An important criteria in the hiring process for any apartment community is emphasizing how each and every member of the team is involved in marketing for the community. Every job description includes marketing and customer service responsibilities.
Marketing is not a department, states Jason Fried in his book Rework. It’s described in a post by Vincent Huberta, ”Marketing is something everyone in your company is doing 24/7/365.“
An important criteria for maintenance interview is the responsibility of customer service. This new team member will represent the community. Maintenance, housekeeping and the landscaping crew are our ambassadors. They are the daily exposure of the apartment community and the management company. In fact, maintenance has the opportunity for a higher volume of contact with our residents than the leasing team..
Allowing technical skills to drive a hiring decision when the personality, and customer service attitude isn’t there, can become a detriment in the long run. In fact, we can teach and train skills, but you can’t teach friendly. Technical skills are great but the failure to include a smile and a friendly greeting will have a stronger impact than a delay in waiting for service.
The importance of personal appearance is also part of the package. Clean uniforms, clean shoes or shoe covers when entering a home indicate respect for the residents home.
During weekly team meetings review feedback on resident comments. These could be collected during servica call backs or move in/service request comment cards. Sharing the responses will add to the understanding of the importance of how our team is viewed by residents.
Every member needs to understand their responsibility. In turn, we need to emphasize their individuals contributions as well as the impact of the team. Using personalized comment cards similar to what is used in the hotel industry, not only introduces a team member to the residents but also adds a level of accountability for the work performed.
Maintenance Participation In Marketing
Consider the easy options for maintenance to participate in marketing outreach. There are visits local businesses to purchase supplies. The maintenance team meet with local contractors for to schedule capital improvements and repairs. They greet the freight and daily delivery service drivers. Each and every occasion is an opportunity to first off, share a friendly greeting. Second mention what they like about their community. Third, mention if there are available homes to lease.
Referrals aren’t limited to residents and local business leaders. Everyone knows somebody that at some point or another is going to mention that someone needs an apartment. Even as simple as giving directions or opening a door for a contractor is an opportunity to mention what a great place your community is to live.
- New employee
- Change in family circumstances…baby, divorce, weddings
Having our community firmly planted with a positive referral point, starts with the maintenance team is friendly and knowledgeable . Having confidence in the maintenance team is a great opportunity to build a future sense of renewal .
Maintenance Team Affect on Renewals
Maintenance, housekeeping grounds are going to have a stronger influence on a lease renewal than the price of the rent. These support services will determine if the resident truly has found value in their home. The charge for rent, is in some cases is higher than a house payment. We include the explanation that rent includes some utilities, property taxes, and all the maintenance services to support the home. However, if there are delays to complete work orders or if the hallways, laundry rooms and common areas are not attractive; the resident truly begins to question the value of their choice to rent.
- Did they have to repeatedly request service.
- Has the exterior light been out for weeks on end.
- Is the gym equipment in need of service?
No one wants to complain repeatedly, no one wants that controversy in their home life. Chances are we experience enough of that away from home..
No…if a resident is frustrated or disappointed with the quality of service. When the time comes for a lease renewal, they will quietly ignore our efforts to communicate with them. Pack their belongings and start the search for the elusive carefree living that will add value to their life. From day one of residency, the renewal is in the hands of our maintenance team.
Training and Orientation
Training and Orientation for Maintenance, Housekeeping and Grounds must emphasize the importance they have; as they interaction with our residents. They become influencing factors in our residents decisions to renew or move on. Knowing the friendly faces that respond to emergency or daily service requests adds a level of confidence. This allows residents to give permission for maintenance to enter a home
The shared pride in the appearance of common areas is important. Residents will show appreciation for the attention to detail. Again, the importance of our responsibilities in taking care of someone’s home can not be underestimated or understated.. The encouraging sentiment at the end of the daily team meeting is:
“Let’s go and make our residents proud they live here.”
Some of the services provided by maintenance grounds and housekeeping are not always performed in the public eye. But they contribute to the overall end product of a beautiful apartment home and impressive curb appeal.
We know the impact of our curb appeal, and certainly that is in the hands of maintenance each and every day. The grounds, our hallways and the preparation of an apartment home are the preparation of our product. The maintenance team are absolutely key members of the marketing team. Acknowledging this role adds to the pride they should have in their daily responsibilities. Mowing the lawn, cleaning an apartment, vacuuming halls, are all part of preparing our product.