The perception of maintenance is a much discussed topic in the industry today. Because maintenance personnel are frequently on the grounds, they have become the face of apartment communities. They are often more visible than the front office staff.
According to Satisfacts, a multifamily industry provider of resident surveys focusing on retention and reputation management, maintenance teams can significantly impact your resident’s decision to renew their lease and recommend the apartment community to friends and family.
Promptness and professionalism are among four drivers that Satisfacts identifies in which maintenance can maximize the resident’s perception of value on the living experience. “Residents want to know they are receiving the VIP treatment and feel they are the maintenance’s number one priority,” the firm notes, and they expect maintenance to be professional in communication. “Residents feel professionalism builds their trust and meets their needs.”
When maintenance issues arise, residents want action fast
Simply, when a maintenance issue arises, a resident doesn’t want to be put off. Someone needs to know so the issue can be addressed quickly. Having to leave a voicemail or enter a callback number may aggravate the problem.
“One of the key reasons that people move to another community, even if it’s down the street, is the quality of maintenance support that they get from the community, and the timeliness and the comfort of knowing that they can talk to somebody and that their issues are going to be resolved,” said JoAnna Lloyd, Senior Director Product Advocacy for RealPage Contact Center.
Whether dealing with routine or emergency situations during or after business hours, residents want and expect their problems to be resolved as soon as possible. An empathetic, re-assuring voice at the other end of the line shows the community cares, which puts residents at ease and helps establish loyalty and renewals, Lloyd said.
Boosting resident satisfaction and retention through live responses
Lloyd says the company’s Live Agent, which is manned by highly trained agents who understand maintenance processes so they can address resident needs promptly, is an opportunity for properties to boost resident satisfaction and retention.
“Our customers and data tell us that properties benefit from increased resident satisfaction, higher yielding renewals and reduced costs associated with maintenance over time, risk mitigation, operational efficiencies and property loss,” she said.
The integrated, round-the-clock service automates dispatching the proper personnel and tracks the ticket, response time and trends once inputted in the community’s property management system.
“The next generation of renters want instantaneous answers,” said Amy Weissberger, vice president of training at Morgan Properties. “Whether it’s on their phone, through a text or if they actually do pick up the phone and reach out, our residents want somebody to answer on the other end.”
Morgan Properties, which operates and manages nearly 45,000 units and is a Top 20 National Multifamily Housing Council property owner, has witnessed an increase in renewals since converting to a solution that offers resident the ability to quickly talk with a representative about a problem or concern.
Over a year’s time, the company compared Live Agent to traditional maintenance response processes and found that the level of customer satisfaction improved with personal interaction.
Putting the resident’s mind at ease
Live Agent also features answer automation specifically to handle non-emergency maintenance tickets, which ensures that someone will respond quickly during emergency calls. Both solutions also effectively manage property loss and risk.
But the biggest benefit, Lloyd says, is putting a resident’s mind at ease quickly, knowing that a problem is on its way to being resolved. That’s especially comforting after hours when all of the property staff has gone home for the day.
“We are our property management companies’ first responders, emergency and non-emergency maintenance issues,” she said. “There is comfort for the resident knowing that there is someone who they can talk to who understands, is empathetic and professional.
“If a resident knows they are going to be taken care of whether it’s an emergency or not, they are more satisfied with their living experience at the property.”