Brent Steiner | March 17, 2020
It can be argued that the primary focus for multifamily organizations over the past five years has been to find ways to streamline the leasing process. It has proven to be a valuable pursuit, but that objective in itself leaves something on the table.
Modernized leasing processes provide immeasurable benefits for leasing teams by automating laborious procedures, but these processes don’t truly move the needle unless they allow the capability to customize for each prospect. Fortunately, the same technology that can simplify the leasing process can also be utilized to enhance the prospect experience.
In an instant-gratification consumer landscape, prospects will quickly move along if the application process—and leasing process, in general—becomes too painstaking. Here is a look at some of the ways the industry can apply technology to help individualize the prospect journey.
Digitally remember them
The need to fill out multiple forms largely consisting of the same information should be a thing of the past. Bidirectional integration technology is available that can digitally remember the prospect, allowing much of the information from the original lead form or leasing application to be auto populated into other channels. A prospect should not have to fill out multiple lead forms to get information from a community and then re-register from scratch for a self-tour. If a prospect is seeking a quick transition to a new home—and most likely they are—surrounding them with too much red tape might be a deal breaker.
Use data to drive the customer experience
Multifamily organizations have data but often have difficulty translating it into tangible results. Without astute analysis, the data is simply a large subset of numbers with no practical application. Apartment operators that utilize tech to gather, store and utilize data to drive decisions are ahead of the curve. Data gleaned from prospect behavior when they search at your community is invaluable. For instance, when they search one-bedroom homes, are they typically landing on the floor plans page of your website? If not, communities can optimize their sites to make this happen. Onsite teams can use similar data-generated insights to gauge search behavior and help facilitate a seamless prospect journey.
Escape the marketing funnel fallacy
Many marketing teams operate under the traditional marketing funnel statutes: You have to score leads and group prospects. You can only automate processes based on groupings. And the funnel works the same for every prospect. Well, no—to all. Technology has created the flexibility to customize the funnel for each prospect without sacrificing automation. Prospects want that personal touch and don’t necessarily want to see the stroller room if they are childfree or the dog park if they don’t have a pet. In addition to using bidirectional integration to transfer preference information, make certain to train your associates to be flexible and cater to the individual prospect rather than their perceived demographic characteristics, which are often inaccurate.
Competition has grown especially fierce in the apartment world as renting has become a multi-generational concept and supply continues to grow. You can separate yourself in the market by offering a customized experience.