How Do You Gain Customer Loyalty?

How Do You Gain Customer Loyalty?

Episode 65

Customer or resident loyalty is something every property should be concerned about. What are some critical factors to building a long-lasting relationship with your residents? How can you foster an environment that breeds loyalty?

Host(s): Jonathan Saar from Market Me Social and Mark Howell from Howl Creative Concepts

Show Highlights

Customer service has definitely taken a hit during Covid. Perhaps it was already seeing a decline, but the last few years did it no favors. We in the property management industry need to regroup and focus on providing more than customer service, we need to create a truly fantastic customer experience if we are going to build deeper loyal relationships with our residents.

Key Questions/Topics Covered

Brand Consistency

When people talk about your company, what words come to mind? What is your property’s brand? Are you known for providing a consistently good or bad customer experience? It all starts with our attitudes. Whether you are in management or maintenance, our attitudes toward our residents set the tone. Think about it from your resident’s point of view. If they feel that their needs are not being met and resort to the “I am going to bring this to corporates attention,” and you simply shrug your shoulders and walk away, what sort of trust are you building? Residents need to know that you will consistently do everything in your power to follow up and ensure their needs are met. When your attitude is one of consistently wanting to do more, then loyalty will follow.

Customer Reward Systems

We are all familiar with concessions, but customer reward systems are different. Concessions are used to attract new residents and get them to sign a lease. Customer reward systems should be implemented to reward loyal customers or residents who have continued to lease your property. An article written by Mack Collier shared this statistic, 78% of customers want a reward system. They want to feel that their loyalty is valued. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, just something that lets your resident know that their loyalty is appreciated.

Personal Touch for Superior Customer Loyalty

Global brands known for superior customer service have one thing in common: they are always trying to do more. Every staff member has the ability to make a difference in a resident’s day to build loyalty and build your company’s brand. Staff asking themselves,” What can I do to make the resident’s experience better, ” provide a personal touch that won’t soon be forgotten.

It only takes one poor customer experience to create an air of mistrust and unhappiness. Every property management company needs to be concerned with its brand and employee training to assure a better customer experience, resulting in increased customer loyalty.

Class dismissed!

Jonathan (00:15): Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Juvohub podcast, episode 65, we are having a ton of fun today. Mark Howell and I, we are going to talk about customer loyalty. Mark, how are you my friend?

Mark (00:32): I am great. I am doing very well. I, anybody that knows me, knows I love this topic. I think brand recognition is- if you don't have a good brand recognition, boy, I tell you what you've ruined your, your company. You're, you know, I don't even know how you're in business. So I'm excited about this topic.

Jonathan (00:52): Yeah. Yeah. So it's, that's gonna be a great conversation. Just talk about a few of the key drivers on what brands can do, you know, to generate that customer loyalty. So, yeah. Fun, fun topic. So thank you everyone who's tuning into this show. Remember, please give us a review on your favorite podcast channel. We thank you for your support. Please share this with your network and connect with us on YouTube and on our Instagram channel as well at Juvohub. So specifically what are we going to be talking about today? What are our objectives, Mark? What did you, what are our key things?

Mark (01:33): Well, I, I think what we're talking about here, if I read my notes, right? Let's see. And I was kind of looking back at this article, which I'm excited to get into, but you know, consistency is king it's about whether or not you are being consistent with your customer experience. That helps breed great loyalty, which is again, a topic that I love to discuss that personal touch for long lasting relationships. Do people want that personal experience? You know, that's a good one too, because a lot of people say that a lot of young people tell me, oh yeah, nobody really wants you to talk to them that long or to get that in detailed. But you know, the statistics and the numbers still prove that the average customer still wants that relationship. So we're gonna have to talk about that.

Mark (02:26): Rewarding them with loyalty programs, things like that. So we've got a lot of great, a little great resource here about what was it, Jonathan, 5,000 customers were surveyed and some statistics behind it, but you know, me, I'm probably gonna shoot from the hip on this because I, I love talking about brands that people, that make an impression that, you know, make sort of a memory or build an emotion. I believe whole heartedly that you can walk away with an emotion about someone's brand. Well, actually I know you do, it's either good or it's bad, or it can be indifferent, but you know, at some point when you're dealing with any type of product, you do build an emotion, an emotion gets attached to it. So fascinating stuff.

Jonathan (03:14): Exactly, exactly. And kudos to my friend. Mac Collier. Will definitely put the link to his blog article in the show notes. You know, I've known, I've known Matt for, for many years. I got to meet him in person at social media conference years ago. And we touch base once in a while on Twitter. So awesome guy, always, always, he's talking about these types of topics. So if you haven't subscribed to his blog or follow him on Twitter, make sure you do that Mac Collier. So great article Mac, thanks for driving this conversation. Yeah. So let's dig into it. So you know, he touched on consistency being really, really important. What have you experienced, Mark? What do you see? And I know you teach this stuff too, so what's, what's your take away when it comes to customer loyalty and how a brand has to focus on consistency?

Mark (04:14): Yeah. Look, it's one of the most important things, especially in what we do. My brain goes to thinking about other industries, other brands, even restaurant brands or big global brands. But when I think about what we do as a business and that's property management, taking care of our residents, the loyalty there, as far as being consistent, your attitude, the way you handle your, your resident, their issues, your tone, I think all of that is a driver. It it's something that is considered as a customer. If I walk in and there is constantly inconsistent behavior from the manager or the staff or the team or maintenance, there's no trust. Right? And so for me, I automatically know that at any given moment, you may or may not get what you're asking for or what you truly need because there's no loyalty and there's no trust now.

Mark (05:14): And so when you don't have consistency and let's just pick one thing to be consistent on, whether that's, you know, the tone or in the way that you greet your residents or how you handle their issues, are you following through, you know, like we could take, just follow through, follow up with, you know, one of the sort of consistency issues that I think plague our industry when residents don't get what they need or don't get the answers that they need. They always assume they threaten us with, well, I'll take it to the corporate office or I'll call my attorney. And, you know, it's like, that shows me right there, that they don't have, that they don't have trust that you and your team are capable of handling your situations because that's what they automatically go to. You have to build that loyalty and that trust by telling them you actually don't need to do that.

Mark (06:09): Or you don't have to do that. We can handle your issue and I can solve your problem. And I used to teach this to leasing consultants to avoid that kind of let me go and get the manager to answer this issue that also breaks the chain of loyalty, because they're not really sure who they're going, who they need to be loyal to. If you can't answer my needs, then who should I really be talking to? So I don't know, there are a lot of factors about that, but for me, the just kind of maintaining your, your loyalty in how you are going to handle your customers following up with them. Even if the follow up answer is I don't have your solution yet. You're at least consistent with following up with them. That's that's my 2 cents there.

Jonathan (06:58): Exactly. No awesome points, man. You know, and I look at consistency from a little bit, well, just to, I guess, add onto to your comments. Like, to me, consistency breeds expectations. Mm-Hmm, , I've always felt that like, in, for instance, you call the IRS. Now I don't think anybody would say that there's any loyalty brand loyalty to calling the IRS, but they're definitely consistent yeah. You know, and how and how they handle things like, but you know that, like, there's not a single person who will say you know, I can't wait to call the IRS. It's just gonna be amazing. This, this to have, you know, you're gonna be on hold for two hours more than likely you're gonna have someone who's not totally happy with their position, because who wants to talk about taxes, but I mean, they're consistent about it, but it's not really a good, consistent, so I, I think, you know, all the negative things that you mentioned about what a brand chooses not to do to build up their brand recognition, that could, that's it, I mean, you could be easily labeled in the community.

Jonathan (08:14): Oh yeah. ABC property. They're pretty consistent about doing this, this and this. And it's, you know, you don't wanna go there. You don't wanna, you don't wanna rent from them. So it's, it's so important that you're, you, you get the right reputation beyond the right side of the consistency world.

Mark (08:34): That's right.

Mark (08:37): Well, and, and look, I think even in this article, it says that, you know if you're struggling with whether or not you believe your staff is creating loyalty, maybe because they're not consistent. This says right here reward, find a reward system, 78% of these 5,000 customers that were surveyed. They want a reward system, a, what is it? Loyalty reward program. So create something that, that says we are so thankful for your business and being loyal to us, if it's at renewal time or whatever that is. But 78% of consumers want to be a part of some type of reward system. So look, if we have to think about creating that reward system, then let's do it. Let's talk about that with our teams.

Jonathan (09:28): Right. Right. And there's lots of, there's lots of ideas that are out there, but it, yeah, like you said, getting, getting to the table and actually having that conversation and that this is, you know, I know you have a lot more experience than I do mark. So we're talking something different than concessions, correct. Like a rewards program is not the same thing as concessions concessions are there to get someone to sign a lease, to rent an apartment. But rewarding is like, is that, is your resident retention program? Is that a good, a fair question? Analysis?

Mark (10:08): Sure. Yeah, absolutely. Because you know, if you think about a rewards program, a rewards program is for someone who's already a customer already your resident. And so you're trying to retain them. You want their loyalty, you want them to renew. So yes. What is it that you're doing? Look, it doesn't have to be monetary. It could be something that you give back to them in a different way. Maybe you showcase something that they, if they have an art or a, maybe someone's a chef or runs a business, maybe you can highlight them on some type of social media, something like that. Or you send lunch to their office. It could be something very minimal from a monetary point of view, but it it's really up to what your organization wants, but yes, your rewards program should be for your current residents.

Mark (10:58): And a lot of people might even incorporate this into the resident functions. What are you doing to create some type of function that they feel is a reward for them, a pool party isn't necessarily, I don't really consider that a reward. Right. You know, but creating a dinner club or a movie club, something that I actually want to be a part of, you know, like I want to be a part of a group of people that can go out and go and, and taste different restaurants. And if the company is paying for the first, you know, few appetizers or cocktail or whatever, I mean, that could be considered a reward program. It's all in the way it's worded. It's all in the way it's put together. But I think we have to in this day and age, really think outside of the box.

Jonathan (11:43): Yeah. Yeah. For, for sure. Yeah. And again, thank you to Mac Collier for, for highlighting that in his, his article here. Yeah. Another point that I liked from that article and I just, and it made me think of an experience that I just had yesterday. You know, at the time of this recording was, was at Home Depot and, you know, I like Home Depot. I always find, find overall super helpful and everybody's there to provide assistance. And even some, some people are very knowledgeable about certain things can tell you what tools to buy and what hardware to buy and so on. But I had a little bit of a different experience yesterday with someone that was new, she was a new employee. And, you know, typically with new new employees, maybe a little bit more shy, a little more reserved and unsure of themselves and she's representing the Home Depot brand, but she made her approach to helping my wife and I so personal.

Jonathan (12:48): She's like, you know, I've only been here a couple of months. There's so many products here. I don't know a lot about this product, but what can I do to help you? Wow. And it was like, oh wow. Like, you know, she didn't make anything up. And then we, anyway, we got, do a nice little conversation, but that resonated with me because she just took a moment and was personal. Yeah. You know, she could have made it so simple, like, oh yeah, that's a, that's a good price. Oh yeah. That's a, that's a tomato cage, you know, because we're shopping for planting for some things for the garden. But no, she just, she went that extra mile. And so I agree with this consumer study that, that personal touch you, you just never forget it here. I'm talking about it. I'm on, it's on, it's on our show. This person at Home Depot made an impact on me and it made me smile. It made me happy to see what she was doing to create that lasting impression. So I loved it. What about you mark? Like is when you teach your classes, like what, how does that come up into the conversation for managers or maintenance staff or our apartment leasing professionals? How can they show that personal touch? How can they help breed that brand loyalty by their, by using their personality? Maybe?

Mark (14:18): Well, yeah, it's something that I talk about a lot because I feel like we transitioned somewhere maybe during COVID. I feel like it happened during COVID where customer service went to the wayside. People stopped caring about one another. They stopped caring about true service. Maybe it had already been deteriorating before, but wow, didn't COVID really push us over the edge. So I don't even say customer service anymore. I say the customer experience, what is it that your customer will experience while on your property or using your product? And I, I, I use Chick-fil-A as an example or Starbucks or Disney. When I teach my customer branding class, the customer experience, I talk a lot about these global brands and I ask people, what do you think about this brand? What's the first thing that comes to mind, right? And so people have emotions that are tied with it.

Mark (15:11): If it's Disney or Chick-fil-A, most people believe that Chick-fil-A has the best customer experience out there ever. You know?

Jonathan (15:18): Mm-hmm, .

Mark (15:18): Like, the emotions that are associated with the Chick-fil-A brand are always on point. There has only been one time in a group setting where someone had a negative experience at Chick-fil-A in the years and years that I have talked about Chick-fil-A's experience. But my question is why, right? If you ask yourself, why is it that a fast food chain can offer better customer experience than we do in our industry, taking care of people and their lives and their families. That's a you thing. That's a you problem. If you can't answer that clearly for yourself, what can I do to make their experience better? Then that's where our training sort of kicks in. And to answer your question, you know, like, yes, it's about anyone on site, whether you're grounds to maintenance, to management, you have the ability to make a difference in someone's day to build loyalty to your brand.

Mark (16:17): And whether you're a Chick-fil-A or you're just a property management company with a logo on the door, you're representing that multimillion dollar brand and everything you do next will define how your customer feels about that brand. So what's very unfortunate about this is you could have a manager, you hire on a manager for your national property management company, and that one manager has a bad day or a bad mood, or doesn't believe in the organization. And this ripple effect, just sort of just like smoke, fills the entire property and resonates with all of the residents. And then they begin hating the place that they live. And so they also then hate what is said is that the management company is bad. So you have to be very careful. You have to ask yourself, what is the resident experience while they're with you while they're, if it's a six month lease or 12 month lease or two years, what is it that you bring to the table as a team member or as a, even really a team together because one person can't do it all, but you have to figure that out.

Mark (17:28): You have to ask yourself, how do we make our brand a great one? And what is it that we can do every day by simply saying hello, or being there, being available, truly being available for our residents in very simple, simple ways. But you know what, again, like I said, you have to be willing to do that.

Jonathan (17:48): Yep. Solid man, solid. So some nice takeaways from this article, you know, I love your insights and I'm glad you're out there preaching the word. You know, teaching these classes and helping people to understand the connection. And we know our industry continues to work hard to improve it. Good reminders, good class today. Thank you again, Mac Collier for your article. And we'll make sure that that's referenced in our show notes, so that for all of our listeners, you can take a look at the full article and say hi to Mac on Twitter for all of us. So thanks Mark. Thanks for everyone for tuning into the show. We're grateful to have you as our amazing network, if you would like us to discuss any other topics, just let us know. Mark, how can people connect with you?

Mark (18:34): Yes, absolutely. So Howl Creative Concepts, Howl spelled H O W L like howl at the moon, but Howl Creative Conceptscom. You can find me on LinkedIn at Mark Howell, which is H O W E L L.

Jonathan (18:48): Cool. And I am Jonathan Saar from Juvohub. We thank you for being on the show until next time, class dismissed.

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