CRM is key to more conversions and renewals in apartment markets

Yardi SystemsSuccessful customer relationship management is essential to turn leads into leases and improve resident retention at your properties.

But you can’t personally help every customer.

So, what can you do to make sure that all your prospects and residents have a positive experience?

Here are four best practices for customer relationship management that will help your business scale to meet the needs of today’s renters.

1. Start with quality leads.

One of the smartest ways to improve customer service is to make sure your team can focus on high quality leads. This way, they’re not wasting time chasing down spam at the expense of interested clients. But how do you know which leads are likely to convert?

Lead attribution tools in modern customer relationship management (CRM) software can help. Multi-source lead attribution data can show you where every prospect came from and all the touchpoints they interacted with before filling out a guest card or scheduling a tour. With this information, you can redistribute your marketing budget to advertising sources that are proven to work. A high quality of leads is more valuable than a high volume of leads and will get your staff excited about following up.

2. Follow up faster with automation.

No matter how great your leads are, they won’t convert if you don’t follow up. But it can be hard for busy leasing teams to prioritize follow-ups – especially for online and phone leads – when there are walk-in prospects and residents that need their help too. Do you want them to turn away from face-to-face customer interactions to answer the phone or send an email? Of course not.

Automating follow-ups is the answer. “When prospects have to wait for a response, that’s when you lose them to competitors,” said Peter Altobelli, vice president and general manager at Yardi Canada Ltd. “By making sure every prospect email, call or text gets a response, you demonstrate a high level of service and increase your chance of converting leads.” Using CRM software, you can assign follow-up tasks to your leasing team to make sure they get done. Some platforms also allow you to automate emails and enable smart text replies, so prospective renters get an instant reply. Automated resident follow-up tools increase satisfaction during move-in, move-out, lease renewal and maintenance requests, which in turn boosts retention.

3. Offer self-service tools.

Another way to keep potential customers happy is to help them help themselves. Self-service features like self-scheduled tours, online applications and online payments empower prospects and residents to act instead of waiting for assistance. According to the 2018 Canadian Multi-Res Tenant Rental Survey, which surveyed more than 12,000 renters, 45% of renters prefer to pay their rent online, and an increasing segment is interested in paying via an app.

When you use technology to make self-service possible, you increase customer satisfaction and decrease the burden on your staff. Using online payments as an example, team members spend less time manually collecting, entering and depositing payments, giving them more time for higher impact customer service interactions.

4. Focus on service.

In the same survey, 11% of respondents stated lack of service was the reason their rental did not meet their needs. And 12% were unsatisfied with the outcome of service requests. While there will always be some unhappy people in any group, this data indicates that improving your level of service is an easy way to retain more residents.

To do so, it’s important to train your staff to recognize opportunities to improve service. This includes responding to resident emails quickly and following up with maintenance requests to see if the work was completed to your renters’ satisfaction.

Additionally, it’s a smart idea to use your CRM software to automate resident follow-ups as well as prospect follow-ups, so you’re not losing touch with the renters you already have. Put a policy in place to touch base with renters a month after they move in, midway through their lease and just before the rental period is up to see if they’re happy and how you can be of service. Don’t be surprised when your renewal and referral rates start going up as a result!

Takeaway

A successful customer relationship management strategy ensures that your prospects and residents have a positive experience when interacting with your brand. By combining the automation and self-service tools available in modern CRM software designed specifically for real estate with a strong staff training program, you will be able to capture more leads, convert more prospects and retain more residents.


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Yardi® develops and supports industry-leading investment and property management software for all types and sizes of real estate companies. Its RENTCafé Suite delivers complete marketing, leasing, CRM and resident services…

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Yardi® develops and supports industry-leading investment and property management software for all types and sizes of real estate companies. Its RENTCafé Suite delivers complete marketing, leasing, CRM and resident services…

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