As strong advocates for social media, we understand the perceived negativity of giving full reign for consumers to air their thoughts about our clients. We can chalk it all down to one thing, FEAR! In a recent webinar I attended, David Meerman Scott stated that many companies use fear as a way out of social media. That is such a shame because they are missing a really fantastic opportunity to engage those consumers, learn from them and really turn their perception around.For example, For Rent Media Solutions posts our clients’ Community Theater videos on various social networking sites. Social media websites such as YouTube, MySpace, Yahoo, Dailymotion, AptsVideo.com is where you can find them. While this is a service we provide for free, packaged with our Community Theater videos, many apartment communities are hesitant about entering this space. Their fear, there’s that word again, is that consumers will use this as a chance to rant about their community; therefore, giving them a bad image and deterring prospective renters away. While that may be the case, sometimes, it also gives them an opportunity to spout praises about your community.
Through YouTube, I receive emails when a comment is posted on one of our videos. There have been countless times where consumers comment “I live at Jefferson at Dedham Station and love my apartment! Friendly staff as well!” or even have further inquires “How much please! I think I may be interested! Reply as soon as possible! Thank you!” Yes, I will admit that we do get the ‘it’s horrible’ or ‘lame’ comments. But the ones where property managers really have an opportunity to learn from and engage are where residents post their dissatisfaction with service.
If someone submitted “The office staff sucks. For all the money you pay for rent, they don’t even allow your teenagers to use gym equipment, even if they are multi-sport student athletes in high school,” what would be the best way to respond? You take what they are stating and think about how you could possibly improve the service you promise. Maybe there is a way to have teenagers work-out in the gym with a waiver signed by their parents. Or maybe that means in your monthly newsletters you should include an article about why it is your community does not allow them to work-out unsupervised. While you cannot please every renter, communication is really all they desire.
Here’s another scenario with a renter who submits this comment regarding your property “[Maintenance] Will enter apartment with no negotiation on scheduling and with less than 24 hours notice for routine maintenance,” what could you do that would be better customer service for these residents? That’s simple, give renters more notice about routine maintenance and give them an option if the designated time does not work out for them (especially if they have pets).
To summarize this article, social media is AWESOME! It is an excellent opportunity to engage perspective and current renters, listen to what they have to say & reevaluate your service to them especially via social networking sites. They are already talking about you, whether you know it or not; so its time to participate in the conversation. In the current economic circumstances, it is imperative to listen to the customer and increase customer service. And remember this “If we don’t take care of our customers, someone else will.”