If You’re Listening to Residents, Shout it Out

At the end of August I joined a new demographic when we dropped my oldest son at college for Freshman Orientation. It’s been a difficult transition for his parents and younger brother; but, it’s also an exciting one that we’re all enjoying vicariously, as he experiences his first taste of living away from home.

He likes his roommate, his instructors are brilliant, and the campus is just what he was looking for. We all agree the food is awful, but at least student feedback is encouraged. There’s a bulletin board in the dining hall where students can tack a note with their suggestions to the menu planners (and they do—by the dozens).

There’s really just one thing wrong with this picture…

The school doesn’t offer the option of paying tuition by credit card. Had we not been asleep at the wheel during the selection process, this small but important fact would have been noticed. And, it may have factored into the final decision.

We always put the family’s big-ticket purchases on the credit card. We do this for one very important reason: so that we can accumulate travel points for family vacations. Not being able to do so is a major disappointment—and a source of resentment. Especially since (I was told by the school) many other parents have also called, as I did, to see when this antiquated policy was going to be revisited. Apparently not anytime soon.

The college’s stance drove home for me the critical nature of some of the points raised during MHN’s recent webinar (which you can access here) “Found Money: Learn How To Streamline Financial Operations And Gain Efficiency.” Take-aways included recognizing that residents truly appreciate and value having choices in how they pay their rent, and that automation can dramatically reduce the costs associated with payment processing.

Whether picking a college or choosing an apartment home, the consumer is typically faced with a number of choices.

The apartment community that goes out of its way to make life as pleasant and convenient as possible has a clear advantage. The management team that not only takes the time to check in frequently with its residents, but also implements their suggestions, needs to convey these habits to prospects. Properties that implement suggestions can translate this proactive stance into a powerful marketing message.

Your competitors across the street might not be listening to their residents. If you are, be sure you shout it out.

[Diana Mosher is Editor-in-Chief at MHN. She can be reached at DMosher@multi-housingnews.com]