For every job in every industry, training is always important for onboarding and maintaining the quality of work expected. Training can include how to use new tech tools, a refresh on providing excellent customer service, or anything in between.
Angie Lombardi, VP of Marketing at The Franklin Johnston Group breaks down how she tackles training her own teams and the success and pitfalls she’s come across during a recent Sofa Seminar with our host and EVP of Marketing at PERQ, Muhammad Yasin.
During their almost hour long discussion, Angie had a few overarching themes in the way she handles training at The Franklin Johnston Group’s properties. These include:
How to give great customer service
The importance of adaptability
Being kind to one another
She went into how great customer service needs to be personable but not too intrusive. Angie talked about one of the servers at a restaurant that impressed The Franklin Johnston Group’s founders with how he mastered being personable but not too over the top and aggressive. She notes in her training program they talk about how team members need to mirror the prospect.
She also discussed how training doesn’t only happen with new team members, but is something that should be done over again with everyone so that the entire team knows exactly what is expected and are up to date on how to use their different tech tools. Angie also emphasized how kindness is important in the workplace. Encouraging team members to compliment each other and say something positive about someone is how she creates a work environment where everyone feels welcome and important.
She highlighted this to point out how toxic and bad managers will trickle down and turn even the most robust team members into giving the most average service. The point behind the kindness and constant training of everyone at every level is to combat bad management and create a welcoming atmosphere at all their properties. This atmosphere can be felt by prospects and residents as they interact with the onsite team and building staff.
To hear more about the specifics of Angie’s training process, you can catch up by watching the full Sofa Seminar below:
It’s all anyone can talk about in multifamily these days. There’s a few different leasing AI out there and some of them promise things that seem too good to be true. As we come into budget season, multifamily properties are starting to figure out which AI Leasing Assistant, if any, they want to invest in for the upcoming year. Let’s dive into how an AI Leasing Agent can help and what criteria you should keep in mind when trying to pick one.
Some AI Leasing Assistants, not all, have natural language chatbots while others have rule based chatbots. The big difference is that one is more conversational and can answer the prospect’s questions directly through a texting format and get them serviced quicker while the other makes the prospect follow prompts that hopefully answer their questions. Leasing AI that continues to learn from the data and questions that prospects ask will only make your multifamily property stand out more and that kind of AI Leasing Agent will give customer service you can trust.
Rule-based leasing AI takes a longer time to answer prospect’s questions and has more of a chance of not being able to answer all of them. This is why a natural language AI Leasing Agent is a better investment and more convenient for prospects. This kind of AI Leasing Assistant can give the onsite teams better and more personalized data for online prospects which will only help the team be more prepared and give better service to prospects who are ready to talk.
While we are accustomed to talking to robots on sites, natural language multifamily chatbots have the ability to answer more questions and are less frustrating for prospects as they are able to have their questions answered 24/7. They won’t have to wait for the leasing office to be open and the AI Leasing Assistant won’t hand off the lead until they are ready to talk, tour, or lease. This saves leasing specialists so much time as they won’t be stuck answering every question a prospect has and focus on qualified leads who are ready to continue onward in the leasing journey.
An AI Leasing Assistant can also help with automating the leasing journey. We’ve already mentioned how they can answer prospects’ questions 24/7 but they can also handle the follow-up conversations and even help connect other marketing channels, like an ILS, with your site for a more connected experience.
AI Leasing Agents, like the one at PERQ, follows-up with prospects through their preferred mode of communication and sends messages based on their move-in timeline. Too many messages can be off putting to prospects, especially when those messages sound robotic and almost like spam. A unique part of leasing AI, is that it also knows when to pull back and not send a message so the prospect is not annoyed by having their inbox blow up with constant messages.
This also is great for leasing specialists as an AI Leasing Assistant can help them manage their pipeline and take care of responding to prospects throughout their move-in time frame and will hand them off to the leasing team once they are ready to speak to a person. The leasing team will also have access to the personalized data the AI Leasing Agent has kept track of in the prospect’s guest card so they know exactly what the prospect is looking for and when. A unique feature of PERQ’s leasing AI is that it also personalizes follow-up messages from a brand perspective. Using that multifamily property’s brand colors and voice, follow-up messages from PERQ’s AI Leasing Assistant feel more human, less spam. Using your own brand voice, leasing AI helps make your automated follow-up sound like it is coming from the leasing office and not an AI Leasing Agent.
AI Leasing Assistants make your leasing team stronger and more knowledgable by giving them the time to focus on qualified leads, knowing that they aren’t forgetting about follow-up because the AI Leasing Agent has it covered, and gives them all the details they need to know about a prospect before the first initial conversation or tour. With automated follow-up and connected channel experiences, leasing AI is the way forward in leasing and will only help your onsite and marketing teams evolve and work more efficiently.
Properties spend a lot of time focusing on prospects and new residents, but often forget that current residents are also going to become prospects again and they could possibly renew their lease and refer your multifamily community to their friends. Kristi Bender, Social Media and Marketing Manager at The Barrington Group, joins our host Muhammad Yasin on the latest Sofa Seminar to chat about the entire resident lifecycle and how it’s changed.
During their chat, Kristi went through all the different stages of the resident lifecycle:
Attracting New Renters
Relationships with Residents
Kristi and Muhammad talked about how the online experience has really shaped the new generations of renters. Millennials and Gen Z not only shop differently, but they have different values. With the rise of ESA’s and the number one reason for homeownership being room for dogs, Kristi discussed how her property updated pet policies to be more accommodating and made their property more pet-friendly. This is a big sell when it comes to renewals and to grabbing the interest of new renters.
They also went into how to engage with residents during the move in process. Kristi explains that she likes to keep the applicant involved in the whole process so they know everything that is happening with the unit and what to expect when they move in. She continues to check in on them in the first few weeks of moving in, from asking how their commute to work is and if they’ve found the grocery store around. Kristi makes sure that new residents know they are kept top of mind and that the onsite team is there to help them out.
Dive deeper into Kristi and Muhammad’s conversation about the resident lifecycle, from tips to how to keep residents happy to how to make that renewal/separation process easier for everyone, you won’t want to miss out on this.
Homeownership is part of the American Dream, but over generations, homeownership has gone down. This is great news for multifamily communities because it means that there is high demand but it also means that there will be higher expectations.
Using data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and their own survey results, Apartment List released a homeownership report that shows how low homeownership rates are with millennials when compared to other generations. This report also showed that 18% of millennials say they are going to rent for their entire lives, a number that has only increased in the last few years. So, what should multifamily communities do now that many renters will have lived in a lot of different multifamily properties?
As for the community, many renters are either working or learning from home these days. Adding private office spaces that you can rent out or adding large tables in a common room like your clubhouse is a great way to attract these renters. The private rooms will be great for the person who is permanently remote, but offering a communal space where the occasional, once or twice a week work/learn from home renters can have a space to go to too.
Millennial homeownership is low due to a lot of reasons listed in the Apartment List report, but they still want that dream of owning a house, but not for the reason you think. 33% of millennials want to buy a home because of their dogs. Dogs outranked marriage and kids in the reasons for homeownership.
Let’s be real for a second, multifamily communities aren’t always the most pet-friendly. From high pet rents to restrictions to not enough green spaces, it’s not ideal for today’s renters. Our data shows that 1 in 3 renters have a pet, a number that only increases each year. That means you have to make sure your property is also a good home for furry residents.
Jamin Harkness, EVP at The Management Group, has made a lot of effort in recent years to make his properties more pet friendly by eliminating pet rent and breed restrictions. He made up any lost revenue from pet rent through higher turnover rates. 80% of his renters who owned pets renewed their leases. From making sure that there are enough well-lit grass areas around your building to dog waste trash cans with bags provided, making your apartments more attractive to pet owners can’t be overlooked. Speaking from personal experience as a current pet owner who rents, not enough grass around the property is enough to write a negative review to warn other renters to look elsewhere.
It’s time to update your property to meet the needs of today’s renters because if you haven’t, your competitors definitely have. These renters have been through it all and they will go elsewhere if your property doesn’t hold up. Whether it’s thinking about renovating or adding more amenities, there is some work that you can do today to help meet the needs of tomorrow’s renter.
We know that the majority of prospects start their apartment search journey on an ILS (Internet Listing Service) such as Apartments.com or Zillow or on other apartment marketing websites. It can be really hard to make your ILS listing all that much different from the other ones on there. You can have high quality photos and a really informative description, but that’s kind of it. Apartment rental website design tends to be boring and they all kind of look the same after looking at more than a few.
From an ILS, the next step prospects take is to go to the property company website or the apartment website. This is one of the only few opportunities you have to show what is different and unique about your property through your multifamily website design. Daniel Paulino, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Bozzuto, says that the website is your chance to tell the prospects the story of who you are.
“Consumers have an obsession these days with floor plans,” Paulino says from his experience with his own property management group’s websites. He saw that apartment rental website design with the best floor plan experience capture the prospects attention and they stay longer than the property management websites that didn’t. It doesn’t mean that you have to get a 3D floor plan of each unit, but showing how many available units per floor, having high quality images and detailed information about each floor plan is crucial. Marketing ideas for apartments tend to include more outward reaching tips and don’t always touch on how important multifamily website design is when it comes to multifamily digital marketing.
When you’ve got prospects on your property management websites, it’s important to keep them on there as long as possible and to be effectively gathering data on what floor plan they are looking at, pricing, move-in timeline, etc which can be done through your multifamily website design. When it comes to what tools you invest in your tech stack to help keep the prospect on your property company website and gather data, Paulino says, “Bottom line, there’s two main driving points that are extremely important; what does the prospect need, what is important to them, and what is your business actually trying to address this in the prospects journey.”
When it comes to figuring out what tools in your tech stack that live on your website are worth keeping and which ones need to be cut, Paulino emphasized the importance of A/B testing. A/B testing is when there are two versions of your page with two different variants. While this test runs, online users will see one or the other at random and continue on the page as normal. It’s the clearest way to show what the tool is actually doing when it comes to driving traffic to certain buttons, converting leads to tours, and what journey the prospect ends up taking on your site. This is an important aspect to multifamily digital marketing. Testing our different versions of your multifamily website design to see which has more impact is how you can understand if your tools are working for or against you.
Paulino also points out that you can’t just test one metric to see if a tool has value. Leads to lease conversion is an important metric and should always be looked at since that is the bottom line of what your efforts are trying to do. That doesn’t mean you should ignore other metrics like keyword rankings, cost per lead, bounce rate, etc. You won’t understand if your multifamily digital marketing is working and making the impact it should be making if you don’t look at all the key performance metrics. Apartment marketing companies are also a great resource for help if you see that your multifamily website design isn’t performing as well as you want it too.
There are lots of tools out there to help boost our multifamily website design performance, but not all of them are worth the money. The tools you invest in need to help the leasing team work more efficiently by collecting better data and make your apartment website stand out from competitors. If all they do is add clutter to your apartment rental website design and hand off leads regardless of whether or not they are qualified then those tools need to go. It can be hard to tell if a tool will help you, but with Paulino’s advice you can know whether or not your investment was worth it and you can feel more secure in your multifamily website design.
Digital marketing is and always will be evolving with the latest tech and innovative tools. No business in today’s world can survive long term without an active digital marketing plan. What does that look like for property management companies and multifamily communities?
Daniel Paulino, VP of Digital Marketing at Bozzuto, sat down with Muhammad Yasin, our EVP of Marketing, to take a deep dive into the world of digital marketing for mutlifamiy communities. From how to invest your digital dollars wisely, to how to help integrate tools that help the onsite teams, there’s a lot digital marketing can do for multifamily properties.
During this Sofa Seminar, they chatted through a wide range of topics including:
The Prospect’s Journey
Investing in your Tech Stack
Using Metrics to Measure Value
When it came to advice on how to look at your digital marketing efforts, Paulino said, “Bottom line there’s two main driving points that are extremely important; what does the prospect need and how is your business addressing that.”
Stand Out from the Crowd
Paulino noted how many prospects begin their journey on an ILS before getting to your property’s website. This means that they know a lot about pricing and amenities but they don’t know your property’s story. Your website should showcase who you are and what makes you different from other properties.
“Consumers have an obsession these days with floor plans,” Paulino continued to say. Your website needs to have high quality and informative floor plans. Whether they are 2D or 3D, interactive floorplans keep prospects interested and according to Paulino, he’s seen an increase in time spent on property websites that have quality floor plans.
He also made sure to emphasize that when you look at your tech stack and each individual tool, you can’t just look at one metric. Look at the prospect’s journey, what tools they interacted with and the data that was collected from them. While you need to look at multiple metrics, the most important data point Paulino wants multifamily communities to look at is the lead to lease conversion rate.
The chat between these two brilliant digital marketers is one to look back on for advice when you’re in a marketing rut and to make your properties stand out from the rest of the crowd.