As a resident, do you feel your customer journey has been the best it can be or are you frustrated by the lack of care and attention? The customer experience in the Build to Rent sector is of paramount importance and is transforming the level of customer service that customers can expect.
Top tenant complaints
Some landlords forget that the resident is in fact their customer. Typical examples of where residents feel let down include poor communication, where renters feel like their landlord is hard to get hold of. This could be anything from resolving simple questions such as when do the bins get collected through to more serious issues of feeling threatened by a neighbour. Ignoring maintenance requests or failing to deal with repairs in a timely manner can cause huge anxiety and distress, leading to complaints and the landlord developing a poor reputation.
How Build to Rent approach the customer journey
The Build to Rent experience is a living, breathing thing and should start from the moment a customer walks through the door. Although each development offers something different, they all have one thing in common, which is to ensure that service is key. By investing in the customer journey, they are backing their business because great service equates to less customer turnover and better rental values. Good service pays for the developer too.
Benefits to the tenant
Residents value their time and should expect that everything is done quickly and efficiently. Many Build to Rent developments have in-house resident managers who monitor service and help create a community, which creates a better living experience for the customer. Some have gone even further such as Realstar International, which has recently launched UNCLE, ‘a landlord that’s got your back.’ Included is several service delivery promises such as the right for the customer to break the tenancy in the first two weeks, no hidden admin fees, no rent when there are routine disrepairs that are the landlord’s responsibility and which are not fixed within 48 hours and of course, free WIFI.
The shift in consumer behaviour and understanding the changing demographic of renters is important in establishing the best way to approach customer care. The Build to Rent sector is skilled in welcoming customers from a wide range of ages and backgrounds. It’s not just about the design of the apartments, the common spaces must work for everyone and fulfil their needs so they can equally feel their experience is being considered.
Getting the staff right
What really sets Build to Rent apart from private landlords is that staff are especially recruited and trained to look after customers. In fact, some developers such as Greystar are going one step further and run a secondment programme with San Francisco where employees get to learn about American style service, which is ahead of the UK. They can then apply these skills when they return to the UK, further improving the experience for tenants.
Using tech to improve customer service
Technology can be key to helping connect with customers. Many Build to Rent developers agree that future proofing technology is critical, but it is important to get the basics right because gimmicky tech has such a short life span. Smart technology improves the customer living experience with residents being able to control their lighting, heating, appliances, door locks, security cameras and electronic devices remotely via their smartphone. With the number one priority for many customers being excellent WIFI, they can rest assured that in a Build to Rent home, their internet connectivity will not let them down.
The signs of bad customer service
- Failing to greet a customer when they walk in.
- Putting a call on hold without first asking the reason.
- Not using common courtesies.
- Raising your voice at a customer.
- Using technical jargon to confuse a customer.
The signs of good customer service
- When someone takes the time to fully listen to you.
- Trying to fully understand the customers’ needs.
- Easy access to a customer support system.
- When you feel appreciated and important.
- Staff that are proactive and use their initiative to problem solve.