When thinking about maximizing occupancy, apartment operators tend to focus on the obvious: modernizing units, offering fancy amenities, or setting competitive rent prices. But one of the most under-rated factors for retaining existing renters and attracting prospects is resident engagement.
Communities with strong resident engagement are differentiated in a crowded multifamily market. Residents who are engaged with their community are often happier than ones who are not, and tend to post glowing reviews about where they live. These happy reviews about how great your community is helps attract new prospects and keep occupancy rates high. And since influencer marketing has become so powerful, having residents become champions of your community is an effective tactic if you want to increase interest in your property.
Some assume that an engaged community is the result of continual face-to-face interactions between residents and on-site staff. Having courteous and helpful on-site staff definitely plays a role, but perhaps an even bigger influence behind strong resident engagement is your community’s mobile apps. Mobile community apps have given residents a seamless way to interact with their community while giving on-site managers a more efficient and faster way to cater to resident needs. Here are a few reasons why mobile apps have become such a powerful tool for driving resident engagement.
Better Organized Social Events
Hosting regular social activities at your community is critical to foster friendships between neighbors. A study by Apartment Life found that the more friends a resident has within their apartment community, the more likely they are to renew their lease. Without any friends living in their community, residents only have a 29% chance of renewing their lease. That number jumps to 38% if they have 1-3 friends in their community, and if they have 7 or more friends, there’s a 47% likelihood that they’ll renew.
Chances are, your community staff already recognizes how important it is for residents to connect, and organizes regular social activities. A mobile app will make the logistics of social events even easier for both on-site staff and residents. With a mobile app, community managers can communicate the details of the event to residents and collect RSVPs for an accurate headcount. Residents can view who’s coming, who’s declined, and who’s a maybe.
Mobile apps also offer ways for residents to interact with each other outside of social functions, thanks to features like community chat or community marketplace. Residents can post their own event announcements with neighbors– perhaps they want to start a book club or are having a summer BBQ – or if they have items to sell, like furniture. Considering more than 200,000 US neighborhoods use the social networking app, Nextdoor as a way to engage with their community, it’s highly likely residents would utilize a similar feature if you offered it.
Residents Are Equipped with Self-Service Options
Sometimes you want to get things done on your own timeline without involving anyone else. A mobile app enables residents to complete important tasks related to their home life – paying rent, reserving amenities, reading community announcements- when it’s convenient for them, without having to rely on your staff.
To some, the concept of using self-service to boost resident engagement may seem counterintuitive. If a community agent isn’t physically involved in processing a resident request, won’t that look like poor customer service? If thoughtfully implemented, self-service has the opposite effect. These on-demand services deliver better efficiency for both residents and community managers while simultaneously providing a more personalized experience.
Better and Faster Communication Between Residents and Community Managers
Without a mobile app, residents need to wait until they are in front of a computer to submit a maintenance request. Or wait until they have time to come into your office. This might not be a big deal if you’re talking about replacing a light bulb in their refrigerator, but if they want to report something like a leak, your residents want you to know right away. Mobile apps will speed up the communication in these instances and provide your maintenance staff with better details about the task ahead. Residents can utilize their phone’s camera so if applicable, they can attach a picture to the work order. In turn, orders can be completed in a timelier manner since service teams are better prepared before visiting the unit.
Since mobile apps provide push notifications, residents can get real-time alerts about things like package deliveries, work orders or community announcements. Messages and updates can be shared between the service team and the resident, delivering much-needed transparency for residents about what’s happening in their apartment.
Connecting Residents to Local Perks
When a resident moves into your community, they may be unfamiliar with the surrounding area. Connecting them with organizations or details that can bring convenience to their lives is a perfect way of delivering the anticipatory customer service that makes residents feel engaged. Many communities team up with local businesses to offer special discounts to their residents on anything from laundry and dry cleaning services, pet sitters, to local restaurants. If you’re already doing this, it’s another thing that can be housed in your community app so it’s easily accessible for incoming residents. Even if they are already familiar with these businesses, receiving a special discount because they are a member of your community can make them feel special.
Utilizing mobile apps brings better communication, more connections between residents, and ultimately, more engaged, happier renters. If you want to read more about driving resident engagement and satisfaction, download our latest ebook, Connected Communities: Experiences that Drive Resident Engagement and Empower On-Site Staff.
Keep Reading! We’ve handpicked a few more articles you might be interested in: