Personal Customer Service in an App-Reliant World

Personal Customer Service in an App-Reliant World

There’s No App for THAT!

“In The Year 2525” was a hit 1969 song by the duo Zager and Evans.  The song predicts a future world that is doomed by overdependence on technology and the dehumanization of man.  The concept seemed implausible in 1969 when technology was almost nonexistent compared to today. But given the absence of technology we were more often providing personal customer service due to necessity if nothing else. So how do you provide personal customer service in an app-reliant world?

In 1969, rents were posted manually, fax machines had not been invented, and advertising was in print or on the radio. Today we have computers on our desks, held in our hands, and in our homes.  Social media drives our marketing.  Technology is a good thing!  But it also brings both challenges and opportunities.  We all have favorite apps we can’t imagine living without.  Who can imagine a world without Door Dash, Amazon, Google Maps, Pandora, Teams, Uber, Venmo, and more?

Yet, how are those apps or our multifamily apps providing personal customer service?  There is almost no personal connection with an individual to take care of a problem or provide a service to them nowadays.  Tip for you: We can never achieve or obtain enough technology to fully replace a personal relationship with our customers.

So, how can we utilize technology while providing personal customer service? The basics of property management have not changed.  The vehicles by which we want to communicate are different today, but people are still looking for a personal connection.  We always need to look at the needs of our customers.  People still are looking for a very personal space to call HOME. Check out these 4 ways of providing personal customer service in today’s app-reliant world.

  • Overcome generational gaps. Communicating with different generations is a unique challenge.  Each generation has preferences in the methods of communication and marketing that feel comfortable to them.  Communication styles will need to adapt over time and depending on the customer. Find the best ways to communicate with each customer while ensuring consistency in the message itself.
  • Watch your language.  Phrases and expressions that were familiar once may be no longer, and as time progresses there are all new terms that are universal to our customers and within our industry. We must express caution when using industry lingo that we understand easily but our customers don’t.
  • Maintain that critical “personal touch”.  It is possible to utilize technology while maintaining the personal touch in the lifecycle of the resident.  When used properly, telephone, texting, and email can all be used to create a personal connection.  Texting has become a professional way to communicate but it must be clear in its message and not use abbreviations or terms that are not familiar to every prospect. 
  • Honor your customers’ preferred method(s) of communication. How the customer first reached out to us may dictate the method of technology we utilize for continued communication.  Ask your customer, “What is the best way to communicate with you?”  Social media can be used to further a sense of community with residents but in most cases is not the best and primary approach.

The song “In the Year 2025” portrays that if we someday rely solely on technology, there is no need for man.  In reality, there is no more personal industry than multifamily, as we help people find and secure their ideal home.  They are looking for a haven in which to escape from the stresses of the world, relax, raise their children, and enjoy their personal lives.  There is no way to remove providing personal customer service from that dynamic.  Technology should supplement what we do, not replace what we do.

Contributed by:

Jerry Norman
Jerry Norman – Director of Multifamily Marketing Pedcor Management | Pedcor Homes

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