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3 Common Multifamily Questions On Resident Activation

In today's episode, we tackle three pressing questions that you've likely encountered in property management. Yolanda and Charles dive into practical strategies that will help ensure your communications are not just heard by residents, but acted upon. You'll gain insights into tailoring your approach to meet residents' preferences, which is crucial for sustaining long-term satisfaction. Tune in to discover how you can transform these challenges into opportunities for improving your property's operations.

Listen to the episode below and subscribe to The Resident Experience Podcast for more episodes.

Motivate Your Residents and Drive Action

Introduction: Understanding Resident Communications (0:00 - 01:44)
Yolanda sets the stage by discussing the importance of addressing common issues faced by property managers and introduces Charles, who brings insights from customer success interactions. They emphasize the recurring themes observed in resident management questions, highlighting that while each situation might seem unique, many share common challenges.

Enhancing Communication and Digital Payments (01:45 - 05:23)
This segment dives into strategies for improving resident retention, focusing on making the living experience effortless and responsive. Charles emphasizes the importance of availability and responsive communication channels that cater to residents' needs at any time, not just during office hours. They explore how tailoring communication and support can enhance the resident experience, ultimately leading to higher retention rates.

Boosting Resident Retention (05:24 - 07:09)
Yolanda recounts a personal experience of negotiating her rent increase, comparing it with a friend's outcome to illustrate how negotiations can vary widely. Charles emphasizes the importance of equitable negotiation outcomes, pointing out the need to navigate within the confines of regulatory standards and fairness in the multifamily industry. This chapter reveals the human element in negotiation, underscoring the significance of empathy and understanding in achieving mutually beneficial agreements.

Key Takeaways and Final Thoughts (07:10 - 15:00)
The conclusion wraps up the discussion with a recap of the key points about effective communication, digital engagement, and resident retention. Yolanda and Charles reiterate the importance of meeting residents where they are, utilizing preferred communication methods, and ensuring that every interaction adds value to the resident experience. They encourage listeners to apply these insights to make management more efficient and resident-friendly.

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Episode Transcript

Yolanda Muchnik:
Hello and welcome back, multifamily pros. For those of you just tuning in today, I’m Yolanda, and this is my co-host, Charles Buggs.

Charles Buggs:
Hello, everyone.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Today we’re digging into three of the most frequently asked questions we get from our customers. And Charles, you helped us crowdsource these with customer success, right?

Charles Buggs:
Absolutely. I think a lot of our customers think that their situations are really unique, and I’ll give it to them. The one offs with the residents may be a little hit or miss on their consistency, but the themes are often the same, and I think this is pretty exciting stuff to get into today.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Excellent. Okay, so without further ado, the top three questions we get from our customers at Zego are how do we get more residents to read our emails and notices? Raise your hand if you’ve had that problem. How do you get more residents to pay digitally? And how do we improve our resident retention? I feel like on the surface, these seem fairly simple and straightforward, but as we dig into each one, I think the answers are going to get a little more complicated.

Charles Buggs:
Absolutely. And I think no matter what someone’s thinking about either, I say all three of our questions, I think that they’ll find value in a piece of this. No matter what walk of the business you’re in today, we hope that we really hit home on all three for you.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Yeah. And the email problem is a really big one. I know that I personally receive at least 50 emails a day at work, and that doesn’t even count my personal inbox. But let’s dive a little deeper into each of these three questions. So for number one, how do we get more residents to read our emails and notices? What advice do we share with our clients Charles?

Charles Buggs:
This is a great one and probably one of my favorites. I think we tend to either really simplify this or dramatically overthink it. When we’re talking about a modern approach, that’s the first thing I say. So, looking first at the industry, there are parts of the business that mandate. Notices are mailed, that mandate certain communication is put on a door. Fine. If your only other option to get someone to interact with you is by physically calling them, and I say physically because it’s 2024, or to email them, then you’re kind of missing the point. I think in 2024, we’re a lot more inclined to read things that come up in a more succinct manner. So the data and the stuff we’re ingesting and the things that we find to do important in a very, very busy life have to be actionable, and it has to come in a way where we don’t have to search for that information. And oftentimes people are at work or they’re at family events or they’re doing something that’s actually important to moving their life forward.

And they get this email from you, they’re not going to read it in real time, and I know you’re probably sending it with emergency often, so it’s just lining that stuff up. So I say the first step is modernizing what you’re reaching out as far as the vehicle and making sure the messaging is applying to making them move their experience with you forward.

Yolanda Muchnik:
I agree with you on this. And to add one more aspect here, from a marketer’s perspective, with many of these systems out there today, the resident can actually tell you what mode of communication they prefer. And so then on the administrative side, you can set up communication flows that align with those resident preferences. I think that’s important to point out, and it’s often overlooked. Okay, so number two, how do we get more residents to pay digitally? I know this is an evergreen topic for us, right?

Charles Buggs:
Absolutely. And I think it really starts at the point when that resident goes from being a prospect to actually leasing that apartment, right? They’re sitting in your office and, you know, I was in the office and I’m like, hey, you know, go ahead and let’s start with your holding deposit. Let’s get you all set up here. I bust out my pen and paper and I tell this person, hey, go down to 7-11, get a money order for $130 or $150, whatever. I hold a plus application, bring it back, we’ll get everything taken care of for you. That’s, you know, often, more commonly, I would say a good listing agent will pull up the properties website and have them apply and do that whole thing digitally. And that’s kind of the start of this. If you started off from the point of them being a new resident with you, and you set the precedent that it’s going to be a lot of legwork or manual work.

When someone’s excited about buying something new, that doesn’t seem as big of a friction point, but after time goes on and that isn’t as apparent, it can become something that may be a detractor to their resident experience. So setting the precedent early and often and keeping that communication modern when you’re telling people and reminding people about digital methods of payment and how to interact with you digitally gives them a much better experience as a resident.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Yeah. Consistency and persistent messaging is always key. All right. Our third and final frequently asked question from our clients is how do we improve resident retention? This one seems pretty broad, right?

Charles Buggs:
I think when we, when I go to the industry and we’re talking about this, it’s always broken into like, you know, these age groups and demographics and things that they kind of want to look at. And I think overwhelmingly people want their living situation to be easy. It should be something that they don’t have to think about much. They should feel supported. And one of my favorite sayings in sports, and I hate to use sports analogies on the podcast, but I can’t help this one.

The best ability is availability. So, and we see this often because operators will invest heavily in making sure that the prospect calls are always answered 24/7. Resident calls are answered after hours, and that seems to be, that kind of solves for it. But they’re missing the point that the person had to call you in the first place. If you have a method of wait or a way, I should say, for them outside of email to interact with you 24/7 giving them the availability to know that they can get something in front of you before they go to work, after they get off work, while they’re in the middle of something that may be an off hour for your office, you may be closed Sunday, so maybe that’s their only day off.

They shouldn’t feel a lack in being taken care of because of those situations. They just feel like they should be able to put in a maintenance request, the same online, the same on the phone, and they should be putting the same urgency. And a lot of that comes from feeling like the method I used to get that over to you satisfies my knowing that you’re going to see it. So being available and being there for your residents and supporting them day to day is the key to keeping them there and happy.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Yeah, sounds like this all basically comes down to making it easier for them to do business with you. And I know we’ve been hammering on this no email aspect a little bit, but I do want to call out that there might be a contingency out there of folks who actually do prefer emails, right?

Charles Buggs:
I think you said it earlier, and I always use the saying that communication is currency. Right? So whatever currency someone trades in and when they want to talk to you and how they want to communicate with you, you should be able to match in kind, and that will get you the best results in that relationship.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Yeah. And it definitely goes back to what you mentioned earlier, which is you need to meet your residents where they prefer to spend their time. Right. That could be on a computer, it could be on their cell phone, whatever it is. Right. It’s important that we all stay attuned to the best ways to communicate with our customers and to meet them there on an individual level.

Charles Buggs:
Absolutely. All great points. An individual is probably the key to this. Individual feels custom, individual feels like you’re only talking to me. Individual feels like, hey, I didn’t get your email, but I got it through your app notification. Or, hey, you know, I didn’t see the notice on the door before I got home, but I know that I’m going to go to Starbucks or I’m going to go to Chipotle on the way home to get dinner because the water is going to be off. Right. So I wouldn’t have known that had I not gotten it in a method that I would respond to. So thinking long term and really thinking about our resonance is just like people first.

Yolanda Muchnik:
Well said. And with that, listeners, stay tuned for the Good News.

Good News

Charles Buggs:
Hello, welcome to Good News. Now, for the record, Good News can be anything. A successful resident initiative, a fantastic resident review, or a shoutout to a work colleague or friend. This is your time to promote yourself, so please take advantage. It’s your time to shine. There’s enough stress, enough anxiety in the multifamily industry, so our goal here is to shine a brighter light on things that are going right.

How can you submit your review? It’s pretty easy. Go to the show bio on any platform you’re listening on or go to our podcast page at and click the show link on the page. Now you can leave a text or voice message. We love either of your Good News and we’ll highlight it on the following show. Thank you so much for listening. And let’s get into some good news.

First is Aloysius. Aloysius rolled in to let us know that this year they have had the opportunity to be the coach of their daughters little league softball team. A great experience and fun being a part of the future of these up and coming athletes. They have inspired me to be a healthier and better me. I think that’s amazing. Helping the kids out, getting involved and becoming healthier are all good things. Maybe even inspired me to be a little healthier. I appreciate the call in or the text in. Please keep them coming and let us know how things progress.

The next one is from Anonymous. It says this year my company moved to a bigger office space. With that I got my first window office. Big time. I think working with the view is a great way to go and if you got that big office with a big window, let us know next year when you get the bigger office after that promotion. Thank you again for writing in.

The next one we’re hopping into is Shivani. Shivani said the best thing that happened to me this year is that I’m surrounded by so many incredible people who care about me and love me for who I am. All of them want me to be successful in life. My work family has been a huge blessing to me. I went through some hard times this year, but my work family has been there through it all. Just shows who’s going to be there for you when you get quiet. That’s a great call out Shivani, and I’m so happy to hear that you have a support system that’s there for you through some hard times because we all go through them and the difference usually is the people around us to help us get through them. So thank you for writing in and letting us know that. And please let us know the update when you have one.

Now getting into another Anonymous texter, or caller, they wrote in to let us know. Well, since I’ve started with Genesis Properties, I’ve come to acquire a host of new skills. One of the best skills I have acquired was my eye for compliance. We all know in the multifamily game that’s a big skill to have, and I think it’s really important that you’ve been able to gain that new skill with a new opportunity with Genesis Properties. Please keep us informed to let us know how things progress with your career with Genesis properties. We love to keep hearing about it on the show.

Next caller, or texter, Georgia. Georgia wrote in and let us know, my accounting department was recently given access to the refund button under transactions. I don’t know how long this wonderful feature has been there, but I am so grateful. Now that we have access to it, it will be making processing refunds so much easier. Thank you. I don’t know who we’re thanking, but I want to thank him too. Anytime we have access to a tool that makes our jobs easier, I think that’s a big win, especially when we’re able to utilize that tool and make things run smoother for the residents. So huge shoutout to Georgia. Thank you for the call. Let us know as things progress. Again, we want to keep our listeners informed as things move on.

Now we’re getting into Jared. Jared wrote in to let us know that the continued expansion into third parties, this has opened us up to new ideas, designs, and ownership needs. We continue to develop assets of our own and impart these additional lessons onto those designs. I love that. Taking what you’re getting in the field, applying the ones that win and the ones that don’t, maybe reevaluating, but really getting in your hands dirty and taking the things that work and just applying it to the rest of the portfolio. I really appreciate the write-in Jared. And please, again, keep us updated on progress.

Now we’re getting into another caller, Elizabeth. Elizabeth had a leak which resulted in her being able to renovate her entire kitchen and dining room area. Even better than that, my daughter, who spent six years in the Navy, has come home. Congrats and thank you for her service. And talk about turning lemons into lemonade here, the leak that allowed you to. I love that way of thinking. And again, shoutout to your daughter for that amazing service of six years.

Now we’re going into another Anonymous caller or texter. And they said the best thing I celebrated was my first wedding anniversary with my wife. Aw. Why would you anonymize that? You should have put the name on that, man. I think as a husband we want credit for these things, so I’m just throwing it out there. Maybe when we shout out the wife, throw your name in there. We’d love to shout you out, but congrats on the first wedding anniversary, big time.

The last one from Anonymous says, this year I got my pool operator license certification. Let’s go. I love to get certifications, and I love when we’re getting an education that makes us better at our jobs.

So, now we get to that part where I say thank you to everyone who listened, wrote in, supported the show and the Good News. We’re trying to get out to the listeners again. We know multifamily is stressful, we feel anxious, and sometimes it’s hard. But we’re here to talk about the good things going on in our lives and in our jobs. So please, when you get an opportunity, let us know what’s going on. And thank you for listening to the Good News.