Globe St. – Engaging Prospects is Not One Size Fits All
Communicating with multifamily customers in their preferred method makes the most impact and a different method could result in a lost prospect.
Attracting and securing new residents goes beyond crafting the ideal advertising campaign and a presence on effective marketing channels. As Mill Creek Residential Director of Marketing Cassie Khaing says, it’s also about engaging customers on their terms, including texting, FaceTime and social media.
“With lead generation and lead management, communicating with your customers in the way they want to be communicated with makes the most impact,” Khaing tells GlobeSt.com. “Typically, if a prospective resident reaches out via email, they want to be emailed. If they contact you with a text, they prefer to receive a text back.”
Anyone Home, which offers customer-engagement solutions, recently conducted a study analyzing leases at communities that offer a complete range of communication channels–phone, email, chat, texting and a self-scheduling tool for tours–to prospects. The study examined 70,000 leases that were signed during the past 12 months.
The analysis showed that 89% of prospects who originally reached out via phone stayed with that channel. Another 75% of emailers remained in that medium and 78% who first contacted a community through chat stuck with that channel.
Using a different method with which to communicate could prompt a prospect to take an apartment search elsewhere, Khaing points out. Todd Katler, CEO of Anyone Home, concurs, saying prospects should be able “to trade in their own currency”.
“When prospects have the ability to contact and communicate with leasing teams in exactly the way they prefer, that leads to an incredibly powerful leasing experience for apartment shoppers,” Katler says. “It fosters continual engagement, drives more leases and creates resident loyalty.”
Mill Creek prospective residents interested in exploring the company’s communities aren’t limited to the traditional contact channels of phone calls and emails. For example, future residents visiting the website can easily contact leasing associates via text and FaceTime, in addition to email. The community’s phone number is listed in case they want to reach out via a traditional phone call. Also, prospects visiting the Facebook pages can chat with leasing teams via Messenger for quick responses.
Mill Creek also has implemented automated responses to prospective residents in mediums such as text and email. According to Khaing, these responses–which feature information about how to view floorplans, photos and virtual tours, and also provide instructions about booking a tour and applying online–give customers the immediate gratification they’re seeking. The responses also make the leasing associates’ jobs easier by providing the answers to many common questions.
In addition, Mill Creek’s websites now give prospective residents the ability to schedule apartment home tours online. According to an Anyone Home study, apartment shoppers who book tours through a self-scheduling solution convert to leases at twice the rate of those who schedule visits through traditional methods.
“In the past, a prospective resident may have ended their work shift at 2 a.m. and in the middle of the night, they would send in an inquiry about scheduling a tour,” says Brittany Wagner, a Senior Software Training Manager for Mill Creek. “Unfortunately, they would have to wait until the next morning when someone was in the office at 9 a.m. to get a response back. Now, they have the freedom to book a tour themselves at anytime from anywhere.”
The article continues with steps moving forward and what the future holds for multifamily communication.
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