Have you ever read a website or a company description that says something like…”We pride ourselves on delivering terrible service. Really, great service is expensive and we don’t think it is worth it so instead of great service we will provide pretty adequate to bad service. Thanks for your business.” Probably not! Really, we all say the same thing (and I feel scared writing this because I know I’ve typed up this exact phrase in previous marketing material):
“We pride ourselves on providing the best service to all of our customers.”
Take a moment now and think about how many times you’ve read that on a website, marketing brochure, customer service email. Have you written it too? Hopefully I’m not alone. If you say you deliver great service, is that really enough? Clearly no. The reality is that in today’s world of connectedness exceptional service (exceptional, not “best”) is your number one marketing and sales tool. People love companies like Zappos and Diapers.com because they surprise you with outstanding service each time. Just last Sunday I ordered something from Diapers.com and it arrived on Monday – it was like they read my mind. And the shipping was free!
Lisa Trosien covers many different topics related to apartment marketing and recently she talked about her experience purchasing an elliptical trainer. The description of her experience has some best practices that I think are applicable to any property management company that believes providing exceptional service will grow their business.
- Listen to what your customers (owners and residents) are saying to you.
All customers aren’t the same. Find the time to ask a few thoughtful questions and customize your response. Not only will you learn something new, your customers will feel more connected and loyal to you.
- Find opportunities to connect personally and authentically.
That can be hard when you have a lot of customers, but you can do it. Think of your communication style, remember and acknowledge an important event, send a handwritten thank-you note, be sure your office staff recognizes a customer when he or she calls the office.
- Be surprisingly responsive.
Of course we all know to respond to issues, questions and complaints – but this is what everyone (i.e your competitors) does, too. When your customers have to wait, they get cranky and frustrated. Respond within hours – even if it is simply to acknowledge that you received their call and will be getting back to them shortly.
- Set expectations and then always follow through.
Tell your owners when they will receive owner statements and newsletters, then deliver them exactly on that day. Tell them how you will be marketing their properties and then send them some examples. Do what you say you will do, when you say you’ll do it and you will build lots of trust.
- Identify unique ways to deliver stand-out service.
I think this is the most important one on the list because it is a way to rise above your competition. The best place to start is by asking your customers. Conduct a health check with a few customers every month and ask them the one thing you should be doing to keep their business, then (and most importantly) find a way to do it!
If you consider the times you are sold by service you might be surprised. Are you finding enough ways to provide stand-out service to your owners and residents? What are some examples?