Over the past year, COVID-19 has drastically changed the way that every business operates, from manufacturing and distribution to retail sales and property management. For property managers in particular, a primary challenge has been maintaining communication and resident engagement while working remotely or within limited office hours. Fortunately, technological advances in digital communication have provided property management professionals with the tools necessary to surmount these obstacles.
In this Snap Session "Resident Communications While Working Remote," Michael Baker, software sales executive at Notifii, offers unique insights into the benefits of a digital communication strategy tailored to meet the specific needs of your community. In today's environment of high stress and social distancing, it is more important than ever to have reliable digital communications to resolve issues and ensure residents’ peace of mind. Baker outlines the ways in which digital communications enhance residents’ experience and improve their confidence in the management team.
In Part 1 of his panel discussion, Baker focuses on the importance of engaging and focused communication between property managers and residents. Whether you are sending an email newsletter with community events or multifamily emergency texts to warn of an unexpected event, it is important to be able to communicate with your residents in a clear and timely fashion.
The first thing you can do to make your communication stand out is to personalize it. Your residents know who you are, and that connection will give you an edge over unknown companies and entities that may want to steal your audience. To add a personal touch, be sure to use verbiage that is relevant and specific to your community. This could be the name of the community or the names of team members that the residents may have interacted with.
Consider using messaging that shows that you care, such as "Hope you are staying healthy" or "Hoping you are well." It may sound like a cliche, but it adds a much-needed personal element that will make your communication more engaging.
Finally, set a routine by sending messages on a set date and time every week. For example, consider publishing a weekly or monthly newsletter that discusses COVID-19 and acknowledges its impact on your on-site operations. This will help residents get used to seeing messages from you on a regular basis, so they will be prepared to look at the message.
I'd like to start by saying that we don't view any message content. We respect the privacy of our property managers, but I can tell you from discussions with our clients that they are experiencing more conversations regarding non-payment, late rent, payment schedules, health guidelines, rising tensions between residents — all of these very important, but often stressful topics. So we tell them that it is very good to be calm and collected when dealing with these issues because a lot of tension is raised due to the current circumstances.
The most important thing is to address it as soon as possible, or as soon as it happens. The sooner you are seen trying to fix the problem, the better off you will be. The last thing you want is for an upset resident to fester, especially if it involves a relationship with two or more residents. So, address it quickly and professionally. Secondly, consider sending out a community-wide reminder regarding COVID procedures and the penalties for not following them. You can use the same kind of penalties as you would use for excessive noise complaints, not picking up dog waste, and other violations.
It is important to consider the goal of the message. You need to know where you are going and how you're going to get there. For example, are you considering sending a community-wide update that doesn't require a response? In that case, your information should be brief, clear, and to the point. On the other hand, if you are trying to survey something or get a response from your residents regarding a certain subject, you should provide a clear call to action at the end, so you're properly driving engagement and letting them know that you're looking for a response back from them. Another thing to consider is the age demographic of your audience. If you're trying to reach Millennials or Gen Z, you should definitely be texting them for better engagement.
Something else to consider is grouping your residents for specific communications. For instance, if you're notifying Building 100 that you're shutting off the water for maintenance, only Building 100 residents should receive that message. Keep in mind that unnecessary communication ultimately leads to a decrease in engagement, so be sure that you're sending relevant content to the appropriate residents in order to help keep engagement high.
Ultimately, to craft the best communication, keep in mind what you're trying to accomplish with each message. Ask yourself, "Is this message going to generate the response I need?" Be sure to limit unnecessary communications to avoid causing your audience to become disengaged.
Yes, be sure to send messages with content that is going to be relevant to everybody that's in that receiving group. You don't want to send everyone a message that maybe only 20% of the community is going to be interested in, because the other 80% are going to learn to be disassociated and disengaged with the messages that you're sending, and you don't want them to get in that habit. Make sure it is relevant content all the time.
View Mr. Baker's continued discussion in "Snap Session Blog Series Part 2: Property Management Marketing and Resident Engagement," in which he delves into content and strategies for property management marketing and existing resident communication, including multifamily emergency texting and more.
For more information about Notifii Connect, a digital communication platform that helps facilitate resident communications that include email notifications, newsletters, and multifamily emergency texting, contact our experts today.