Snap Session: Remote Communications with Residents
Join MHN and Michael Baker of Notifii to explore the new best practices for keeping residents engaged.
With many property managers adjusting office hours or working remotely, keeping residents engaged has become far more challenging. A well-honed digital communications strategy is more important than ever in resolving problems and ensuring resident satisfaction.
During its latest Snap Session, MHN was joined by Michael Baker, software sales executive at Notifii, to explore new best practices for communicating with your residents. Notifii, which provides a text and email communications platform for multifamily properties, reported a 50 percent jump in emails sent on the platform in March and April, when stay-at-home orders began.
Given this increased reliance on email, crafting the right message is vital to preserving and building relationships with residents. “Personalize it,” said Baker. “Your residents know who you are, so really cash in on that personal connection you share with your communities.” Use language and verbiage that is relevant and specific to the community, and consider using dynamic placeholders, which will auto-populate the first name and unit number of each resident.
Short and sweet is the ideal communication style. Try to use bold or underlined words to convey key points of your message to people who skim. Make the emails action-driven so it’s clear to residents how you would like them to respond. You might consider sending out weekly or monthly newsletters as well, including notices about COVID-19 and how it’s impacting on-site operations. Developing a routine can often drive greater engagement, especially if the newsletter is deployed on a regular schedule.
Troubleshooting and texting
The turbulence of the last six months has brought a raft of well-documented challenges to the industry, leading to more conversations around problems such as non-payment or late payment of rents, health guidelines, and tension among residents. Baker advised that property managers be calm and collected in their messaging while addressing these issues quickly and professionally. “The sooner you tourniquet the problem, the better off you’re going to be.”
After the issue is addressed, it might be useful to send out a community-wide reminder, for instance about health procedures and potential penalties for not following them. Thinking ahead can pay off. Consider preparing templates for certain emergency or time-sensitive scenarios. One client in Texas experienced a flash flood but was able to evacuate everyone from the community safely, in part because they had an evacuation template ready to go and were able to send out the email quickly.
Email is not the only tool you should be using, of course. People under the age of 60 respond well to texting. Response rates for text messages are 60 percent higher than for email and 90 percent of texts are read within about three minutes of delivery. Social media is also key to attracting prospective residents and engaging the ones you already have.
“You should be on every social media platform you can think of,” said Sneha Lakkaraju, marketing director at Notifii, who also joined the webinar. Social media is especially important in marketing a property, allowing companies to paint a picture of what it’s like to live there.
Make sure you build your presence online by interacting with other accounts and paying attention to reviews, even bad ones. “Always, always respond, whether it’s a bad review, a good review, or one that someone didn’t put a lot of thought into,” Lakkaraju noted.
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