What is Resident Engagement?
It’s the new currency in Multifamily and one that is affixed to many customer service solutions but what does it really mean?
Is it a solution of a portal to pay rent or remit work orders or a warehouse of convenient links to services or perks? Is it holding regular events to bring the community together and meet the neighbors? Is it your Facebook Page and Instagram posts?
At Modern Message, we believe Resident Engagement is about connecting onsite teams and residents in meaningful ways through multiple touch points. Whether it is to drive certain behaviors, perform specific actions, creating delightful memories or gain insightful feedback. This provides a unique opportunity for on-site teams to build relationships throughout the Resident Journey. We do this through Community Rewards, which, at its core, is a loyalty rewards program that leverages a points-based strategy throughout the resident lifecycle.
This year, in our new blog series, we will take a deeper dive into the Resident Journey and why Resident Engagement needs to be a part of every operational and marketing strategy.
Let’s Talk Loyalty
a strong feeling of support or allegiance.
Loyalty Rewards Programs are all around us. Whether you are a frequent flyer, a coffee enthusiast or shopping at a chain grocery store to gain $.10 off a gallon of gas, it is hard to escape these kinds of programs as each offers benefits that bring you back as a customer time and time again. However, a structured loyalty rewards program in Multifamily has been non-existent. Loyalty should be considered an outcome of a disciplined plan to engage with customers across many points in the customer journey. That’s why we developed a fully automated, digitally-enabled loyalty program called Community Rewards that integrates with multiple property management platforms to maximize value with minimal onsite managers effort.
The most obvious example of where we can change the resident experience is the renewal process. What if a lease renewal was enhanced with a reward of renewal points? Would that change the perception of the rent increase | lease renewal? Wouldn’t that help celebrate the lease renewal and honor a reward for staying another year?
We continue to drive the marketing efforts for the entire Resident Journey. From my perspective, it's time for our industry to re-focus on the Resident Journey. Multifamily marketers spend a lot of time and resources focusing on customer acquisition; driving more traffic to the community and gaining additional renters. There will continue to be a steady supply of graduates, divorcees, retirees, job relocations, and so on. We need to look at the retention of that resident. Focus on the Resident Journey instead. The customer experience is the pinnacle of any company or industry. We are creating unique ways of engaging and delivering delightful experiences and enhancing connections for residents. Throughout the Resident Journey, we have the ability to remind residents of happy moments at their community through reward points, and the windfall of renewal appreciation points to boost their sentiment. If you ask me, retaining that resident is a critical path to success more than ever.
According to Harvard Business Review, it costs a business about 5-25X more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one.
Luckily, there is a movement to solve the puzzle of the Resident Journey. More and more apartment communities are investing time and effort in identifying programs to enhance community engagement with the ultimate goal of increasing resident loyalty.
What if you could reward your residents for doing specific actions?
What if you increase the frequency you interact with your residents?
How can you effectively translate that into a trackable loyalty reward?
We are all addicted to rewards programs, you might even say we expect them. A rewards program can create value in the resident's mind and brings value to the asset managers. Today, there are plenty of apps that allow your residents to complete certain transactions, but an engagement platform like ours enables residents to build points along the way. That is the central differentiator between a transactional resident portal and Community Rewards. Imagine the increased frequency you can engage with your residents at a larger scale instead of the few you pass while touring or the resident who comes in to place a work order. A resident of Community Rewards has the opportunity to earn points by performing the actions you encourage them to complete while feeling connected to you and your site team.
All-in-One: The Builders of Loyalty and Engagement
· Paying your rent online? Points.
· Voting on a property poll about the best new restaurant in town? Points.
· Attending a community event? Points.
· Referring a friend? Points.
· Sharing your best pet costume contest photo? Points.
· Renewing your lease? Points.
The sky's the limit.
As a resident gain’s points, they can redeem them for a variety of reward cards. Choose a $5 Starbucks card for a morning latte or update your kitchen with Bed, Bath and Beyond to anything they want on Amazon. It’s their points, and they have the power of choice. Now your residents recall the action they took to get rewarded and how they used their Reward all the while remembering it came from the community where they live.
5 Easy Wins for Rewarding Your Residents
1. Celebrate your residents renewing their lease with renewal appreciation points
2. Invite prospects to the program and reward them with “Look and Lease” incentives
3. Give points for attending and checking in at an event
4. Offer a resident referral bonus
5. Resolve customer service issues with reconciliation points
Loyalty is ALL around. Just ask for it. Reward it.
Stay tuned for our next blog in our Resident Engagement series, "What’s Next and Why?"