ways to start building that trust and commitment to your brand from the moment they click on the company website.

 

Upping your website game as well as upgrading the internal tools your team uses to analyze and organize online consumer data will help you stand out from the crowd and close more sales. An AI-driven website paired with personalized lead follow-up gives your online customers a shopping experience that’s comparable to the dedicated service they’ll receive when they finally visit in person.

 

To unlock a top-notch consumer journey for your online leads, keep in mind these 4 keys to forming a successful relationship from the get-go.

 

1. Prioritize Leads and Important Information

 

Improving the lead follow-up process starts with collecting better data on each online consumer who visits the website or clicks on a digital ad. Add interactive web experiences to increase engagement with your brand and also gain opportunities to learn more about each consumer who engages with the quizzes, incentives and digital tools you add to the site.

 

By tying an AI-driven interactive website to a marketing cloud and aggregating all online consumer data in a CRM system, companies can store all consumer data in a centralized spot for better analysis and lead organization. A quality CRM can help your sales team sort leads and prioritize consumers ready to take action right away, and track every touchpoint along the way.

 

“We utilize our CRM to leverage our data as best we can,” says Marcella Eppsteiner, Vice President of Marketing at Mission Rock Residential, headquartered in Denver. “We overlay our website insights in terms of prospect engagement with a series of other data points, from our property management software and Google Analytics, just to better understand the activity of the consumer.”

 

Julia Critelli, General Manager at Critelli’s Fine Furniture, uses the website information stored in a cloud-based, connected CRM to sort and prioritize “hot leads” the sales associates should pursue first.

 

“We can also see how many deals are open and the value of those deals, along with probability of sale,” Critelli says. “I’m able to export certain lists or organize it in different ways, which I think is a good tool for myself and the sales staff.”

 

2. Personalize Lead Follow-Up

 

Knowing exactly which experiences a lead interacted with online and seeing what they’re searching for on the website gives your team a leg up on the lead follow-up process. The sales team can personalize their responses and tailor the information they provide the consumer to prioritize what features they indicated online they’re most interested in. Feeling like you already know them and their preferences helps establish a relationship with the consumer before you ever meet in person.

 

“It helps be more personable in our responses,” says Chris Berry, Senior Regional Manager at First Communities based in Atlanta. “We’re able to tailor our response, whether it be in an email or a phone call. I encourage my team to use that information gathered on the website, and don’t just send a cookie cutter response telling them something they already know.”

To eliminate the extra work for your sales team, consider automating email or text nurturing through a marketing cloud and CRM database. When connected to an AI-driven CRM, automated emails and text messages are personalized based on each consumer’s information and timeframe for purchasing.

 

3. Communicate with Consumers on Their Terms

 

Do you know what time of day your customers prefer to be contacted and their preferred method of communication? That’s valuable lead information that’s unique to your industry and market, so be sure to collect that data whenever possible.

 

For the multifamily industry, PERQ online data shows 48% of prospects prefer to be contacted in the morning hours and 54% like emails from properties over other forms of communication. Emails tops the list for the majority of home furnishing customers PERQ surveyed as well, although the data shows text is quickly becoming a favored form of communication for consumers across all industries.

 

However, every person is different. You know that friend who always responds to texts with an unwarranted phone call and leaves voicemails you never check? Don’t cross that miscommunication line as a company trying to connect on a personal level with a consumer.

 

To increase your chance of successfully building a lasting relationship, offer a variety of communication avenues for consumers who wish to reach out to your company with questions or to gather additional details, such as an online chat-to-text tool in addition to email and phone options.

 

Big Sandy Home Furnishings Superstore recently introduced text-to-chat on the store website and are finding consumers who use the feature are highly engaged and more likely to convert than the average online visitor.

 

“They’re further along in the buying cycle,” President Bryan Scott says. “The interesting thing though is it seems like it’s all ages of demographics who engage. Everybody wants to text now.”

 

4. Manage Leads Through Entire Consumer Journey

 

Consumers who divulge personal information and devote significant time when researching on a company’s website expect you’ll reciprocate in the relationship, giving them something in return. Reward their commitment with relevant incentives to entice them to take the next step, and offer them your team’s industry knowledge and personalized advice to make them feel like they have a friend in the business.

 

Even if you don’t manage the newest property on the block or run the biggest retail furniture superstore this side of the Mississippi, you can win the battle for a consumer’s heart by delivering outstanding, personalized service.

 

“That’s where customer service and a more tailored leasing experience — and resident experience — becomes crucial,” Eppsteiner says. “That’s the only way you can compete with a new build or a bigger company with a bigger budget.”

 

Utilize technology to follow leads throughout the consumer journey, touching base every step of the way to offer helpful guidance. Continue that commitment to concierge-type customer service beyond the lease or sale and build long-term loyalty that only comes with time and consistent work.

 

Scott says being able to track the entire buying journey online makes all the difference when trying to connect with a customer. “It helps us build that relationship with the consumer before they actually come through the door,” he says. “We know all about them and we’re able to build trust.”