Brands are becoming experts at engaging and pleasing their customers. It’s faster and easier than ever before to find exactly what you’re looking for, complete a purchase, receive orders, and contact customer service. 

Renting an apartment is more of a commitment and investment than purchasing a product from a store, but the experiences have a lot in common. And to achieve success in the competitive world of multifamily housing, property managers may need to start using the same customer-centric trends and tactics of retail industries. 

Here are a few ways that treating tenants like customers will help you fill vacancies, satisfy current renters, and build a respected reputation in the business. 

Simplify and personalize the selection experience

For the average tenant, choosing a home is a big decision, and paying for it will likely be their largest monthly expense. And as with any expensive purchase, they’re going to be weighing their options carefully. 

To aid the decision-making process, take a page from online retailers and greet future tenants on the internet. Chances are they won’t be driving around looking for rental yard signs. Instead, they’ll be browsing online listings so they can narrow down the search to include only their preferred locations, apartment sizes, and amenities. They may also be looking for reviews of property management companies. 

Make sure your vacancies are online and your listings address common questions upfront — things like pet policies, included appliances, building and community amenities, and utility information. Include plenty of interior and exterior photos, too. This will save time for both tenants and property managers, because you’ll be scheduling showings with thoroughly informed, serious prospects who are more likely to sign a lease.

And when you do show units, personalize the experience. Get to know your potential tenants and be empathetic to their situation. They may be new to the area, have a growing family, or have had bad rental experiences in the past. If you own multiple properties, this information might help you point them to a better-suited apartment.  

Keep up with the times

Technology has come a long way, and companies are getting better at using it to improve the customer experience. A similar approach to technology can help property managers please and retain their tenants, streamline communication, and strengthen security.

For example, going paperless alleviates problems like lost documents and slow payment processing. Online forms, electronic lease agreements, and mobile and auto-pay options for rent payments are convenient for tenants. Renters also appreciate the ability to quickly and easily submit maintenance requests and schedule repairs online. You can also take advantage of property management software to manage all of this data in a centralized and secure online platform. 

When tenants decide to move in, they also care about the safety of their property and possessions. In fact, 65% of Millennial renters won’t want to stay in an apartment that lacks security. Fortunately, technology is ever-evolving in this territory. You can add features like keyless entry, alarm systems, and surveillance cameras to ensure that home feels like a sanctuary for all your tenants. And with package theft on the rise, renters will also be looking for security measures that protect their deliveries.

Maintain a positive relationship

Technology may improve your ability to respond to your tenants’ needs in a timely, reliable manner, but it’s no substitute for personal interaction. If you’re struggling with tenant turnover and want your best renters to stick around longer, build a strong relationship with them. 

Relationship-building doesn’t end when you sign the lease and hand over the keys. In fact, that’s just the beginning. If tenants are like customers, they’ll want you to be readily available in case any issues arrive. This is especially important during the move-in process, when they haven’t yet settled into their new residence or neighborhood. To make them feel at home, you can offer a welcome gift or perhaps even take them on a tour of the community. These are small gestures, but they can set a foundation of trust and support between property management and residents. They’ll know they can count on you down the road to respond kindly and responsibly to emergencies, questions, and requests. And when they do have to leave for whatever reason, they’ll leave with a positive impression of your company.

Customers also like to feel appreciated, listened to, and rewarded on occasion. If they’re good tenants who keep the place clean and always pay their rent on time, be sure to thank them for it. You might also send them small gifts for leasing anniversaries, holidays, or other special occasions. And if they have any suggestions for ways to improve the property, take the time to listen and consider making those changes. 

Just like loyal customers will spread the word about brands they love, happy tenants will share their rental experiences and promote your properties. So empty apartments won’t stay empty for long! 

One sure way to keep your multifamily customers happy is to protect their package deliveries. Find out how with Smiota’s smart package lockers